Balancing your home and work duties can be a challenge for anyone, even more so when your office is in your home. You think, I can take 5 minutes to start a load of laundry or do the dishes. No harm. And yet, not keeping a boundary between your work day and home duties can cost you productivity, focus, and time.
Learn how to set boundaries and reduce distractions whether you’re new to remote working or been doing it for years. Use this working from home guide to balance home/work duties to create harmony at home and work.
Steps to Take by Yourself:
- Follow a schedule. Set a start and end time for your day and be consistent. At the beginning of the day prioritize your projects for the day and do the most important ones first. Doing this every work day helps keep the boundary in place between work and home.
- Create an office. Don’t move your office around the house. Instead create an office for work. It could be a whole room or a corner in your dining room. The important part is everyone knows it is your office. Make it your space to help you stay focused and motivated when you are working.
- Change clothes. It is very tempting to stay in your pajamas and start your work day with the intent of getting dressed later. This creates an interruption to your work day and focus. Hang up your bath robe and get dressed just like if you were going into the office. Even if your commute is to the next room.
- Limit distractions. No watching tv or checking your social media while you are working. Ban leisure activities during business hours except during breaks.
- Take breaks. Speaking of breaks, take them. You’ll be more productive if you refresh your mind and body periodically. Take a 5-minute break every 2 hours. Don’t be tempted to put a load of laundry in when you are taking a break. Use that time to clear your head and get ready for the next task on your list.
- Wind down. Take 5 minutes at the end of your work day to transition into home mindset. Find what works for you to help make that transition successful. Whether it is meditating, or taking a walk use that time to help make that transition is successful.
- Get organized. Create routines and systems that encourage efficiency. Buy a cabinet for your office supplies. Use an online calendar to block out your time. Make your space as much like an office as you can.
- Continue learning. Career development matters whether you work at your dining room table or in a corner office. Take a course online or order a catalog for the adult education program at a local university. Read industry publications and general business news.
- Evaluate your performance. Conduct your own job evaluations. Look for ways to increase quality, save time, and manage stress. Update your strategy as your goals evolve.
Steps to Take with Your Manager and Colleagues:
- Talk with your boss. Make sure you and your boss have negotiated clear expectations and goals. This allows you to have the greatest flexibility for success.
- Post your hours. Make sure your boss and co-workers know which days and hours you are available. Also, create arrangements for how to deal with emergencies.
- Go out for lunch. Going out for lunch occasionally gets you out of the house and helps prevent the possible feeling of isolation. Your midday meal is an opportunity to stay connected while you work at home.
- Remain visible. When your boss and colleagues don’t see you on a regular basis, they may forget about you. If possible, work from the office one day a week or every other week. If going into the office isn’t possible, do as many conference calls as possible via video. They not only hear your voice they get to see your face.
- Build a Support Network. Working from home can be an isolating experience. Building a strong support network helps you stay socially connected. Another option to discuss with your boss is working a day or two a week at a work share space to be around people.
You don’t have to give up work/life balance when you give up your commute. Enjoy more health and happiness by drawing sensible boundaries between your personal and professional activities to remain productive, focused, and maintain balance.
If you would like help setting boundaries between home duties and work, please reach out.