Working from home or living at work?

Many years ago, prior to the pandemic, working from home was regarded as somewhat of a novelty; the perception of a remote worker being someone lounging around in their pajamas all day, working part time, if at all. From a manager’s perspective, there needed to be a great deal of trust bestowed in this employee. They needed to know the employee could always be reached and they had to be convinced that the work would get completed.

Fast forward to 2021 and leadership has moved beyond the notion that remote workers are second class, because they too are working remotely themselves. The trust has been earned and employees are now judged by what they accomplish, not by the hours it took or the location that is was done. A new work culture has been created, where everyone is accountable, yet autonomous. 

The switch has been flipped and what once was perceived as a part time gig, has turned into a job that can’t be turned off. When your computer is glaring at you from your couch or your phone lights up at all hours of the night and weekends too, it becomes even more important to establish clear guidelines that give employees a healthy work/life balance.

While working from home is associated with greater job satisfaction, it has also been found that remote workers are more likely to go beyond normal hours and put more effort than is required. Therefore, it is even more crucial for HR managers to promote policies that help employees unplug at the end of the workday. By having clear cut policies that outline when and where communications should go out, it takes the pressure off employees to always be on.

Also important for remote workers is the ability to signal the brain that the workday is coming to an end. The days of turning off your computer and getting into your car for the long commute home are over. Although commutes have never been known for their benefits, they did allow for decompression and a “leave it at work” mentality. When the division between work and home is blurred and your new commute involves a quick two step to the kitchen, shifting from work mode to personal mode can be tricky. Experts recommend doing some sort of activity just after the end of the workday that you find relaxing or engaging to cement the separation in your mind.

Bottom line…turn off that work phone, walk away from your laptop, kick back and relax. Enjoy your evening…you’ve earned it after a long workday and aren’t you in your pajamas anyway 😉

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