Telework: Ways To Separate The Personal From The Professional Life

Work From Home

Once the confinement, telework  suddenly spread and it is set to flourish. While it allows more flexibility considering its organization, it also tends to blur the lines between private and professional life.

A large number of employees are encouraged to telecommute to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, responsible for the Covid-19 epidemic. According to a survey carried out in June 2020 by Malakoff Humanis among 1,610 employees in the private sector, 58% of people working from home find it difficult to separate the time relating to private life from that of professional life. Here’s a piece of advice on how to do it.

Define your working time in advance 

At the office, the working environment sets the tempo of the day: start, end, coffee breaks… In the absence of this framework, it is sometimes difficult to set your own limits, and to stick to a schedule. “Studies show that teleworkersoverwhelmingly tend to do more when they are at home,” say specialists. The risk of spilling over into personal life time, evenings and weekends, is very real. The key to fixing it? “Frame your days well by defining in advance the time at which you start and the one at which you finish. Without forgetting to plan for interruptions during the day, in particular a real lunch break as one would do at the office,” argue professionals.

Another tip: determine in advance the time you plan to allot to each activity such as reading a file, answering your emails, writing a note… Having a clear vision of the working time you need helps to better manage your schedule and graft personal appointments without disrupting your working day.


Come up with new rituals 

The journey to work is a moment of transition that allows you to mentally put yourself in working mood. At home, you might be tempted to go straight from bed to your mailbox. Some people manage to work in their pajamas, but this does not apply to everyone! “Dressing up in working outfits, even if more casual, allows you to get started. Give yourself new rituals: go around the block, take your children to school, senda smiley face to your colleagues to mark the start of the day… It makes you feel at work and you get to avoid mixing your two lives.”

The same for evenings: the return journey is often experienced as a decompression chamber. It can be recreated by walking the dog, by cooking or with a meditation session. It is up to everyone to find the rituals that symbolically mark the beginning and end of their professional day and help to put aside work-related thoughts.

Set up a space dedicated to work

Working seated on your sofa, at the kitchen table as well as on the edge of your bed, is to take the risk of not feeling at home anywhere. “It is important to set up a real workspace,” opine specialists. It is to create a physical border but also a psychological one which delimits professional from privatelife: one is at work in his workspace, and at home in the rest of the house.

The ideal is to have a room in which to set up your office and all the necessary equipment. So when you close the door at night, you also close the work door. But not everyone has the chance. If the desk is installed in the corner of the living room, we can create a separation by placing a shelf or a screen. “If you have no other choice than to occupy the dining room or kitchen table, you have to take the time every morning to arrange your workspace. And to tide it up every evening,” advise professionals.

It’s a bit of a constraint, but putting your laptop and files out of sight, in a drawer or in a bag, is to avoid having to go back to work as soon as you see them.

The employer also has a role to play

The employer, or manager, also has its share of responsibility for the work-life balance of his employees. This requires in particular an agreement on working time and the time slots on which we can be reached. “The right to disconnect, in other words the right to cut when the working day is over, is a fundamental right of the employee and a condition of his health,” specialists say. It is important to assert it with one’s superiors.

Establish rules with loved ones

People around you sometimes find it hard to understand that working from home does not mean being always available. “The spouse or the children easily interrupt the teleworkerwhen they would not allow themselves to call them at their place of work,” experts note. The best is to explain to yourrelatives what we need to work properly. And find together the operating rules to be given.

This includes defining the tolerable sound volume for the TV when the children come home, communicating their schedules so that everyone knows when to leave us alone or indicating it with a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door.

Avoid any distractions to your telework

Vacuuming, putting on a machine… When household chores pile up, they usually affect concentration. The solution: write them down on a post-it to get them out of your mind more easily and tell yourself they’ll be done later.

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