Adapted from an article on workflexibility.org
When COVID-19 changed the office landscape, many were suddenly faced with the work from home conundrum: how do you balance your work life with your personal life? At first you imagined how much time you’d save from not having to commute into an office, how much money you’d save by not having to pay for said commute (and office wear and fancy lunches), and how productive you’d be with all that extra time not having spent stuck in traffic.
Thing is, your work life and your personal life can easily become one big ball of stress if you don’t try to set boundaries. Here are four ways in which you can separate work life and personal life when you work at home.
Hold regular office hours.
It may seem unnecessary to have regular office hours when you work remotely. After all, isn’t the point of having a flexible schedule that you can work flexibly? But if you start and stop your workday at various times throughout the day, it can wreak havoc on your productivity and have you working harder and longer than you need to be. So, try to keep a consistent schedule while being sure to allow yourself breaks as needed.
Try creating a designated workspace.
When you telecommute, anywhere can be your office, from your local coffee shop to your car while you wait for your kid to run themselves out at the park. Even if running from place to place is tempting, you should try to find one place to primarily work from in your home. Finding a dedicated space to get your work done will keep you centralized and focused. Then, when you’ve gotten the bulk of your work done for the day, you can switch it up by working somewhere else for a few hours the next day.
You’re prepping dinner and you have your laptop open on the counter at the same time. While you might be tempted to scan your work emails as you’re tossing the salad, you shouldn’t. It’s imperative to establish boundaries when you work from home. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself working 24/7. So make every effort to be present in your life, whether you’re trying to finish up a big project or if you’re having a conversation with your 10-year-old. Setting boundaries will ultimately make you a better, stronger, and happier worker and person.
Don’t overschedule yourself.
Remote workers might feel the need to take on extra tasks, especially if some of their colleagues are still stuck working at the office when they don’t want to be. It’s important though to not overschedule yourself, as that can be a recipe for burnout. Instead, make every effort to do the best at your job by completing your assignments well and on time. If you find that you have some extra time that won’t come as a huge sacrifice to your personal life, then you can volunteer to tackle another project. That way, you’re doing your personal best, both at work and at home.