ArticleJanuary 28, 2021by included

Blurred boundaries: homeworking takes its toll

As a recent LinkedIn post mentioned, those of us who are homeworking might stop and reflect – homeworking means we have work and we have a home, and this at least is a fortunate starting point.

Earlier on in the pandemic, we talked about homeworking being a long-awaited step change in work life balance. Suddenly, after years of campaigning for more remote and flexible working options, here we were.

Almost a year into the pandemic, the positives of homeworking are, for many, outweighed by the downsides. Boundaries between personal and professional life have become increasingly blurred. The novelty of seeing kids or pets in the background on zoom calls has worn off and many are struggling to multi-task.

“Home” working has, for some, become “living at the office”.

At Included, we generally campaign against segregation. But, in this instance, some clear blue water is essential. When we are working, work. Use the pomodoro technique of 20 minute bursts to boost productivity. Try and delineate your working environment from your personal environment as much as possible. Try and maintain routine.

When we are with loved ones, be present also. Switch your phone to silent, turn off notifications, manage colleagues pre-emptively, even put on an out of office.

There is a possibility of the outcome being more than the sum of the parts. We need to be especially cognisant of people with less control over their agendas and workload. But in all cases, let’s try and achieve greater segregation in at least one aspect of our lives.

As a colleague said recently, they love work as part of their life, but not as their life.