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Working from home or at home working…Where do you draw the line?

Working from home or at home working…Where do you draw the line?

Whether you have always worked from home or it is something you have been asked to do during the last year or so, how do you decide when to work and when to stop?

You don’t have the hassle of commuting to work so you are saving on time but what do you do with that time? Do you start work earlier in the day? Great! Especially if you are a ‘morning’ person. But does that mean you stop work earlier at the end of the day? No? Well, you are not alone.

Many people working from home, work longer hours but are you more productive? Chances are that you are putting in the hours but constant looking at a computer screen makes you tired and without proper breaks or specific working times, you may well be taking longer to produce the same amount of work as you did when you commuted to the office.

Decide when you are going to work, between which hours, when to schedule in breaks, and keep to them, and when you will switch off the computer. Depending on what is in your diary, i.e. appointments, virtual meetings, etc you can decide how best to plan your day. Don’t be tempted to just keep on going.

Are you afraid that someone will try to get hold of you during a break and look down on this? Do you need to share your diary with colleagues or your Manager so that everyone knows when you will be available? This may be a good idea as there needs to be flexibility and an understanding that you cannot be available 24/7 every day.

Do you spend a long time on something because it is difficult to focus when you are working on your own without someone to bounce off ideas? This can often lead to working for longer hours than you should. Is there a colleague you can team up with or pick up the phone (I know, such an old-fashioned concept now!) so that you can talk through any problems or issues? Also, try blocking out time in your diary to deal with a certain project so that you give yourself say two hours to concentrate on it and then have a break.

Just because you are at home does not mean you cannot stop at certain times during the day. Remember, you are not having that social contact with your colleagues, the casual chats when you are making a drink in the kitchen or even walking between floors or rooms in the office building.

When you finish for the day, you haven’t got that break between leaving the workplace and arriving home which for some people is the time to switch off completely so that by the time they do arrive home they are out of work mode.

Keep the lines clear between working at home and being at home when you have finished work. Don’t answer or look at emails on your phone, or fire up the computer when it is family time. As long as you, your employer and colleagues all know and agree on what are the working hours, working from home can be fruitful and less stressful.