Setting Boundaries When Working from Home
Boundaries are essentially guidelines, rules, and limits we set to maintain wellbeing and safety in mind, body, relationships, work, and other areas of life. When working from home, boundaries around work can easily disintegrate. Our "office" may be steps away from our bed, our family members, roommates, or pets may serve as distractions, and we may find it difficult to begin our work or to step away from it at the end of the day. This lack of boundaries may leave us feeling unproductive, anxious, and exhausted as the workday seeps into our personal time.
Here are simple ways you can set boundaries to maintain balance between work and personal time:
-Set a consistent sleep and meal schedule
-Begin and end your workday at the same times you would at an office
-Practice your typical morning routine
-Dress as if you're going to the office
-Create a designated workspace
-Find a quiet space or play classical music to promote focus
-Take a lunch break
-Silence social media and news notifications
-Communicate needs to family members and roommates
-Set "quiet times" with children and create visual cues such as door signs to communicate when busy and available
-Take free time seriously! Try to complete work on typical workdays and make good use of short breaks throughout the day (e.g., make a cup of tea, step outside for 5 minutes between tasks, or stretch). On days off, do a variety of things you find engaging like creative projects (e.g., cooking, gardening, or building something), physical activities (e.g., running, yoga, or hiking), calming activities (e.g., reading, taking a bath, or relaxing outside), and social activities (e.g., video chatting with friends, playing an online game, or going for a walk with a family member).
However you set boundaries, be sure to communicate them to others. By discussing our needs, we can support each other in working from home and protecting our much-needed personal time.