When that proverbial 5 o’clock whistle blows at the office, you straighten your desk, log off of your computer, grab your work bag and head out the door. But what happens when you reach the end of your remote work day? Do you keep working?
The answer is, “No!” Don’t keep working. "Go home." Treat your home office the same as you would treat an office that you commute to each day.
Ending your day can be hard on a regular day; when you work remotely, it can be even trickier to shut down and step away for the evening. Working from a home office can increase productivity but it also can keep you unwittingly tied to your desk and stuck in your chair long after quitting time. Don’t fall into the trap of working more because your office is so conveniently located.
There’s plenty of time during your remote work day to connect with colleagues or continue figuring out how to effectively manage a remote team. Trust me; it will be waiting for you when you log back in the next morning.
Tips for Ending Your Remote Work Day
Be mindful of your work hours. Respect them, but also respect your personal time. I speak from experience and offer these five tips to end your remote work day mindfully and get on with your evening.
Set Your Device’s Night Light.
Your device's night-light mode dims your computer's screen to make it easier to look at your screen in the dark. Have it turn on at the end of your work day to signal it’s time to wrap up. You can keep working, if you want, but you’ll at least be aware that the official quitting time has passed.
End Your Day with a To-Do List.
You don’t have to start each new morning with a clean slate. It’s okay for some work to carry over to the next day. But, you do want to feel like you’ve accomplished something and start the new work day fresh and organized. Making a to-do list for the next day can help you walk away from your home office feeling confident that you can pick up where you left off the next morning.
Make Sure Your Work Space is Ready to Go.
Be sure everything is plugged in for the next morning. It’s easy to just want to be done and close the laptop to make dinner, walk the dog or check in on the kids. But don’t leave anything extra to be done before the next remote work day starts. Make sure you plug-in your headset to charge, take that dirty coffee cup to the sink and clean up your desk for a fresh start to the new day.
Don’t Send After-Hours Emails.
It’s important to set expectations with colleagues and clients regarding your working hours. If you are working late, set that email message to auto send in the morning. It’s important to establish reasonable working hours whenever possible and give yourself time to regroup before the next remote work day.
Close Your Tabs and Shut Down for the Weekend.
End-of-day Friday — not Saturday afternoon — signals the weekend. To ensure that your remote work day doesn’t blend into your Saturday and Sunday downtime, make sure to turn off your device on Friday and stay away from it until Monday. You can enjoy an extra minute with your coffee while things boot up at the start of the new work week.
Working at home requires some adjustment and a fresh mindset. Finding balance between your personal and work-from-home lives can be tough. I know this firsthand after spending the past five years working remotely. That’s why I’ve shared so many tips in this remote-working series. If you missed the earlier blogs in the series, here are links to the other four posts. Thanks for reading!