Chances are you, or someone close to you has ventured into working from home in the past few months or might be getting ready to transition to working from home. If you are like me, your first reactions may have been of excitement—I mean who doesn’t want to work along side their pets, and with all the comforts of home? While there are certainly some pros to working from home (no drive time=less money on gas) there are also challenges, such as setting boundaries on your time and space.
Boundaries are what help us with balance and help keep us from getting overwhelmed. There are several types of boundaries to consider including, time, space, emotions, and values. When thinking about a work for home situation, most people are likely to struggle with space, emotional and time boundaries.
Space is an important aspect of work. For many, working in a separate environment allows physical and emotional distance from work stress. Once you start working from home, this distance becomes difficult. By finding a dedicated workspace at your home, you can work to achieve a physical separation between work and home. I suggest finding a space that is dedicated only to work, and can be hidden behind a door, partition, or curtain. By closing the space off when you are not using it, you may be able to relax more during non-work hours. While working from bed sounds great, it can train your brain to be focused on work when in that space, which makes sleeping difficult.
When you were heading into the office you may have had a set 9am-5pm workday. While you may be lucky enough to keep that schedule while working from home, it is also possible your daily schedule will change. Be up front with your supervisor about the changes to your schedule, if needed, and prepare to adjust as you get use to the new normal. Working from home can also lead to working at all hours—its easy to check you work email, and answer calls when you have all your supplies at home. Be mindful of ending your workday at a set time and inform others that you will be ending your workday at that time. If you answer your phone at 10:00pm once, people may continue to call you at 10:00pm in the future.
Finally, remember to be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new work situation. Emotions are high right now and adjusting to working from home is hard. Be mindful of your emotions, and work on saying no to additional task that may add to your emotional drain. If possible, discuss concerns with your supervisor or workplace to adjust tasks to remove emotional distress, and don’t forget to enjoy the perks of working from home.