BOUNDARIES When Working from Home
Switch the morning alarm off…, first sip of water for the day…, bathroom routine…, teeth brushed…, morning
Pilates…, shower…, clothes ironed…, breakfast made…, grab keys, wallet, handbag, sunnys…, out the door…, get in the car and drive off onto the ever familiar route on auto-pilot………….. Not anymore!!
Within the past month or so, the familiar instruction of “work from home” rings true to many around the world. And many of us have already been doing so for a while.
Whether you are remotely logging in to work to keep earning your wages, or having to log in and sit for uni lectures hoping one day to land that job that will give wings to your dream career, you can call it working from home!
If it was any other time, this requirement would have come as a luxurious option. However, to many, it does not feel like so since it has come as a regulation and in a rush, leaving little time to prepare and adjust.
It is in this adjustment that we need to Take Care, Be Smart and Apply Boundaries so that we don’t end up disliking our job and end up losing the plot at home!
The importance of having a good work-life balance has always existed as an ambitious desire, and many have succeeded and have applied good practical boundaries to implement it.
Good boundaries are not only necessary for healthy distancing between work and personal life, but it also have always been a crucial factor to producing good Emotional and Mental Health.
Most of us have other roles that we play, and many of them originate at home. i.e. being a parent, a grandparent, an in-law, a spouse, a child, a sibling, a housemate, a fur-baby owner, etc.
Even if we didn’t have anyone at home to share our space and time with, we have an attachment to what our personal space is at home, and that too is a precious relationship that we most likely are not ready to share in a hurry.
Whether having many relationships or having none, home is the ‘world’ we have created for ourselves to Re-Generate, Rejuvenate, Relax and Rest, and the space we get to be ourselves most of the time.
Work is one of the major pieces of the ‘Pie-Chart of Life’, and most of the time, it is very different to every other role we play.
So, before the roles become blurred and the lines get crossed, we need to sit and take stock of where our boundaries lie when it comes to bringing this major ‘piece of pie’ home!
5 MOST IMPORTANT BOUNDARIES TO APPLY:
Boundary #1 – COMMUNICATION
No one in our lives knows that something is important to us if we do not communicate that with the people that matter to us.
Similarly, Communicating our Boundaries when it comes to working from home is key no.1
Whoever we share our home space with, young or old, closely related or distantly affiliated, we need to inform them that we have brought our work home and therefore our day is going to look very different than usual.
Clearly communicating that you no longer will be driving off to do your job, but will be doing so from a designated place, within a designated time at home will give our loved ones the clarity both we and they deserve.
Even if we don’t share our home space with anyone, while allocating a work area and scheduling our calendar accordingly, clears out the potential blurriness.
Communicating that things to do with work becomes a ‘no-go’ area, receives the respect from them, and equally is expected of us to reciprocate by not taking work outside of those parameters.
Boundary #2 – SPACE
Sticking to the cleared out designated work area is very important.
Just as we emphasise the distinction between work and home by leaving home every time and returning home after, the work space we have created too will bring that sense of separation to ourselves as well as to everyone else at home.
Setting up our laptop alone is not enough when creating our work space.
Setting up the desk with all other necessary stationery along with accessories such as a table clock, small potted plant, a special coffee mug etc. recreates the illusion of your office space at home.
Such personalising will also be very inviting for us to eagerly get started.
Preparing an ergonomically comfortable chair too will provide the motivation that we need to continue working productively.
These visual objects will also create the effect of our professional world to everyone else that shares the same venue.
Boundary #3 – DRESS CODE
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Dress for Success’. It’s a matter of bringing this to reality.
Dressing ourselves with moderate work attire gives us a placebo effect of being productive in a professional environment but at home.
It also signifies to us as well as to everyone else that we’re on a mission which demands our undivided attention as well as our efficiency, and therefore cannot be disturbed.
Also, preparations such as ironing our clothes the night before or that morning too give us a sense of preparedness for the upcoming task at hand.
This will also help us to orientate our minds towards feeling sharp and remaining sharp, giving us the positive effect of having our ‘work-hat’ on.
Once the day of work comes to an end, changing into comfortable clothing will bring a sense of satisfaction of the day’s productivity, and create the excitement of a well-deserved relaxed afternoon of leisure with others or by oneself.
Boundary #4 – TIME
Sticking to time is ALWAYS important in all things.
If our employer expects us to be active within a particular start and finish time, honestly keeping to it not only satisfies them, but in return brings a level of personal satisfaction enhancing our self-worth and significance, while continuously ensuring the security of our job.
If our work hours are flexible, then keeping tabs of time ourselves brings a major sense of satisfaction which creates self-pride and a sense of self validation that will reward us not only practically, but emotionally and mentally too.
We know the phrases “time tends to run away from us”, “time is money”, “time is a mystery”, etc.
If we clearly set a boundary around time and communicate to those whom we share our home-office space with, the lack of it won’t end up creating mystery, we will have more control and not let it run away, and we definitely won’t lose money over it.
Keeping to time is a lifestyle of discipline.
Boundary #5 – BREAKS
Equally, it takes discipline to create and stick to our breaks.
Sometimes we tend to treat breaks as an escape from work, but it doesn’t have to be.
If used wisely, breaks can bring refreshment and productivity all at once. We have to ensure that we take a break at our breaks.
My theory is that we need to use our breaks to rejuvenate the 5 senses we are created with.
At our break:
Leaving the four walls that we sit at and go outside where we get to see something different, beautiful or green (sight);
Then filling our lungs with fresh air or the smell of grass, the flowers or the rain (smell);
While enjoying our lunch or a snack renewing our taste buds (taste);
While sitting or standing while allowing ourselves to feel the sun, the breeze or the drizzle on our skin (touch);
And listening to the wind, cars go by, or chatter of people passing by, or birds chirping (hearing),….
…..Will bring exhilaration and reboot us to go back into work and complete the latter half of the day productively.
In conclusion, the enjoyment of what has become the new norm falls on our hands.
Boundaries don’t just fall into place, they require application, repetition and consistency.
We can be too task oriented and not enjoy having to work from home, or take things too lightly and produce work that lacks quality.
But boundaries can ensure that we hit the sweet spot of perfect medium and do the best with what we are privileged and blessed to have.
Planning, applying an executing well will guarantee this necessary ‘piece of pie’ that we’ve now brought home, to be a tasty, healthy and an enjoyable one.
So, let’s get working with Boundaries!
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