5 Ways to Keep Work and Home Separate While Working Remotely
When you’re working remotely from home, the fine line between work and home can easily become blurred.
How easy is it to get some extra work done when you’re computer is right there?
It’s very easy but it can also throw off your work-life balance and create stress in your life. To avoid stress and burnout, here are five ways to keep work and home separate while working from home:
1. Create a Work Schedule
Working from home often means having a flexible schedule but it’s important that you do not overschedule yourself and take on extra tasks beyond work hours.
Designate working and personal hours and stick to them. This doesn’t mean you have to work during normal business hours but you should be limiting your work to the length of a normal workday.
While creating your work schedule, be sure to include breaks. When you’re working from home it can be easy to get into the zone and forget to eat! Block out your breaks, especially a lunch break, and make sure you get up and move around throughout the day.
2. Communicate Your Work Hours
When people know that you work from home it seems to be an automatic invitation to contact you and disrupt your day. In order to keep work and home separate while working remotely, you need to establish boundaries with friends, family members, and even co-workers.
Increasing communication is always a good thing, so make sure the people in your life know when you will be working and when you will be available.
Setting these boundaries doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in your home office and tell people off when they want to talk to you. Establishing boundaries is all about establishing respect and this starts with communicating your work hours to the people in your life.
If you work on a remote team, make sure everyone understands when you are available during the workday. You can use Skype chat or tools such as Trello to provide updates and ask questions – with the understanding that you will get to them when you can.
3. Have a Morning Routine
No one wants to roll out of bed and straight to work first thing in the morning. Starting work earlier than you’re expected to will quickly form a habit and lead to overworking, exhaustion, and burnout.
Plus, having a morning routine helps you get into a working frame of mind and help increase your focus and productivity! Each morning, take the time to get ready and establish a morning routine such as getting a shower, getting dressed, and having your coffee.
You can even get into a working mind frame by actually leaving your house to emulate a sort of “commute” to work. Go out to get your coffee, go for a walk, or simply go for a drive.
When you do finally sit down to work, give yourself about 15-20 minutes to ease into your workday – just as you would if you worked in an office. Check your emails, message a co-worker, or take this time to enjoy your coffee.
4. Set Up a Space Just for Work
The idea of working in bed while still wearing pajamas seems amazing – but only in theory! When you allow yourself to work in your normal living spaces it becomes increasingly difficult to keep work and home separate.
For instance, if you do work from bed, you may find it hard to shut your brain off at night when it’s time to sleep. If you work at your dining table, you may find yourself eating all day.
Take time to set up a space just for work such as a home office or place a desk only for work in the corner of a room.
When you signify a special section of your home for work, it helps to create a balance and improve your focus and productivity.
5. Avoid Distractions
As much as you don’t want work to interfere with your home life, you don’t want your home life to affect your productivity at work.
Dirty dishes? A heap of laundry? These can easily distract you from your work and tempt you to get things done at home when you should be getting things done at work.
Likewise, while having little to no supervision when working remotely, it can be tempting to check your social media during the day. Put your phone aside so that you can still answer calls if necessary but it’s not convenient to grab it and browse Facebook.
Don’t Forget to Make Time For Yourself
As you find ways to keep work and home separate while working remotely, it’s important to set boundaries in your personal life as well.
You are not your job. As the saying goes: “You are a human being, not a human doing.”
Make sure you find time in your day to connect with your family and pursue your hobbies and interests. Avoid the temptation to “get work done” beyond your work schedule!