For some people who work from home, going back and forth between their professional and personal lives is as easy as flipping a mental switch. Referred to as “work-life integrators,” these are the people who can start knocking out tasks in the morning, focus on a grueling workout after lunch, perhaps take an afternoon nap, then dive straight back to work after dinner. They can even take work calls and cook lunch at the same time if they have to.
Work-life integrators find it easier to unplug from work than “work-life segmentors.” Strict segmentors tend to work best by having a strict schedule, look like they’re off to the office even if they’re just staying at home, and run errands only after their shift is done.
“Integrators'' and “segmentors'' are the two extremes of a spectrum, and individuals may fall somewhere in between those categories. Back when people still had to report to the office, those closer to the segmentor side had distinct processes or rituals that helped them take their minds off work, such as going to the gym, dropping by a dive bar, or commuting home. However, with remote work blurring the line between work and home, your staff may need new rituals to help them unplug, stop working excessively, and prevent driving themselves to exhaustion. Here are a few suggestions you can give them:
1. Literally unplug
The easiest way to signal to our brains that the workday is done is by logging off our work accounts, closing our laptops, and turning off mobile notifications for emails and apps we use for work. Notifications can be especially problematic for people who can’t leave tasks for tomorrow, so for them, a few hours of ignorance will indeed be bliss.
2. Set an intention
One of the reasons why integrators have an easier time changing between work- and personal time-mode is because it’s almost second nature to them to concretely identify what they want to accomplish.
To illustrate, they’ll often ask themselves, ‘What do I need or want to do now?’ and immediately answer this by making a mental or written list of specific items, which may or may not include work tasks. They may want to rehearse a dance routine, take a nap on the porch, resume painting a portrait, or finish writing a sales report. Whatever it is, they identify it clearly and with full self-awareness as to why they want to do it. This self-reflection exercise allows them to shift their focus as needed — and plug or unplug themselves from work.
Segmentors, on the other hand, don’t exercise this conscious shifting of focus as often as integrators do, which is why segmentors may be bogged down by job-related thoughts long after their shift is over. For such staff members, having them explicitly set their intentions may prove to be helpful. Have them fill in the blanks in these two sentences:
a. Now that my shift is over, I’m freed up to be the best __(role)__ I can be.
b. I want to make sure that I __(goal you want to achieve or a result you’re aiming for)__.”
To demonstrate, they may go, “Now that my shift is over, I’m freed up to be the best parent I can be. I want to make sure that I make myself available and let my son know that he can ask me for help if he’s having trouble with his studies.
3. Do a chore or two
Prepare a healthy meal. Wash the dishes. Vacuum the floor. Do the laundry. There’s plenty of tasks around the house that can help take our minds off work.
4. Change into something more comfortable
If putting on office clothes helps us get into work mode, then changing into loungewear can help us de-stress. We can also plop onto our couch, watch TV or listen to music, or enjoy a hot bubble bath surrounded by the light of scented candles. After all, a hard day’s work often calls for a bit of self-care.
5. Drink moderately
Unless we’re sommeliers, taste testers, or mixologists, we don’t consume alcohol at work. This is why a glass of wine or that can of beer helps bring us to the state of mind that our shift is over.
Whether we do it in a gym, the local park, or garage or backyard, breaking a sweat helps boost our immune system and releases endorphins that make us feel good. Additionally, properly executing movements requires focus, so exercising is an excellent way to stop thinking about our jobs.
Alternatively, we can just take a walk by ourselves or with our pet. Getting outside of the house, breathing in fresh air, and taking in the scenery as we walk around the neighborhood all help to clear our minds. The joy our dog feels while being walked is infectious, and if we’re able to catch a little bit of sun, our bodies will produce vitamin D, an essential nutrient that keeps our mood balanced and prevents or reduces depression.
7. Play with the kids
We work to provide our children with the best opportunities for their future, but the day’s stress may make us forget to value our time with them now. We can visit the park, play Monopoly, or get our behinds handed to us in bouts of Super Smash Bros.
While our IT experts at Founders Technology Group can’t do much for your remote staff when they unplug from work, we can help them be at their most productive when they do clock in by optimizing your business’s IT systems. We can also keep them from suffering the stress that IT problems such as network downtime and data breaches can cause. To learn more about what we can do for your staff and your business, leave a message today.