Now that remote work is becoming more and more popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those who work from home need to guard themselves against burnouts. Though work-from-home arrangements may seem ideal and fun, one of the main challenges this brings is the employee’s tendency to not stop working. By that, we mean not having boundaries between their work and personal life.
Why do you need to create work-life-home-life boundaries?
A lot of people see boundaries as something negative, something that restricts them. In truth, boundaries liberate us. For instance, a gate and a fence protect a child from thoughtlessly wandering into a busy street. If a child stays within the property, he or she can do almost anything he or she wants while staying safe from harm.
Similarly, we need to place boundaries when it comes to our work. They prevent us from being burned out, it gives us time to relax and unwind, and most importantly, it allows us to be more involved in our loved ones’ lives.
How do you stop working when you’re a fulltime remote worker?
Have a dedicated workstation.
An actual physical dedicated workstation set-up helps create boundaries in your home. It conditions your mind that when you are in that place, it’s all about business and work.
Of course, your home office will depend on the type of work you do and the equipment involved. For instance, if you’re running a printing business complete with HP latex printers, you will need a bigger home office to get the job done. Nevertheless, you still need to create a space within your home that’s solely dedicated to working.
Set parallel working schedules with the rest of your family.
One of the best things about remote work is it lets you spend more time with your loved ones. However, you won’t enjoy this benefit if your schedules don’t match. Syncing your schedules will allow all of you to stay productive and still enjoy your time together as a family.
Put on some work clothes.
This may not be as impactful, but you’re conditioning your mind to look forward to getting out of your work clothes and into more comfortable home wear at the end of your shift. You don’t need to put on a suit or makeup. You can probably put on a pair of jeans and sweatshirts or a decent button-down shirt for your online meetings as long as these are not the ones you go to sleep in.
Pack your stuff up at once you’re done with your shift.
End your day by putting your work stuff away just as you would when you’re still working at the office. Pack your laptop and computer paraphernalia in a bag and set it aside. Clean up your desk and file all documents and papers properly. Never leave your workstation cluttered and busy.
Take your breaks, days off, and shift-ends seriously.
One of the misconceptions most people have about working from home is that you can take your time with your job. After all, you can work anytime you want to. However, those who have that mindset find it hard to be productive because the struggle to sleep in for a few more minutes or watch a Netflix special first before getting work done is very real.
People think that working a straight six-hour shift will give them more time to do what they want. The downside to this is stress and exhaustion will keep you from doing at your best. Instead, you should follow a schedule and guard your breaks and time-offs with your life. It will not only reenergize you, making you at your best form every time, but it also gives you more time to stop and smell the flowers and not let life pass you by.
Set a screen-free time and commit to it.
Since most remote work has to do with being in front of a computer, set aside regular time to disconnect from the virtual world and reconnect with things in real life. Similar to guarding your breaks, you need to build the habit of unplugging at the end of each workday. This lets you give your full focus and attention to other important matters in life, such as time for your family and yourself.
Close your office door.
At the end of each working day, go out of your office and close the door. Do your best to not enter the room until the next working day. The temptation to get one small thing done can lead to hours seated in front of your screen doing a series of small things. This robs you of the time that could have been spent on other life-giving pursuits. Doing this habitually will eventually rob you of the joys of work.
We hope that you found these tips helpful. If you’ve already built some bad habits doing remote work, it’s never too late to turn things around. You just need to be intentional about it. Commit to it and see how it changes you and the quality of your life.