By Wisdom Sablah

Remote work is the future of work. Whoever made that statement or said anything along those lines must be biting their lips. 

The novel Coronavirus pandemic has turned the tide. Owing to lockdowns and social distancing protocols, the traditional 9 am to 5 pm routine is being discarded and tech giants like Twitter, Amazon, Google, and Apple have gotten the memo: remote work is the new status quo. Either your company conforms, or you suffer for it. 

Remote work has several benefits for employers and employees alike. Productivity soars, costs are lower, and everyone is happy. Or so we thought. 

Just like any form of business solution, there are side-effects to working from a distance. In 2019, Buffer surveyed over 2,400 employees regarding remote work. Here are the results of their survey:

There is a litany of problems associated with working remotely. However, “unplugging from work” tops the list. If that’s the biggest issue with working remotely, then it’s something everyone should learn how to do – particularly in the face of remote work becoming the new normal. 

What is Unplugging From Work?

Unplugging from work refers to being detached or far-removed from anything that has to do with work. In a traditional work setting, you’d have to leave the office and get home as part of unplugging from work. However, in remote work, mainly when you are working from home, it becomes a very thin line to straddle. Those who easily disconnect from work have lower stress levels and are usually healthier and more productive. 

Here are a few actionable tips for unplugging while working from home.

1. Have a Dedicated Workspace

When people hear “work from home,” they think about lounging or sleeping in bed with a cup of coffee and a laptop. Well, that’s not the way to go. You’re better off having a dedicated workspace that helps you focus entirely on work. 

The challenge with working from home is that the boundaries between work and home are often blurred. With a dedicated workspace, you can draw the lines. Choose a place that is quiet and can give you some privacy, mainly if they are other occupants in the house. 

Over at The Balance, they’ve compiled a rather comprehensive list of things you may need in setting up your home office. 

2. Stick to a Schedule

The whole concept of remote work is to allow employees to work within a flexible schedule. However, that does not mean things are to be done haphazardly. Have a well-thought-out schedule and be dedicated to it. And be singularly focused on your work while you’re at it. 

If you don’t give your work enough attention to finish it, you might be thinking about it while you’re away from your workspace. So, take a deep dive and immerse yourself during work periods so you can freely relax when you’re done. 

3. Turn Off Notifications

You’re done for the day. You’ve told your colleagues you’re signing off, and you close your laptop. Good. But do you know that your email notifications can take you back to work-mode? Once you’re done, turn off work notifications and focus on other aspects of your life. 

It may even mean turning off your phone or silencing it. Often people are unable to do so because of the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). However, convert your FOMO into the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO). Find a fulfilling and worthwhile activity to take your mind away from work. 

4. Get Out of the House

It’s not a good idea to stay in one place the whole day. Once you’re done with work, go out for an activity with friends and family. Going for a walk all by yourself is a good idea. This allows you to freshen up and re-energize.

Find hobbies that can keep you active and engage. There are millions of YouTube videos on how to learn a skill and how to find communities of people with similar interests. It could be a sports game or joining a book club, but whatever it is, find an activity that takes you out of your workspace and allows you to interact with others. 

Yes, unplugging after remote work might be difficult. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible. This article explores the concept of unplugging after work and offers practical ways to do it. Implement these strategies along with any other you might have and find the best solution for disconnecting after work. You’d be a better remote worker that way.