The clock strikes 5pm. You should be logged off and relaxing. Having trouble unplugging when you work remotely? We’ve got a few pointers to share!
If you don’t want to be receiving emails, texts, and messages from coworkers once you’re done working for the day, the solution is simple: tell them. Send out an email to your colleagues when you’re getting off the clock. Something as simple as, “Hey Team, I’m signing off for the day. Unless it’s an emergency, I’ll respond to all questions/inquiries tomorrow. Thanks!”, goes a long way. While it may seem a little off-putting to some at first, doing this habitually will create a habit for your coworkers and keep them from messaging you after hours.
So you’ve told your coworkers not to bug you once you’re off the clock. Excellent. The next step? Ensure that they don’t by turning off your work notifications. If you’re worried about emergencies, then you can provide your employer with your home number so that you are always reachable for anything that is time-sensitive. However, the rest of your communication methods don’t need to be on around the clock.
You’ve turned off your chat software, and you’ve logged off of Slack. Good work. Next, resist the urge to read and respond to your work emails. While your team might know better than to email you during non-business hours, clients and potential clients might not. That being said, protect your freedom and don’t hit refresh on your inbox until you’re back on the job.
One of the main reasons you shouldn’t be reading work-related emails while you’re trying to unplug is because they will keep your mind active and focused on job-related tasks. Even if you’re not responding to emails, messages, and chats, the fact that you’re intaking information is enough to keep you unsettled. To the best of your ability, stop thinking about work when you’re not being paid for it. This will help you feel more refreshed and motivated when you actually are on the clock.
Many remote workers find themselves at home for long stretches during the day. That’s the price you pay with having your office be in your home. To counteract the sense of unrest that you may feel from being cooped up in the house, take a long walk after you sign off for the day to clear your thoughts and get your body moving.
If you’re having trouble getting your mind off of work, picking up a hobby can be a major help. Whether it’s joining an intramural sports team, a book club, or a painting group, hobbies will have you meeting new people and interacting in non-work-related communities on the regular. Now, who can say no to that?
This will be a challenge for some people, but learning to lay off talking about work is just as important as not doing any work during your downtime. In fact, talking about work may be worse than actually doing work when you’re off the clock. This is because talking about work doesn’t actually get anything accomplished, yet it still manages to waste your time and energy by focusing your thoughts on work-related problems that won’t be solved until tomorrow.
How do you “unplug”? Tell us on Twitter!
Originally published on Remote.com