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Tips for setting boundaries when working from home

Posted by Katie Tastrom on Jul 30, 2016 8:00:00 AM

It can be great to work from home, but it can also be challenging. There are many things that you have to consider when working from home that you don’t have to plan for when you are working in an office.  The hardest part can be setting boundaries between work time and home time. These tips can help to make sure that you are just as successful working from home as you are in the office.

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  • Choose a dedicated workspace and always work from there. It is easy to make your whole house your “office” when you are working from home. However, one of the biggest challenges of working from home is having the dividing line between “work” time and “home” time. Having a dedicated workspace can help to make this boundary clear. It can also be helpful come tax time when you may be able to deduct the cost of your home office. Talk to your accountant or tax preparer for specifics.
  • Schedule your work time. Similar to having a dedicated workspace, you also need to have a dedicated work time. This works best if you can schedule specific times or hours to work. However, one of the reasons that many of us work from home is so that we can have the flexibility in our schedules. If something comes up and you can’t make your dedicated work time that day, just make sure to schedule those missed hours elsewhere. You are essentially making your own flextime. For example, if you have scheduled yourself for 3pm-6pm to work at home, but an unexpected appointment interferes, make sure to reschedule those three hours so they don’t get lost in the shuffle. Whether that is 9pm-12am or 6am-9am the next morning is based on whatever works best for you. It is important to make sure you get your time in, and just as important to make sure you have your time off.
  • Know yourself. When it comes to working from home there are often two kinds of people: people who spend too much time working, and people who spend too much time not working. It is important to know which one of these types you are and to make sure that you police yourself accordingly.
  • “Close” and “open” your office. Wherever your dedicated workspace is, make sure you have a way to indicate to the other people in your house that you are “at work” and that you should not be bothered unless it is an emergency. You should also have a way to “close” your office by turning off the computer or another way to make it clear to yourself and others that it is not work time. It can be tempting to log on to send a quick email message, and next thing you know instead of spending time with your family you have spent a couple of hours working.

 

Learning how to create and enforce work and life boundaries is extremely important when working from home. While working from home can give you more flexibility during the day, it can be tempting to work while you shouldn’t be or vice versa. Hopefully these tips will help you to be more present with whatever you are doing, whether it is working or playing.

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Topics: Working from Home, Time Management

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