April 2, 2020

Separating Work and Home


A lot of things about our daily lives are changing because of the Stay at Home order in Illinois. For many who have always gone into an office to work, they are now being asked to work from home.That is not always an easy transition. We have gotten into a daily rhythm of waking up, getting ready and going into the office. Then after work, we have a commute home before we get to settle down for dinner, or whatever your normal plan is after work.

Now, we wake up, and go out to our living rooms or dining room to work from home. Then at 5pm you shut your computer and you are just home. There is no transition, no commute, no regular routine that you are used to having. So, people have a hard time stopping work when they are supposed to because they are already home, so their work hours extend longer and all of a sudden, your home has started to feel not like a home, but an office. This is why we need to make separating work and home a priority.

Creating a new routine

What would it look like to create a new routine that still helps you separate home and work? I have talked to a lot of clients over the past couple of weeks where they are struggling with this very problem of transitioning to working from home. Depending on what your hours are for the work week, it is still important to make a mental, and possibly physical transition, from getting ready in the morning and starting to work, and then again at night from stopping work to being home. What are some things you can do to help with this transition?

Spend 10-15 minutes before you start working and after you finish working and mentally transition to working, and to being at home. If it’s nice outside and you are feeling healthy then go for a walk around the block to stimulate what it feels like to have a short commute each day. If you cannot go for a walk, then go into another room for 10 minutes and listen to music, an audio book or a podcast just like you would normally do on your commute to work and back home.

Create a specific Workplace

A second thing you can do to help with this transition is to specifically make a “workplace” at home; a room or area, that you will use specifically for work.. If you have a second room that you can make into an office for the time being, then that is great. However, not everyone has the ability to do this, so find a specific chair, or corner of the kitchen table where you can work from. Only work from that specific spot. Just like when you are at work, you usually only work from one desk, so make that same choice at home.

Working from home can be a hard transition, but with these few simple ideas, you can make the transition easier. If you find yourself having a hard time making this transition and need someone to talk to about it, then make sure to reach out to us here at Optimum Joy. We would love to talk to you about how to make this an easier and better transition.

Written by therapist Alex Parlette

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