Life in Isolation: Returning to Work

Work DeskI’ve been home, working or on furlough, for four months now. Currently, we’re on “flexible furlough”, which means we can work part-time and receive furlough-pay for the rest.

It doesn’t look like our offices will open up again any time soon. This doesn’t bother me all that much: it’s no secret that I like working from home.

The trickiest thing I’ve found about working from home, though, is remaking the structure of an office-day.

In the office, tea-breaks and lunch-breaks are often at designated times. In ours, we remind each other and make sure we take our breaks. Too long without a break and we’re more likely to let errors go through.

At home, though, I have to remind myself. Sometimes it’s easy to just keep going, to get caught up in a job and work through. The lines between home and work are blurrier, because there’s no commute, and your colleagues aren’t leaving all together at home-time. There’s usually a race out the door at 5pm in our office.


I try to do a commute around the park in the morning and evening, to separate home from work. Admittedly, I’m better at doing the evening commute.

For the morning walk I often have the park to myself, especially while the weather is soggier. Sometimes there’s a couple of early dogwalkers, or the park groundsmen, but it’s otherwise empty. The perfect time for a brisk walk.

The evening is busier, especially if the day’s dried up a bit and the sun has reappeared. On the other hand, I get that pleasant sort of feeling about seeing the people in the office downstairs still hard at work in their socially distant corners, and knowing that I’m done for the day.

As for the daily breaks, I’ve found the best thing to do is simply to get up and stretch as soon as I complete a task. That way I’m more likely to remember to walk away, if it happens to be time to put the kettle on.

If you’re working from home, what do you do to break up the day, or remind yourself to take your tea-breaks?

2 thoughts on “Life in Isolation: Returning to Work

  1. I used to work at home permanently and like you, sometimes it could be easier to just work through or even forget the time and ‘miss’ a break. I used to only get 30 mins official lunch break which meant I pre prepared lunch at breakfast time so I had actual time to rest and be away from the screen and eat. If fine, I’d go in the garden away from the temptation of taking lunch back to my desk, in winter I’d sit in front of the tv and watch something mundane. Both involved continuing to sit down – from desk chair to comfortable chair – not a good thing longterrm! Well done for taking a stroll twice a day – that’s the best habit to get in to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In some ways it does feel much more sedentary going only from desk to sofa – perhaps it’s the extra time on the sofa instead of in a car? – but on the other hand, it’s much easier to do a yoga-stretch when I stand up at home! Swings and roundabouts.


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