5 Rules to Creating Work-from-Home Boundaries
May 6, 2020
So now that we’re all working from home, let’s do a quick check-in.
Have you fallen into the habit of wearing pjs all day? Are you checking voicemails at all hours and answering emails at midnight?
If so, it’s time to set some boundaries to protect your work-life balance. Trust me – I’ve worked from home for more than 15 years and I can say from experience that separating your work life and your home life will make everything easier. Now more than ever, you must create some rules to make remote work actually work.
- Create – and stick to – a daily schedule. Sharing your at-home workspace with your house-bound spouse or kids doing online school is a new challenge for many of us. Create a daily schedule that takes into consideration your housemates, your work team, and of course, your wifi bandwidth. It should include wake up time, exercise time, start work time, ‘clocking out’ time, lunch, stretch breaks, and optimal times to do video calls and conference calls.
- Get dressed for work.
We know how tempting it is to wear pajamas all day. But resist it because it really blurs the lines between working and relaxing. Yes, you can dress comfortably, but getting dressed for work signals an important mental shift. According to the Colorado Department of Labor, getting dressed for work can help you transition to a work mindset by creating a “mental boundary between relaxation and work time.”
- Designate your workspace. Don’t worry if your new workspace isn’t ideal; a sound-proof home office is not required. But dedicating a workspace is, even if it’s at the dining room table or guest bedroom. Having a dedicated workspace also sets a boundary for family members, letting them know that when you are there, you are working and may not be available.
- Take breaks.
You took breaks when you worked in an office, so working from home should be no different. But now you need to schedule them. Use your watch to remind you ~ do a yoga video or walk the dog. And yes, even from home, you should not eat lunch at your desk. Research shows that breaks help you return to your work refreshed and focused.
- Stick to ‘quitting time’
When you call it quits for the day, you need to mean it. That means closing the laptop, silencing the phone and walking away from your workspace. Creating this boundary is essential for your emotional well-being. Give yourself, your family or your roommates undivided attention during non-work hours — especially during these uncertain times. Your mental health is important so do what you can to recharge your batteries.
We’re all learning new ways to work these days. Hang in there! And if you’re looking for more tips and information about virtual work, or maintaining a healthy work-life balance, check out PRC’s free online resource page for virtual teams. If you need more support, we got you.