Establish boundaries for your working hours
Whether you’re in the office or working from home, ensuring that you finish work at an appropriate time each day will help you to avoid burnout in the long term. To do this, clearly communicate your working hours to your colleagues. If they continue to request tasks that require you to work overtime, kindly but firmly assure them that you will be happy to help during your working hours.
Communicate clearly with colleagues about your workload
Building on the previous point, managing your workload effectively can help to avoid the need for overtime. A key aspect of this is accurately conveying your workload to your colleagues. If you’re struggling to fit work in, ask if there is flexibility on deadlines. Where there is none, aim to delegate tasks among other members of your team, or alternatively to manage client expectations about what can be achieved in the available time.
Maintain separation of living and working spaces
If you’re at home, create a dedicated workspace (where possible), and avoid working in bed or on the sofa. Keep this workspace tidy and clutter-free. Not only will this improve your concentration and productivity, it will also create a psychological divide between your work and home life, helping you to ‘switch off’ outside of working hours. If you’re in the office, take regular breaks away from your desk, including to eat your lunch. This can also provide a good opportunity to get to know your colleagues on a more casual basis.
Break down your workload into small, specific tasks
Break long-term overall goals into small, specific tasks to make your workload feel more achievable, and reduce the likelihood that you will procrastinate or defer work because you are not sure where to begin. This will help to prevent the need for overtime, and also improve the quality of your downtime, as you are less likely to spend it worrying about unfinished or overdue work.
Plan regular time off
Make use of your annual leave and plan in regular periods of time off. This will provide time for you to rest and recuperate, improving your work performance in the long term. To ensure that you can fully appreciate your time off, be sure to provide a detailed handover note for colleagues so that they do not need to contact you with work queries, and avoid checking work-related e-mails and notifications that could create stress.
For more on getting the most out of your working day, check out our article on How to boost your productivity at work.
How to boost your productivity at work
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- Publication date
- 28 July 2022
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Business / EntrepreneurshipHints and tips
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