A recent study by Robert Half found that 45 percent of US professionals who transitioned to working from home because of the pandemic say they regularly work more hours each week than before the pandemic. A separate National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study found that the average workday worldwide grew by 48.5 minutes since March 2020.
Working from home can be addictive because it is harder to divide the day into work and non-work times. Without making a conscious effort to balance your work times, it is easy to fall into the trap of constantly working and never resting. This can lead to burn-out, lower productivity, and depression. To prevent that, consider these tips:
- Work with your body’s natural rhythms: One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the flexibility it affords. To some degree, you can control your schedule to maximize productivity by working when your body is most productive. If you are a morning person, consider starting the workday around 5:00 or 6:00 AM. This gives you three hours of interrupted work before the rest of the world starts their days. Then, if you need to take a nap at 3:00, you can still finish at 6:00 pm, having worked your full eight hours. If you are an evening person, try to avoid scheduling meetings before 10:00 am. Start your day later but work until about 8:00 pm. Of course, you might not be able to do this all the time, and you need to overlap part of your worktimes with the standard hours for your time zone, but these small adjustments can make you feel less tired and more productive.
- Create boundaries: Set clear physical boundaries for your work space. Do not work in your bedroom. Leave that as sleep space. If you live in a smaller home and need to work at a kitchen table, use an ergonomic desk chair for working and then switch to the dining set chair for dinner. Creating a separate physical environment gives you a visual and tangible delineation between work times and play times. Relatedly, set boundaries for working hours. Get off your computer a minimum of two hours before you want to go to bed. That gives you time to wind down and sleep better.
- Schedule connections: Connect with colleagues and friends on a regular basis. Schedule web-calls, coffees or lunches with colleagues to chat about personal and non-specific work matters. This one-on-one networking can clue you into valuable resources, information, or insights to help you do your job better. More importantly, the human connection gives you a change of pace and can improve your overall attitude, both of which can help prevent you from feeling burned out.
Looking for more ideas for how to make your staff or yourself more productive? Contact Comprehensive Learning Solutions to learn more about our team training options.