If you’ve switched to working from home in the past few years and were surprised to find that you actually kind of hate it, there’s a reason for that.
A new study revealed that commuting has a real upside, and remote workers may be missing out on its benefits. The study’s authors wrote,
Commutes are a source of “liminal space” — a time free of both home and work roles that provides an opportunity to recover from work and mentally switch gears to home.
During the shift to remote work, many people lost this built-in support for these important daily processes. Without the ability to mentally shift gears, people experience role blurring, which can lead to stress. Without mentally disengaging from work, people can experience burnout.
So if you work from home, what can you do to get that “liminal space” back in your life?
I’ve worked from home for about five years now, and I’ve spent some time thinking about that exact question. Here are a few ways to switch from “work mode” to “home mode,” whether or not you work remotely.
1Take your work out of the house
It’s an obvious solution, but honestly, this is my favorite tactic to use. My work can be done anywhere, but I usually go to the library or a coffee shop to work. It helps me focus and I like having this little separation between work and family life.
2Take a minute to pray and think
When you’re done with work, give yourself the gift of a minute of quiet time. On your commute home, or when you turn off your computer for the day, take that time to think through the evening ahead and pray for God to walk with you through it.
Just that one minute to think and pray can give you the mental space to have a successful transition.
3Make a list of what signals “home mode”
It helps to give myself cues to signal that it’s time to stop working and start enjoying time at home with my family. Time management specialists call this a “wrap-up routine.”
I might change from jeans into leggings, put on my cozy slippers and sweater, light a candle, turn on my favorite music, and get a fresh cup of hot tea. If I’m feeling a lack of clarity about next steps in my work, I often make a list of the most important tasks for the next day. Then I know exactly where to focus my energy the next morning.
These are some things that help me feel that I have some space between work and home as a remote worker. I’d love to hear what you do to create this space in your own life!