AFD: the new OOO

Work From Home

AFD: the new OOO

Sep 04, 2020 / By Sydney Anderson

This weekend we’ll be experiencing the U.S. Labor Day holiday a lot different than last year. Whether taking extra time off or enjoying an extended weekend, we should all take this opportunity to step back from work - if only for a couple of days.

Because right now, it feels like there’s no not working time. Ever.

Tweet: "I think we need to stop calling it 'working from home' and start calling it 'living at work'" Credit: Heather De-Quincey @H_DeQuincey on June 22, 2020

Anyone else shout “Amen” after reading that tweet? For many, the transition to working from home hasn’t been easy. But over time, we’ve each found and settled into routines, and we’re making them work.

Now we have a national holiday in the mix to throw us off. How do you take a break when your home is now your office, too? With laptops, desktops, and multiple mobile devices conveniently stationed around your home, how do you step back from the screens?

Easy. AFD.

What is AFD?

AFD means Away from Device. It’s our new OOO. Since our “office” looks a lot different now (hello kitchen table and closet), OOO doesn’t make sense anymore.

AFD lets people know we’re not spending time on our device(s) during this time, but we will be back soon. Because we need a short break.

Tips for maintaining your AFD mindset through work from home

  • Turn your email app to Do Not Disturb, shutting off all notifications. Just don’t forget to turn them on when you’re back 😉
  • Consider removing all work apps from your device if it’s too tempting to peek at them. You can always reinstall them on Tuesday!
  • Turn off sounds and keep notifications muted. It may be too tempting if you hear that familiar *ding* to check what it was
  • Set Do Not Disturb hours on chat applications like Microsoft Teams and Slack
  • Send work calls straight to voicemail with no guilt
  • This one is hard. Keep your computer turned off. Power off all devices and “unplug” until you return to work


Remember to set your email auto-reply and any other communication channels with a message explaining that AFD is the new OOO and you’ll be returning on [insert whichever date here]. Or maybe never. This establishes boundaries and sets expectations on when your contacts will receive a reply. It’s more important than ever to take care of ourselves, our minds, and our bodies. Do yourself a favor; this Labor Day, go AFD to avoid extra stressors and WFH fatigue.

Sydney Anderson

Sydney Anderson
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