Setting Boundaries When Home Is Your Workplace
Working from home is an ideal situation for many, but it does present some unique challenges. Establishing some work-from-home rules for yourself and your family will help keep the necessary separation between your professional and your personal life.
Create a separate space
Whether it's an entire room for an office or simply a desk area tucked under the stairs, you need to establish your designated work area. It's hard for you — and your family — to know where work ends and home begins if you don't have a specific office area. Divide a more open space with a screen to visually show the office boundry. It's important, too, to set regular hours when you will be working in your office so the family becomes familiar with the times you are not to be disturbed. One of the great luxuries of working from home is the ability to set your own schedule and to be able to work hours that will least interfere with family life. This could be later in the evening, early in the morning or during the hours when the kids are in school. Don't let household chores distract you from putting in the necessary time for your work. It's great to have flexibility in your schedule, but keep up with your work!
Set boundries for yourself
One of the greatest temptations of working from home is having your work schedule overlap your family time. If you find yourself sitting at your desk way past "closing" time, take another look at your schedule and make some adjustments. Running back to make a few extra phone calls in the evening can eventually wear you out and may cause resentment from your family, so you need to be strict with yourself. It's up to you to maintain the right amount of separation between your home life and your work life.
Be firm with friends and neighbours who may take up big slices of your work day simply because you are at home and assumed to be available for coffee chats, phone calls, errands and even free services. You should explain gently that you are working and on a deadline. Don't take more time-outs from your home office than you would be comfortable with if you were working in a traditional corporate office setting. Time spent chatting on the phone or visiting with a neighbour will drain away your work hours and leave you behind schedule and feeling frustrated. It's best to establish the rules immediately so that nobody is tempted to take advantage of your flexible schedule.
Working from home can be the best of both worlds — no long commute, no balancing being a new mum while trying to continue in your chosen profession and even being able to work in your pyjamas! The important factor in making it work smoothly is establishing some rules to keep both parts of your life in good balance!