Telecommuting: how to successfully separate your professional and personal life?

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With confinement, telecommuting has suddenly spread and is ready to expand. While it allows for greater flexibility in your organization, it also tends to blur the lines between private and professional life.

Large numbers of employees are encouraged to telecommute to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, responsible for the Covid-19 epidemic.

Define your working time in advance

In the office, the work environment sets the rhythm of the day: its beginning, its end, its coffee breaks. In the absence of this framework, it is sometimes difficult to set your own limits, and stick with it. "Studies show that telecommuters tend to do more when they are at home," says Caroline Ruiller. The risk of spilling over into personal life times, at night and on weekends, is very real.

The key to fix it?

"Frame your days well by defining in advance the time you start and the time you end. Not forgetting to plan for interruptions during the day, particularly a real lunch break as you would at the office," replies Caroline Ruiller.

Another tip: determine in advance the time you plan to spend on each activity such as reading a file, answering your emails, writing a note. Having a clear vision of the work time you need helps you better manage your schedule and graft personal appointments without interrupting your days.

Invent new rituals

The commute to work is a time of transition that allows you to get in shape mentally. At home, you may be tempted to go straight from bed to your mailbox.

Some people manage to work in their pajamas, but not everyone is given it.

Dressing in work clothes, even more casual, gets you started. Also treat yourself to new rituals: going around the block, taking your children to school, to mark the start of the day. It makes you feel like you are at work and avoid mixing your two lives.

Same at night - the return trip is often experienced as a decompression airlock. It can be recreated by walking the dog, cooking, or with a meditation session. It is up to everyone to find the rituals that symbolically mark the beginning and end of the professional day and help put aside work thoughts.

Set up a space dedicated to work

Working sitting on the sofa, at the kitchen table and on the edge of the bed, is to run the risk of not feeling at home anywhere. It is important to create a real workspace. It is creating a physical but also psychological border that defines professional life: you are working in your workspace and at home in the rest of the house.

The ideal is to have a room in which to set up your office and all the necessary equipment. Thus, when we close the door at night, we also close the working door. But not everyone has the opportunity. If the desk is installed in the corner of the living room, we can create a separation by placing a shelf or a screen. If you have no choice but to occupy the dining room or kitchen table, you have to take the time each morning to arrange your workspace. And order it every night.

It is a bit of a limitation, but keeping your laptop and files out of sight, in a drawer or purse, is to avoid having to go back to work as soon as you see them.

The employer also has a role to play

The employer, or manager, also has its share of responsibility for the work-life balance of its employees. This requires, in particular, an agreement on the working time and the times in which we can be contacted. "The right to disconnect, that is, the right to cut when the working day ends, is a fundamental right of the employee and a condition of his health. It is important to enforce it before his superiors.

Set rules with your loved ones

People around them sometimes have a hard time understanding that working from home does not mean always being available. The teleworker is easily interrupted by the spouse or children when they are not allowed to call them at their workplace. It is best to explain to your family what we need to work properly. And think together about the operating rules that will be given.

It is about defining the tolerable sound volume for the television when the children come home, communicating their schedules so that everyone knows when we are alone or signaling with a sign.

Avoid distractions

Vacuuming, throwing out a machine. It is hard when household chores pile up so you do not give in to the temptation to do some on the spot. After all, starting a machine only takes a few minutes.

Being mentally available for these distractions greatly affects your concentration. The solution: write them on a post-it to get them out of your head more easily and tell yourself that you will finish them later.

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