Boundaries for Working from Home
How to Separate Your Work Life When It’s in Your Home
The pandemic has changed many things for many people, including the way we work. As some of us begin transitioning back into the office, many companies are moving to a hybrid model or allowing folks to work from home indefinitely. While working from home allows for more flexibility, it also allows for, well, more flexibility. In my experience, it’s been incredibly important to keep my home a sacred space. If you want to keep your work out of your sanctuary, it’s important to set boundaries.
Here are six things you can do to retain your boundaries between work and home life:
Go for a walk before and after you start the day to mimic your commute:
Although a commute to and from work can be a pain in the ass (and you’re probably glad to be rid of it), it also serves a purpose. A commute allows you time to shift into and out of work mode and gives you the space to set your intention for each. Begin and end the day with a walk in your neighborhood and signal to your body and mind that it’s time to transition. You’ll wind up and wind down much more easily than if you’re sitting in a chair.
Change your clothes:
I know, I know – one of the perks of working from home is being able to wear your pajamas. As nice as it is to wear a pair of soft pants vs. a pair of non-soft pants, it’s likely to mess with your head in the long run. People need rituals, and when we change from our home clothes to our work clothes, we’re telling ourselves what time it is – so make sure you get dressed before you clock in. Plus, you won’t accidentally stand up during a Zoom call and show off your Avengers underoos.
Take lunch not at your desk:
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to sit at your desk all day – especially if your snacks are nearby. However, we all know by now that staring at our screens for extended periods of time is not good for us. Plus, we’re not meant to be sedentary creatures, so this is a great time to make sure you’re getting up and getting out. 1UP: Schedule lunch with a friend or mentor at least once per week, so you’re getting some social time in too.
Okay, so if you know me, you know I’m not exactly the authority on exercise, but it’s important to keep your exercise habits in place, whatever they are. Personally, I practice yoga [LINK: https://pressstartleadership.com/stepping-onto-the-mat/] regularly, but do whatever it is that makes you feel good. If you’re a runner, run. If you’re a tennis player, play. Chances are you’re getting less exercise if you no longer have a commute or an office. Your body needs the extra attention.
Have a distinct working spot:
This is an important one, and the philosophy extends far beyond just your office space. Not only should you dedicate a spot in your home purely for work, but you should also make sure each of your rooms has a purpose. E.g., the bedroom is for sleeping and other fun things, so don’t put your work desk in there. Designate spots for all of your activities, even if it’s just a pillow on the floor. I have a separate space for everything, even meditation.
Make a Worry Tree:
There’s a story called The Worry Tree, which is about the importance of letting go of negativity. The man in the story has a ritual where he leaves his stressful work experiences from the day with a tree before entering his home so that they don’t accompany him inside with his family. Consider this ritual for yourself. If you’re working from home, try keeping a plant in your office and tying your worries to it before you exit for the day.
Set working from home boundaries so it doesn’t feel like you’re working 24/7. Let’s be honest – we’re already working enough, so don’t it for free. It’s easy to say we’ll split our time and mental energy, but it’s actually difficult to create and retain boundaries. Be kind to yourself, work on building up these new habits, and you too can walk through your door unburdened.
Do you have any tips for maintaining work-from-home boundaries? Please share them in the comments section below! Want some accountability as you’re learning these new habits? Contact me about one-on-one coaching today!