How to Unplug From Technology When Working Remotely
Written by: Hrishikesh Pardeshi, Founder at Flexiple, buildd & Remote Tools.
Last updated: Jan 19, 2023
Working from home has numerous benefits that make it such a popular career choice. You don’t have to worry about commuting or making friends with unpleasant co-workers. At the same time, you won’t have any separation between your work and personal lives. Here’s how to unplug when you work from home to balance your mental health and enjoy your career more.
1. Establish Personal Boundaries
It’s much easier to stop working when you have to leave a physical office. There’s nothing better than clocking out for the day and having quiet time on the drive home. That all disappears when you work from your living room or home office. You’re only one room away from where you hang out, so there’s no post-work delay to unplug your mentality from your day job to your evening routine.
The first step in learning how to disconnect when you work from home is establishing personal boundaries. When will you stop working during the day? Think about which technologies you most rely on to accomplish your work-related tasks. If you’re on the phone all day or on your computer, step away from both of those things. It could become your first boundary because it places physical distance between you and the technology you love.
Try to leave those particular electronics alone for a solid block of time after work. Go for a walk with your dog, see friends or pick up a book to entertain yourself. After you’ve had an hour to unplug, you can pick up your laptop again to watch your favorite shows or browse social media on your phone.
Writing down your boundaries is another way to discover how to balance your screen time as a remote worker. Post your new limitations where you’ll see them routinely, like your refrigerator. The notes will become constant reminders of your goals so they become routine more quickly.
Of all the work-life balance tips for remote workers, boundaries are the most essential. If you can uphold them every day by giving your mind a break and leaving tech behind, you’ll feel more grounded and rested overnight. If you’re unsure of how to replace your technology-dependent habits, try taking a hot bath or meditating to slow your racing mind and stop the cycle of needing something to scroll.
2. Find a New Hobby
Technology encourages users to spend as much time as possible with their screens. Apps and websites make more money by increasing their average use time. They attempt this through their design, like triggering dopamine production through like buttons to stimulate an addictive cycle.
Playing mobile games and checking social media feed updates can feel like hobbies, but they don’t help you unwind. Instead, they keep you in front of a screen after a long day of working remotely. If you want to know how to unplug after working from home, start looking for hobbies that don’t involve technology.
Try some new hobbies to improve your health. Join a gym and attend classes to learn how to lift weights properly or do yoga. Prepare fresh recipes to explore your food preferences while limiting unhealthy ingredients. Watch videos that teach people to dance and choreograph moves to your favorite songs to get more active.
People also start new hobbies to learn more about themselves. Instead of identifying as someone who mindlessly shops online or can’t resist refreshing their favorite apps, they try new offline activities to further their personal growth. You could start a creative hobby by taking painting classes, joining a knitting club or learning how to make pottery.
Maybe you’d enjoy unplugging from technology with a more hands-on hobby. Plant a garden in your backyard or renovate your landscaping. Finish those home improvement projects that have been on your bucket list for a while. Anything that takes the place of tech-centered activities will help you gain the benefits of unplugging without replacing that screentime with pockets of scheduled boredom.
Be mindful when choosing how you’ll spend your time. Some activities count as hobbies because they can be long- or short-term ways to get to know yourself. Others — like adopting a pet — are lifelong commitments that people often mistake as pastimes. Never bring home anything that relies on you for their well-being to keep yourself entertained.
3. Stick to Your Schedule
Making a concrete schedule is one of the best work-life balance tips for remote employees. Someone who has a traditional job forms their daily routine around their work. They have to prioritize their commute, shifts and any after-work activities that relate to their career. Home-based workers only have to think about how a full-time schedule best fits their preferred lifestyle. There’s nothing as solid as a required commute to form the foundation of your routine.
Although that’s a significant advantage for people who work from home, it can also be their greatest roadblock. If you’re not already skilled at time management, your work schedule could bleed into your personal life and require more time on the computer or phone.
You might accidentally get distracted during the day because your brain is desperate for a screentime break. Once you return from doing laundry or getting a snack, you might be late for a deadline or get behind on your work.
If you need to learn how to disconnect when you work from home, prioritize your communication to set your schedule in stone. While you’re on the clock, improve your productivity by rapidly answering emails and calls without procrastinating. You’ll get everything done before you have to clock out, which makes it much easier to leave your technology behind for the night.
When you feel great about what you’ve accomplished during the workday, you’ll also feel less tempted to break your after-hours schedule. You won’t worry about missing a crucial email or sending a late-night message to a co-worker about a collaboration project. Instead, you’ll rest easy away from your laptop because you’ve done your part for the day.
As you repeat your new remote schedule, juggling your professional responsibilities and distancing yourself from technology after work will become much more manageable. You’ll get used to your new routine and stay away from screens in the evening because you’ll know your work life is on the right track.
Another way to learn how to balance your screen time as a remote worker is to resist the after-hours work temptation. Everything you need to do your job is at your fingertips. Your laptop will always be within reach instead of waiting for you at an office downtown. You’ll be one click away from opening your inbox at any time, but that’s not good for your mental health.
Research shows that people who work long hours have an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke. Working more will place additional stress on your mind and body, so it’s more crucial than ever to figure out how to unplug after working from home. Sticking with a firm schedule is an effective way to minimize your stress and use technology less after depending on it all day for your job.
Disconnect When You Work From Home
Now that you know how to unplug when you work from home, try a few of these tips to see what best fits your routine. Avoid working after hours, find hobbies that don’t rely on technology and establish healthy boundaries for your tech usage. You’ll develop a new pattern that’s balanced and makes life more enjoyable in this next phase of your career.
About the Author
Ginger Abbot is a learning and lifestyle writer who is passionate about helping people chase their educational and career goals. Read more of her advice on Classrooms.com, where she also works as Editor-in-Chief.