When you work from home, you are not exempt from workplace stress.
When your work lunch room is also your kitchen, you may face a situation that's especially fluid. It's easy for the lines between professional and personal life to blur. While you've probably had a lot of practice navigating this line. Hybrid and remote workers are not exempt from the stress of the workplace. It requires that you navigate the blurred lines in order to maintain healthy boundaries when you work from home.
We’ve become accustomed to this work-from-home reality. The importance of establishing boundaries can't be overstated.
The mingling of work and home environments has created a new comfort zone - our wardrobes are more cozy. Lunches homemade over grab and go. But this cozy blend can soon transform into an overwhelming mix, where work starts seeping into every corner of your personal time and life into your work time.
According to this GALLUP article by Jim Harter “While exclusively remote and hybrid employees report higher employee engagement, they also report higher stress -- perhaps caused by a less predictable or structured work life.”
This is where the power of boundaries can be a game changer. Allowing you to create clearer lines between your work and personal commitments.
First, ensure your work and personal space are clearly divided, even if they share the same room. Not necessarily a physical partition, but a psychological one that helps signal your brain when it's work time and when it's downtime. A simple symbolic gesture, such as turning on your lamp in your workspace, can signal “I’m at work.”
Next, be firm about your time. The ability to work anytime doesn't mean you should.
💡TIP: realistically monitor your time. How frequently are you pulled away from work? How much time do you spend making up for “lost time”? Is it balanced? Try this for a week. Try it for a week see what the data tells you.
Then, avoid the allure of sneaky intruders like late-night emails or taking on a last-minute field trip driver duty. Maintaining downtime and work time is vital to ensure you're at your best at work and in life.
Lastly, don’t forget to set boundaries with your housemates or family. Your physical presence at home doesn't mean you're constantly available for chores or interruptions. Similarly, ensure your work doesn't infringe on your family or personal time.
As important as setting boundaries is, learning to maintain your boundaries with flexibility is equally important. The work-from-home scenario can toss unexpected challenges your way. Be ready to adapt your boundaries without entirely abandoning them.
Balancing long-term work-from-home situations can be a juggling act, but you can manage it effectively and with less stress when you have clear boundaries in place.
So, here's to setting and maintaining those boundaries, transforming our work-from-home scenario into a harmonious balance of productivity and personal time. Keep going, boundary-setters!
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Check out our Thriving@Work program. Enjoying what you do has a positive spillover effect on the rest of your life.