Boundaries in the age of #WFH
In work, people often take comfort from having a clear sense of purpose, understanding why their job exists and having a shared vision about where their organisation is trying to go and the role they play. The Covid-19 pandemic has precipitated a range of workplace changes at an unprecedented scale and pace, impacting not just our working lives but our home lives, financial circumstances and health and wellbeing. At times of such uncertainty, dislocation and upheaval, people need to adjust to their new ways of working and reflect on and make sense of things to ensure they can continue to still see the way ahead.
With the current emphasis on working from home and in a more distributed, digital manner with our colleagues and partner organisations a key requirement is that we all take personal responsibility for adopting behaviours and set routines that maintain a healthy separation between work and home life, respecting how our colleagues achieve this for themselves. It is important to communicate how and when you will be working with your team. In order to maintain those healthy boundaries when communicating digitally, it can be helpful to think of ourselves as guests in each other’s homes and to adopt the same level of respect and courtesy as one would do when meeting face to face in their home. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you always have to be available for work and you don’t need to always be “on”. Put your work phone/IT away at the end of your working day to switch off. Managers have a crucial role to play in removing pressure and helping staff to feel safe. Without clear boundaries and expectations on how and when to work, the lines between work and life can be blurred leading to resentment and the potential for burn out. It can be helpful to create a dedicated space to work in the home, cleared of any clutter, to aid focus and reduce stress and anxiety. It is also worthwhile decluttering your digital environment e.g. clearing the diary of unnecessary meetings. It is important to seize your days off as an opportunity to recharge.
To maintain healthy relationships when working remotely from each other, it can be valuable to adopt creative approaches to maintain the human and social aspects of work. Take some time out to have some virtual fun with colleagues, for example a quiz. And ensure that working practices benefit all of the team wherever they are located, so nobody feels isolated or forgotten about and everyone can bring their whole self to work. To avoid being too sedentary, if possible, build some exercise into your daily routine and take regular breaks. Perhaps build in a mindfulness meditation regime to focus your thoughts and build self-awareness. Block out time in your diary for lunch to make sure you stop for a meal. Wherever you are working, ensure you are maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough sleep at night. It is helpful to minimise screen time for an hour or so before bed. Finally, be kind to yourself and make time for your passions away from work.