Setting boundaries when working at home

By - Madison
07.16.2020 09:30 AM

Written by Erin Stalcup for World Education

If you’re like me, these last few months (or more) have been a whole new ballgame and a real challenge to tackle. The majority of us are not used to working from home, let alone working from home while our spouse and kids are there (and needing to be homeschooled). Some of us are even completing career training programs! It can be very hard to separate your work life from your home life when working from home is not part of your everyday routine. Your days start to blur together, we get lazy on the rules we set up in the beginning, and pretty soon the kids are eating Cheetos while jumping on the couch during your staff meetings which are happening right next to said cheese-dusted jumping monkeys.


So, if you are like me or if you don’t want to end up like me, here are some helpful tips on separating your work and home life while working from home:


Office space: If you have the space or ability in your home to have a separate work space, do it. This is the best way to physically separate ‘work’ from ‘home’ even while at home. Rules can be made for no entry during certain times, quiet times for kids when indicated on your door, or other rules that would be applicable for your job.   

Cute Home Office Look
    • If you don’t have a separate room, try different spaces around your home and see if one works better than the other. A corner in the living room that no one uses, that spot at the dining room table that’s usually covered in junk mail, or the kitchen counter where you used to make meals but now just usually holds pizza boxes. 
    • Alternative idea: Keep your family separate from you! Send them outside, go play in their rooms, go clean something! Anything to get them out of your workspace for any period of time.

Set Boundaries: As touched on above, set rules for your kids and spouse at home for when you are working. Whether its set hours to not be bothered, color coded door hangers that indicate when they can come in or need to leave you be, or other appropriate rules for your house, setting these boundaries are important not only for your but so your family understands that just because you are home does not mean you are available.

When your office door is open, that means it's okay for people to come in 

Take your breaks and lunches: This seems like a no-brainer but when you are working from home you can easily work through those few precious breaks you get and that hour-long lunch that is supposed to be ‘you’ time. For the love of your sanity - take your breaks! Get up from your desk, walk around, rest your eyes, go outside and get fresh air - anything that gives a break from work AND home. Try you best not to use those breaks for chores unless necessary because that really defeats the ‘break’ part of taking a break.

Homemade Lunch

  • This also holds true for stopping your work at quitting time. Don’t work over just because you don’t have that commute home. Clock out and switch to home mode. If it could wait until tomorrow when working in the office, it can wait until tomorrow from home also.
  • Speaking of breaks, if you take a day off - TAKE A DAY OFF. No sneaking on your computer to check emails. Leave that ‘at the office’. Better yet, do something outside of your home for a change of scenery.

Self-care: This one is important. There are ways to promote self-care while working from home even if everything is a hot mess.

Drinking water is so important

  • Get dressed. Yeah, staying in your PJs for work is nice, but it gets old and, quite frankly, depressing after the first month. Even if you’re changing into your nice yoga pants - it’s still not the sweats with the giant hole in it (which is totally fine because you just sleep in them anyway and no one sees that - no one is judging here!). Get dressed, maybe brush your hair - you’d be surprised at that little bit of pep it gives you when you feel you’ve ‘gotten ready’ for the day even if it’s to go to another room.
  • Drink water and move a little. Stay hydrated! It’s important at work, it’s important at home, but for some reason when you’re working from home it seems to fall by the wayside… well guess what? It’s still important! Drink fluids. Eat healthy snacks. Go for walks, stretch - any movement is better than none.