Setting Boundaries and Turning off for a Work-from-Home Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. A time for giving, for being with family and the ones we love. But, it can also be a time of stress. Trying to find time to buy and wrap gifts, checking in with friends, work parties and so much more.

While parties may not be on the agenda this year, there is certainly a lot of stress. With Covid, the unstable job market and economy, on top of all the other considerations at this time of year. And when many of us have been working from home for extended periods of time, how can we make sure we make the most out of our time off for Christmas? How can “shut off” and relax, enjoy the holiday season?

While work from home for many has ended, many places offer a “part time” work from home, and limit the staff present in the office. But for many, it has continued, and will continue.

Did you know that 4 of 10 people working from home in Ireland are working longer hours than they would in a standard working day? Up to three additional hours a day in some cases. 1 in 10 feel they are less productive while working from home. And many others feel it hard to “turn off” when the working day is over. It’s understandable, it’s easier to separate work and home when they are different places. Working from home for the last months mean it is harder to focus while working, and harder to relax when you’re not.

It’s important to take time for yourself. Use the time over Christmas, to rest and reset. And we will be giving you some tips how to separate work and home, and just general wellness tips.

Separate Work from Home

Give Yourself Time in the Morning – While we all hate traffic, the commute can be such a vital part of the day. It’s a way to prepare for, and wind down from, the work day. Don’t sign on as soon as you wake up. Give yourself 30 minutes, for a walk, listen to music, to a podcast. If your work station is ready, leaving the house for a few minutes and following a “commute” and then walking into “work” can be a great way to signal to your brain the difference in time and what’s needed. And doing the same at the end of the day to further “reset”. This is a simple way to separate being at “work” and being at home, in the mind. The time use walking, and away from the screen will help your mind switch modes and allow you to relax more easily.

Work and Work Alone in your Workspace – We all used the kitchen table when we thought this would be a short, 6-week stint. But as it continued, it was obviously not viable. From the chairs not being designed to be used for 8 hours, to our mind also associates that area with food, eating and chatting. You may find yourself peckish for no reason. Or, if you work in the bedroom, you may feel inclined to relax, and low motivation. While it isn’t always possible, having a dedicated area for work makes it easier to both focus on work, and to walk away guilt-free when finished. Having an area that when you’re there, it’s only for work makes it easier for the rest of your house to actually be a home.

Set Boundaries – It can be difficult, if your email is on your phone, or when clients have your mobile number, to leave calls and emails unanswered. But, you need to set clear boundaries both for clients and for your own benefit. Set hours you are available, make those clear to your employer, your colleagues and yourself. Only respond within those hours, and do not answer calls or emails outside those times. One of the work from home struggles is feeling as if you’re always on, always available. But you are entitled to time away from work, just like anyone else. Set those boundaries, and stick to them.

Most importantly, we hope we have a safe and wonderful Christmas.

Stay safe, everyone.

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