How to Manage the Boundaries When You’re Working from Home
28 January 2021

Time management – employee productivity - combatting stress

One of those facts of lockdown life is that we are expected to work from home (WFH) if we can. Responses to WFH vary enormously. Some people love it, some find it hard to get started of a morning, others find it hard to stop and allow the work to flow into their personal time. Here some tips to help those who are finding it hard to stop to leave work at the door at the end of the day.

Define your working space

If you are able to do so, create an area that’s just for work. If having one set place for work doesn’t fit with your set up at home, try having one or two spaces where you do not work. That way, when it all gets too much, at least you’ll have somewhere to escape to that is not associated with work.

Create a beginning of the working day routine

The point behind this is to switch your brain into “work” time so try to carry out your starting routine in the saw way each day.

Maybe it’s putting your power Zoom meeting top on, stacking the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, getting a cup of coffee, and then sitting down at your computer, whatever works for you.

Identify the day’s priorities

There’s always going to be more to do, and there’s always that one last thing- tying things up isn’t about getting everything done. What’s important is that you tie up the biggest priorities and get the things that are most likely to keep you awake at night, completed. This way, no matter how many other things are still on your to-do list, you’ll feel a lot less stressed and better able to switch off.

Cancel unwanted communication

While you want to focus on the job, reduce your personal communication. For example, you could group together answering non-urgent personal messaging to a few times during your working day. Once the working day ends, avoid work emails, and only answer work messages in the evening if they are absolutely necessary.

Closing down for the day

Start your end of day routine at least 30 minutes before you need to end work. It could include doing a final check to make sure that all essential emails have had a response, reviewing your task list to know that you have completed what’s essential, and writing the plan for the next working day.

That includes knowing the time of your meetings, deciding what projects you will work on, and being clear on when you will do tasks like answering email.

What are your boundaries?

We all do things which get in the way of what we want to achieve, so create some rules to protect yourself from yourself. Whatever you decide, the most important thing is that you’re comfortable with it and stick to it. Some examples might include:

  • I don’t work later than 5pm/ 6pm / 7pm- unless of a specific extenuating circumstance
  • I always stop and have dinner with my family
  • I stop and have a workout at Xpm every day
  • I never do work in bed- this includes checking emails on my phone
  • I will not check emails after Xpm.

The exact times are not important. What matters is that you set some boundaries for the sake of your long-term health. 

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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2023 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.