In a universe far, far away, (before Covid) I would leave home in good time to ensure I arrived at work around 830am. After a coffee and catch up with colleagues I would start work around 845am. I left work at 530pm to get home in time for dinner. It was so clear. My family didn’t bother me during working hours unless it was an emergency. Work didn’t call me at home. The routine was understood and visible to all those who mattered. Once home my mind told me I had finished for the day and could switch my focus to family and social.
- I wake up and check my phone to see if any messages from work have materialised overnight. I respond to the urgent ones before I get out of bed.
- The day is blur of webinars, telephone calls, emails, and project work mixed with answering the door to amazon deliveries, grocery shopping, family dilemmas, house repairs and home-schooling.
- What time should I start work?
- What time should I stop?
- I used to work until 530pm at least but then I used to drive home and get back at 6pm. Does that mean I should now work until 6pm?
- I receive work emails in the evening, and I feel it is more efficient to reply instantly so I don’t forget later.
- Eventually I fall into bed exhausted and the line between work and home has disappeared completely. Home is now the office. My workplace is now my home. The work/life balance has gone.
- Even at weekends it is hard to resist the temptation not to do a little work to get a head start on the forthcoming week.
Is this my life now? When does work finish and my life begin?
Remote working is undoubtedly impacting our mental health. Managers of remote teams can help by re-establishing the working day.
- What time do you expect your team to be available?
- What time can they log off?
- Can you agree not to contact them outside these hours?
- What are the essential events and activities for which they must be present?
- What family events (e.g home-schooling) must now be accommodated?
Work has now invaded the home. Clear communication of your (and their) expectations can ensure this works to the benefit of both the company and the team member.
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Published on Feb 05, 2021 by Geoff Marsh