How do you build in transition zones while mostly working from home?
Does this image look familiar?
I live in Australia where five lockdowns in eighteen months equals suburban trains that run almost empty day after day. No current lockdown in your locale? With the now hybrid-model of mostly working from home, many trains, trams, buses still look rather like this in many of the world’s cities.
Earlier this year I asked a coaching client how many minutes, pre-Covid, he used to commute each day. His response:
“Out of frustration, I began to record my daily commute time in late 2019. I discovered that I was commuting an average of 75 minutes a day – Monday to Friday. Really bothered me at the time. However, now I look back and realise that the commute train ride actually gave me a conscious transition space between work and home.”
So I asked him and other coaching clients how they now, twenty months later, are apportioning those commute transition times.
Longer workday? Greater participation in household tasks like food shopping? Catching up on home maintenance? Caring activities such as bike-riding with children? Personal fitness?
Here’s what they say.
“Yes” for most clients to all of the above. However they add…
Previous daily commutes had given two clearly defined transition zones in their day – moving from home, and the reverse. Walking to internal meetings in their CBD office had provided other physical transition spaces in their day. These movements, through physically different spaces, gave them an awareness, “I’m now in transition between activities.”
What these professionals now notice is a new problem. On their work-from-home days there is a lot of unfocused “bleed” from one activity to the next. Previously, their commute time had provided distinct markers between work and home. Now that they predominantly work from home, that clear transition space has become a foggy smudging from work-focus into household tasks; an undefined blur from in-depth create-mode to admin-mode.
So, how about you?
Whether you work from home or not, how do you shoe-horn conscious transitions into your work days at home? I would love to hear your experience – you can email me here.
Coming in September: A targeted coaching-style program on Mastering Transitions. Keep alert for this.