Aug 29

Boundaries at Work All Remote Employers Should Set

The majority of our days are at work.  With the amount of time spent in an office, it is not impossible that work would seep into our personal lives.  Finding ourselves waiting for a phone call from our superior even while on leave. So, to prevent our work from taking over our entire life and to allow us to do the things we love, it is important to set a boundary between our work and our personal life.

Setting boundaries may perhaps be a challenge for some.  However, this can easily be done when you work in a physical office. Why? Simple. Because the building or room you work in is completely separate from the environment you relax in.  That relaxed environment is what we call –“home”. Your home does not consist of the cubicles you would normally find in an office building, along with any other furnishings associated with an office.  

On the other hand, what if this office you go to does not have any cubicles nor furnishings? Or… What if you work at home? How do you keep your work from oozing into your personal life when the building you call home is the same as the building you report to when you work?  Here, we will point out the crucial boundaries to set between work and personal life when you work remotely.

Dedicate a Workspace

Working from home can increase the difficulty of setting up a work-life boundary.  You could work from anywhere in your house where you feel the most comfortable and convenient. This, however, also brings with it the challenges of file storage.  Particularly, files that you cannot dispose of. This is a regular problem with this kind of working environment. The mess generated by these files where you simply lay the papers wherever you want. Having it easy to distinguish not only the scratch papers used for shopping lists, drawings, etc. but also to set certain files apart from the others.

Now, this leads to the importance of dedicating a room in your house strictly for work.  Having a dedicated room to provide easy storage set up for office supplies and the document filing eases the stress of tracking files to ensure that you can easily tell one from the other.  Dedicating a room in your house is also the easiest way to set a disconnection between your work and your home. Having a particular room where you don’t allow yourself to visit while on the weekends (or on whatever days your weekends consist of in your flexible schedule) and a room where you don’t allow your children or guests on working days.

Set Your Hours

The flexible schedule brought of working remotely often entertains the idea of “I’m not doing anything later, so I might as well work on a project due for later this month.” even if ‘later’ is long after your work hours.

Doing things like this might be necessary sometimes.  But the keyword here is: ‘Sometimes’. Having a flexible schedule is usually based on your peak productivity hours, and finishing work ahead of time is not too uncommon.  Riding this wave can lead you to literally spend the whole day working, running long past your scheduled working hours, and possibly missing an adequate lunch break.

So when you set your working hours, be sure to set aside some time for lunch breaks.  And when it is time to log off, stick to it. Spending the entire day at work is not always necessary, so take a break and clock out on time.

Take Your Days Off Seriously

When working remotely, weekends don’t necessarily have to consist of Saturdays and Sundays, but whatever days you have set aside from the workweek. When the time comes to step away from work for a couple of days, do so. Another tempting scenario is “doing one quick task” over the weekend and the next thing you know, you’ve consumed your whole weekend working.

If you find that two days away from work is quite extravagant in a work-from-home setup, it is highly suggested that you set aside at least one day where you are completely unplugged from all work-related tasks. Don’t walk by your office space and don’t check in on work. Simply relax. Doing so can greatly contribute to your productivity levels and mental health. Thus, this leads to coming back to work with your mind and body refreshed.  Not to mention that the people around you like friends, family, or other loved ones will appreciate the time you spend with them. Not merely fretting about work or deadlines.

When working from home, balancing your personal life and your work life is more challenging than normal.  But it is equally important as when you work in an office. Working from home definitely brings its benefits, like a flexible work schedule, avoidance of everyday commute (going back and forth to the office and home), and the comfort that only a home can bring.  This raises the importance of leaving work in the work space and not letting it bleed over into your personal life.

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