Working from home makes it difficult to separate your work time from your down time. Research found that unclear professional boundaries often lead to frustration and stress.
This is because a lack of boundaries lead to:
- Not ending the workday on time.
- Never feeling you can fully switch off.
- An unhealthy merging of work and personal life.
- Feelings of guilt when you don’t immediately respond to calls, texts, and emails.
For the sake of your emotional and professional well-being, it’s necessary to establish healthy boundaries that make remote work less stressful and more productive.
Here’s three tricks to master healthy personal and professional boundaries.
Setting Physical Boundaries For Yourself
You might think that the purpose of setting boundaries is to communicate what you require to other people. However, you must first apply boundaries to yourself. Healthy boundaries start at home.
One way to master personal boundaries is setting up your workspace in a separate room. Creating a dedicated workspace enables your mind to switch between your personal and professional time, due to the physical separation of areas. Even not eating at your work desk can help give you 30 minutes to switch off and return refreshed.
A separate workspace introduces structure into your working from home routine. Make sure that the room you create your workspace in is quiet, clean, and free of distractions.
Another example of setting personal boundaries is clocking in and off at a regular time. Maintaining preplanned working hours helps your brain to know when to switch on and off. It prevents your personal and professional lives from bleeding together – giving you space to destress.
Setting Boundaries At Home
If you share your home with other people, set boundaries from the get-go so they know what you need while working. Politely but firmly make it clear that you need a quiet environment that’s distraction free.
According to a Statista, 47% of workers find that managing at-home distractions is remote workings biggest challenge.
To minimize these distractions, you can set boundaries such as:
- Asking your partner not to enter your workspace during office hours.
- Telling your friends and family members to call or visit you outside of office hours.
- Requesting your housemates to keep music or any noisy activity low until your workday is complete.
Setting Professional Boundaries
Healthy boundaries involve clear if>then implications. An if>then implication involves setting a boundary that if it’s violated then there’s a consequence. This can be as simple as if you email me after 5:30 p.m. then I will reply the next day. This helps people know what to expect from you and how to best interact with you.
For, instance, if you’re have your own tight deadline, but a co-worker constantly asks for assistance, tell them if they need help then they have to give you more notice.
Establishing boundaries is a great way to ensure that you can take care of yourself while enjoying healthy relationships with everyone around you. But for boundaries to be effective they have to be explicit.
You can start building healthy boundaries right now by creating a ‘user’s manual’ for using you. This is simply a list of all how you ideally like to work and communicate, what you need, and a list of your if>then boundaries. This gives you clarity over your own boundaries and you can even share it with your co-workers.