It can be really hard to create healthy boundaries when you work remotely. When you work in an office, you can clock out and leave for the day. But when you work from home, you can never really fully escape your workplace.
The good news is, with a handful of tips, you’ll be able to create boundaries that won’t just keep you happy (and sane!)—they’ll also ensure you’re putting your best foot forward at work every day due to having the much-needed time off your brain needs to thrive. Here’s exactly how to go about it the next time your work life and real life starts to blur.
1. Set Up a Separate Workspace
Not everyone has an extra bedroom they can turn into an office. Luckily, you can still create some boundaries by setting up a desk (even a small one!) in a corner of a room, the end of a hallway… really anywhere you have a little extra space. Doing so will set instant space boundaries: When you’re at your desk, you’re working. When you’re not, you’re off the clock.
2. Don’t Work on Your Days Off
It doesn’t matter whether you spend your days off at home or far away on a beach. When you’re off the clock, it’s crucial to stay off the clock. In order to create healthy boundaries between you and your boss and coworkers, you need to commit to not checking your email, popping onto work calls, or doing anything work-related when you’re on vacation. And the earlier you establish those boundaries, the better.
3. Set Your Hours
Setting your hours—and sticking with them!—is important for a couple different reasons. First, it creates boundaries at work so you’re not left emailing and messaging your boss and coworkers at all hours of the night. Second, it’s crucial in getting your work done at home. If you make your hours clear to your significant other or roommate, they’ll know not to disturb you when you’re working, allowing you to stay productive.
4. Avoid Being a “Yes Person”
When you work remotely, the people in your life tend to think you have all the time in the world to answer their calls all day (hey, mom!), run errands, and do laundry. In reality, even though your set-up is more flexible than a typical office job, you’re still incredibly busy. Make that known by not always being a “yes person”—aka answering every call and constantly doing favors during work hours for the people in your life.
5. Keep Your Commute
Okay, okay—when you work from home, you get to avoid sitting in morning rush-hour traffic. But it may be beneficial to act like you’re still doing that daily drive. Instead of starting to work early just because you’re home, take that time you used to commute and use it to do something you love. Read, listen to a podcast, make yourself coffee—whatever makes you happy.