Do you ever struggle to set boundaries when working from home?
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down most offices and forced most people to work remotely. While many people like this arrangement, it can blur the lines between home and work and lead to more stress. Here are four ways to set boundaries when working from home:
1. Work from a dedicated workspace at home.
If possible, designate a spare room in your house strictly for work and no other activities. If that is not possible, then carve out a section of a room in your house (i.e., in your living room) to use exclusively for work. A room divider can help create a physical boundary in a room used for other activities and/or by other people.
Only work at your dedicated workspace at home. Avoid bringing work into other parts of your home, especially your bedroom. Only use your bedroom for sleep and intimate time with your significant other.
2. Create a ritual for ending your workday.
When you work from home, it’s easy to feel like the workday never ends. Another way to set boundaries is to create a ritual that signifies the end of your workday. For example, at the end of my workday, I reply to any pending messages in my inbox. Then, I review my upcoming schedule and determine my top priorities and goals for the next day. Then, I shut down my computer, leave my home office (see item #1 above), and close the door to the office.
An end of work ritual sends a clear message to yourself that work is done for the day. It helps you shift gears and focus on other parts of your life.
3. Commute after work.
When you work at an office outside your home, your commute home helps you shift gears from work to home. However, when you work in your home, it is harder to make that shift- since you are not going anywhere.
One way to overcome this challenge is to commute after work. It can be as simple as leaving your home and going for a short walk outside. This ritual further helps you shift gears and disconnect from work. When you re-enter your home, it will be easier to focus on other parts of your life.
4. Change out of your work clothes.
When you work from home, you might be tempted to wear comfortable clothes that you would never wear to an office. That includes pajamas, sweat pants, workout attire, etc. However, your clothing has an impact on your mindset and performance.
Before you start work, get changed into work clothes. You need not dress as formally as you would in an office, but try to dress more professionally than if you were lounging around at home. At the end of your workday, change out of your work clothes and into more casual attire. This action further signifies that your workday is over.
Summary and Final Thoughts
While many people like working from home, it can blur the lines between home and work. Here are four ways to set boundaries when working from home:
- Work from a dedicated workspace at home.
- Create a ritual for ending your workday.
- Commute after work.
- Change out of your work clothes.
In today’s world of remote work, you need to establish boundaries. Otherwise, you will struggle to disconnect from work and focus on other parts of your life.
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About the author: Pete Leibman is the Creator of StrongerHabits.com. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, executive recruiter, athlete, and peak performance coach. His work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and CNNMoney.com, and over 500,000 people across the world have read his articles.