Working from home? How to set clear work-life boundaries

  • TECH
  • Sunday, 27 Aug 2017

Switching off after work is difficult at the best of times, but it can be even harder when you're working from home. 

A recent report from the Hans Boeckler Foundation shows that men in particular tend to work for excessively long periods of time without taking breaks. 

"Home working often blurs the boundaries between work and private life," says Yvonne Lott, who headed the study. This makes it all the more important for workers to set clear limits. 

Lott has the following advice: "If possible, employees should create a separate space for working at home." Creating a special work area will stop you from seeing reminders of your next project in the living room or bedroom. 

Also, a change of scenery after work can help you to switch off more easily. At the end of the working day, you should go out somewhere – to go shopping or for a jog, recommends Lott. A change of clothing can also help, for example into something more casual. 

Companies can also help make it easier for employees to switch off after work. "Team leaders should lead by example," says Lott. If the boss emails their team members late in the evening or at the weekend, this increases the pressure on them to work at these times too. 

Over a long period of time, this can lead to health problems. "It affects people differently," says Lott. Some employees need strict limits more than others. 

In principle, flexible work models also have their advantages. "For many, home working is about creating a better work-life balance," says Lott. It can cut out long commute times, making more time for family and friends. — dpa

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