Maintaining a healthy work-life blend

Dynamic working provides great flexibility to suit each of our needs and support our preferable working patterns however, it can make the maintenance of a healthy work-life blend challenging.

It is easy to get so caught up in a piece of work in the comfort of your home, that you lose track of time and work into your evening. This guidance is designed to support you in establishing healthy dynamic working patterns and offers practical tips and tricks for when you are working from home.

Work boundaries

When you are working on campus, leaving the office at the end of the day typically signals the workday is done.

However, this natural cue doesn’t exist when you are working from home which makes it easier to carry on working past your required hours. Maintaining a boundary between work and personal life at home is key to ensure you do not overwork yourself.

Top tips

  • Set an alarm to indicate your workday is coming to an end. You may not finish exactly at this time, but it will prompt the process of finishing up your work for the evening.
  • At the end of the workday, turn your laptop off and put it away somewhere you cannot see it.
  • If you can, move away from your workspace at the end of your working day.
  • If you have your emails and Teams on your phone, make it a habit to not open the apps once you have closed your laptop for the day.

Take regular breaks

Our bodies are not designed to be static and spending extended periods of time sat at your workstation can lead to back and neck pain, tired eyes, headaches, stress and fatigue.

DSE regulations suggest a 5–10-minute screen break or change of activity/position every hour can be beneficial for your physical health and your productivity. If you were working in the office, you’d naturally move from meeting to meeting, so make sure you are doing the same at home.

Top tips

  • Use productivity timers such as the pomodoro technique or tomato timer. These are an invaluable tool for helping with time management and allowing you to ensure your efforts are worthwhile, whilst reminding you to take a break.
  • Spend a few minutes every hour looking at the horizon, then back at your screen and repeat to exercise your eye muscles.
  • Try to move away from your workspace on your breaks – grab a cup of coffee or go and sit in another room.
  • Getting outside for a walk will help boost vitamin D levels, reduce stress and release endorphins which will allow you to cope better with the remaining working needs of your day.
  • Stretching your body is a great method of looking after your physical health. View guidance on stretches for computer users

Energy saving

There are certain habits and gadgets which can steal our focus and energy, making it hard to switch off at home.

Recognising those things within your day which cause you stress, distraction and fatigue is the first step to building healthy dynamic working habits.

Top tips

  • Turning off notifications on your desktop, tablet and phone can save you time, brain processing power, and energy. In particular, make sure to turn off all notifications at the end of the workday so you do not receive any past your work hours.
  • Accept that you may not complete all the tasks on your to do list. Instead, look at how you can prioritise your tasks by dividing them into four categories:
    1. Important and urgent
    2. Not urgent but important
    3. Not important but urgent
    4. Not important or urgent
  • Mix up tasks rather than always doing the Important and urgent list, because the things lower down tend to be related to long-term goals. Therefore, it is important not to leave those tasks and just focus on what feels most urgent.