With so many companies transitioning from workplaces to home-spaces, working from home is becoming more and more common. While this transition hasn’t been the smoothest for many of us, it’s posed a new challenge of merging our home lives and work lives. Through this challenge, we’ve discovered that working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. We’ve also discovered that working from home can even be manageable and effective.
It’s all about finding balance.
With so many competing demands from our home lives and work lives, it can be difficult to find balance. It can feel like we’re teetering on a never ending tightrope. That’s why it’s important that we set boundaries between our home lives and work lives. Without boundaries, we encourage more stress in our lives that can lead to fatigue and burnout. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Create a Dedicated Work Space
Having a work space solely for work isn’t always possible when you work from home. Even if you have a home office, these spaces are used for multiple purposes, which blurs the boundary between office work and home work. Choose a place in your home that can act as your dedicated work space. To instill this initiative, you may consider clearing your dedicated work space to eliminate distractions.
There will be days where you may not find inspiration or focus in your dedicated work space. Working from home can feel monotonous, and there’s nothing wrong with needing a change of scene to refresh your inspiration. Consider trying unconventional spaces to change up a stagnant routine such as sitting on your back patio, balcony, or even in your bathtub!
Stick to Office Hours
Another important boundary that you can set is to schedule definitive office hours. Depending on the type of work you do, office hours can vary. While setting office hours is simple, sticking with them isn’t. You may find yourself saying ‘just one more thing” as the clock passes five, and the next thing you know, it’s almost past dinner time. Try your best to step away from your work when your office hours are over. Set your status to away so your colleagues know when you’re working and when you’re done for the day. Setting office hours is crucial for creating and maintaining boundaries between our home and work lives.
Take Regular Breaks
Now that you’re working from home, you don’t have the option of walking around the office periodically to get away from your desk. When working from home, you shouldn’t feel obliged to remain chained to your desk all day. In fact, it isn’t healthy for you to do so. Take regular breaks throughout your work day to break up the sedentary habits that can become habitual when working from home. Walk around the house, use the bathroom, or steep a cup of tea to get away from your desk and screen. Our bodies are made to move, and consistent movement is healthy movement.
Always Do Something for Yourself in the Evening
There are many things we have to do both in our work and home lives, and we can often neglect the things we want to do. Take advantage of the time after work to unwind and do the things you want to do. Lean into your creative passions, hobbies, or exercises you enjoy. Put on a soothing face mask. Take a bath. Lie on a soft woven towel and catch your breath. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good because our mental, emotional, and physical health need it. Be sure to prioritize self-care not just on your weekends but throughout the week too.
Take Your Days Off Seriously
While our work spaces may double as our home offices, it can be easy to get caught up in the office on our days off too. Try to unplug at least one day of your weekend so you can recharge and disconnect from work. Sometimes working on the weekends is necessary, but taking time off to recharge is an important boundary to set as overwork can affect our mental health, productivity levels, and energy levels. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time off for rest and relaxation. You deserve it more than you think.
While working from home might not be an ideal circumstance for some and a blessing for others, it can be managed. Our work lives will take over some days while our home lives will take over on others. Life happens and finding balance between our work lives and home lives is an on-going practice.
It’s helpful to remember that balance is not about having better time management. It’s about having better boundary management. When you find yourself teetering on your tightrope with your work responsibilities in one hand and your home responsibilities in the other, take a breath and know that it’s okay to let go of one to move forward.
Written by Eleni Zaptses
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