5 Ways to Handle Work Creep When Working Remotely

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Work creep is a common issue for remote workers. It refers to the feeling that work is taking over your life. You cannot sleep, spend time with your family, or enjoy alone time. Sounds familiar? You're not the only one suffering. The report below shows the struggles of those working from home:

Source

In this article, you'll learn how to detach work life from your personal life. Here are 5 tips that will help you avoid work creep while working remotely:

 

1. Set Aside a Specific Area

 

Working in the same spot of your home each day helps separate work and your private life. Whether a tiny corner desk in your living room or your kitchen table, you should create a workspace separate from your "living" areas. 

 

Make sure your workspace is comfy, neat, and quiet. You want to avoid wandering around the house during working hours, lowering productivity, and encouraging work to creep into home-life. Once you have your workspace, personalize it by adding some decorations. Whatever makes you happy. That could be family photographs, books, plants, or something to hang on the wall. Be consistent and use the designated space every day. 

 

2. Maintain a Schedule for Working Hours

 

To find the right balance between your work and personal life, you need to set specific business or work hours. Working from home makes you responsible for your time management. Whichever hours you choose, stick to the schedule as much as possible. Don't forget about taking proper breaks and avoid eating lunch at your desk. 

 

To disconnect from your work matters, establish an after-work routine where you pack away your devices, too. That way, you'll avoid working after hours. Not looking at work-related tasks outside your working hours is essential. It will help you avoid burnout and save energy for the next working day.

 

3. Schedule Time for Starting & Ending Work

 

Setting their mind to "work mode" comes naturally for someone who commutes to their workplace. If your home is your workplace, you need to think of something to help you transition. Some people like to jog, others listen to music or meditate. Whatever you need to start your day on the right note, do it. Just make sure it doesn't make you late for work!

 

After you shut down your computer at the end of your workday, do something relaxing to forget about work-related chores and prevent work creep. Going for a walk, watching TV, or cooking are just other activities that could soothe your tired brain. A daily routine is good for your mental health and will help you be more productive at work.

 

4. Prioritize Productive Work Over Busy Work

 

The work done in a day can be categorized as productive work or busy work.

Research shows that remote workers are 35-40% more productive than their in-office colleagues. Productive work is any work that adds value to your company. It takes a lot of focus and strategy to do productive work. Sales calls, invoicing, writing articles, or designing websites are just a few examples.

 

On the other hand, busy work has minimal value. It could be what people do in the last 30 minutes before going home if they work in the office. They look busy but are not accomplishing anything worthwhile for the company.

 

Don't choose to do the busy work first over the productive work. You may suddenly realize that you haven't got enough time to finish the productive work expected for the day. You want to avoid being forced to work extra hours because you delayed doing productive work.

 

5. Use Proper Communication Etiquette 

 

Communication with your team members is essential, especially when working from home. Establishing professional boundaries will ensure that you and your colleagues recognize and respect each other's working hours. You shouldn't be scheduling any work-related calls outside of your working hours. You need to follow the same etiquette and not contact your colleagues out of hours.

 

If your set working hours are 9 am to 5 pm, don't answer work emails outside of that period. Never use your smartphone to check your work inbox. The last thing you want is to see work-related notifications when you're trying to have dinner with your family. 

 

Don't be tempted to contact customers out of hours either. You cannot let them think that you're available at all times. So, if you're running an online store, you can't just have the best eCommerce platform. You need a chatbot, too. Instead, the bot can reply to customers or send automated offline messages outside of office hours. Most email providers will also let you set automatic replies where you can select your out-of-office times and messages. 

 

Learn to respect other people's time and personal space, and you will get that from others. That way, everyone can prevent work creep and separate work from their personal lives.

 

Conclusion

 

Remote work is great, but it can lead to too many working hours. By following the above rules, you'll ensure you don't allow your work to creep into your personal life. Set boundaries and stick to them. Find a hobby, and put yourself into it after your shift. Organize a workspace and commit to using it for your work, too. When your workday is over, shut down your laptop and close your office door. Leave them until the following day. When you train your body and mind to work in the same place and only during specific hours, you can separate your work life from your personal life. That will help you prevent burnout. The result? You'll be happy and productive when working remotely.

 

Strong workplace culture is vital for remote teams. DH offers virtual solutions to [re]design a thriving culture for happier employees, higher profits & more meaningful lives. 

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION,  & BELONGING WORKSHOP

About the Author

Jimmy Rodriguez

Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO of Shift4Shop, a completely free, enterprise-grade e-commerce solution. He's dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.

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