How to create boundaries when working from home

We all have our quirks when working from home. Do you work outside your usual hours? Get distracted? Procrastinate? Lose focus? Work on days off? It’s hard when all your work and all your personal life are meshed together so closely. But we can help you with creating some boundaries to make sure your work life and your home life still feel a little separate.

Talk to the people in your home regularly about your schedule

It can be a huge help to get organised each week and inform the people in your household of when you may not be available. Firstly, this will help you schedule out your week and have set plans in place. Secondly, you will avoid home distractions at important times. We would suggest, not only blocking out time for meetings but also time where you need to be focused on a specific task. Of course, sometimes family will overstep the boundaries especially if you have young children who just want to hang out. But if the communication is open, and regular, families will get used to giving each other the space and time you need for work.

Have a designated work area

If possible, designate one room in your house for work. If you don’t have a spare room available, designate one spot in your home to work. When you sit in this area, it is work time... not do the washing time or take the dog for a walk time. After getting up and getting ready, sit in your work spot and start the day as if you walked into the office and sat at your usual desk.

Move away from your desk to eat and have a break

On that note, when it’s time to take a break, move away from the work area. Take breather, you can even go for a walk. It’s important to separate the two spaces physically so that you feel like they can be organised separately in your mind.

Set a start and finish time and stick to it

Set a time to get comfortable in your work space. This can be later or earlier in the morning than you would in a usual office - whatever suits your schedule. Work a usual work day with a good break in between or several shorter breaks if you prefer that. Then, when it’s time to stop working, stop working! If an email comes through at say, 5:30 just as you are logging off, know that that email can be dealt with in the morning when you start a new day. Try to switch off work from your end of day time by having a herbal tea, exercising, doing some house work, preparing dinner or moving to the lounge room and deciding what to watch for the night... I guess, most importantly, move away from your work space! Don’t continue browsing on your computer, even if it isn’t for work purposes as you may get distracted by incoming emails.

Set your own ‘business standards’

It’s very helpful to set your own rules for what works for you whilst you’re at home. This will be different for everyone depending on their lifestyle and family schedule. Things you can consider standardising would be, what you wear every day, your hours, your breaks, shared chores, response times... the list goes on. When setting rules for yourself and your family, make sure everyone is happy and comfortable with them and that they don’t add stress but rather create organisation. Additionally, don’t give anyone a hard time, including yourself, if you don’t live up to your own business standards every single day or moment. We are all only human!

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