Working from home is challenging because working hours and leisure time may blend into one another, up to the point where you feel the need to be available at all times and experience a dissociation of work and private life. Therefore, it is important to remain disciplined and to organize yourself well even when working from home. Only those who can recover well and create a balance will have enough energy to master the challenges of everyday work – balance is the success factor.

Now into some practical tips:

  • Organize your time in a self-determined way: for example, usually e-mails do not have to be answered immediately, but it is often sufficient to answer them during the course of the day.
  • Create undisturbed working hours: when working from home the best time for deep work may be different from person to person. It should be based on your own performance curve and your individual environment and conditions.
  • Distinguish between working hours and leisure time consciously: Draw a line at a set time, even (or especially) when working from home, and allow yourself to call it a day at this time. Also, breaks are important when working from home and may require different times and lengths than in your office at university.

The supervisor as a role model

Supervisors are also exposed to high levels of stress themselves. They are therefore called upon to act as role models when it comes to balancing your work and private life. Consciously or unconsciously, employees are guided by how their managers behaves:

“The basis for health-promoting employee management is therefore the manager’s understanding of health and his or her self-responsibility. A conscious attitude to and awareness of one’s own health influences the health-promoting approach of employees to a great extent, since the health related actions of superiors often serve as a role model for employees.

Managers who are conscious about their own stress experiences, individual stress factors, and resources, can recognize these aspects in their employees and act accordingly. In this context, healthy self-leadership also means that managers are aware of safety regulations and health promotion measures themselves and consciously pay attention to their health and possible warning signals.” (Source)

When children have to be cared for at the same time

If you find yourself in the position of having to care for or even teach children at home while also wanting or needing to work at home (e.g., due to corona-related school or daycare closures), it can be especially difficult and challenging.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. All the above points are twice as important now: organize your time in the way that works best for you at the moment. For example, create distraction-free times for yourself. You may work best when your children are still asleep in the morning, or you may prefer to work quietly when the children are alone in the afternoon or evening, or when another caregiver is present. And remember that you also need time for rest and relaxation in order to stay productive and healthy in the long run!

The family office at MLU has compiled several helpful resources like ideas for learning and other activities, or support offers for parents.

Certo-Portal and the VBG have summarized some tips for working from home neatly on this poster:

You can download the full resolution poster here

You can find further seminars and workshops (in German) on the topic of “Healthy Balance” by clicking on the links below:

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Find a healthy balance

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