RWL190: Setting Boundaries While Working Remotely and Working from Home

Ever struggled with the encroaching demands of home life while trying to hit professional targets from your kitchen table? I know I have.  Join me, Alex, your guide through the Remote Work Life, as I lay bare my own challenges and triumphs in crafting a work-from-home lifestyle that respects the boundaries between personal and professional spheres. 
Whether you’re a work-from-home novice or a seasoned pro, there’s something in this episode for you to make those blurred lines a thing of the past.


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Speaker 1:

Hey, it's Alex from Remote Work Life and the Remote Work Life podcast. Thank you for joining me today. On today's tip of the day, I want to talk about setting boundaries with remote work, especially when you're working from home. This is something that I really struggled with to begin with, when I first started to work from home. What I wanted to do is just really share just my personal experience and give you some tips, some, I guess, actionable, hopefully insights that can help you to create more of a balanced productive environment when you're working from home. When I first started working from home, it was a real struggle for me because I just started working from home and that was it. I didn't really think about setting boundaries between my work life and my personal life. I didn't really think about it because I've been so ingrained into the in-office environment, in-office setup, where there are defined boundaries, you leave your in-office role and you go home and then that's a natural boundary that doesn't necessarily exist when you're working from home, because if you're working from home, you leave your desk but you're still at home. That was something that had been ingrained with me over years and I didn't really think about it when I first started working from home. The other thing is I have children, so I guess I just again fell into the whole idea of I'm at home now I'm going to work, didn't necessarily think about how I would go about that with my children being in the background. That meant I struggled to maintain focus. It wasn't again until I started to have open conversations with my family about the importance of the boundaries, the importance of me having a dedicated workspace and time that was uninterrupted, that I began to experience the real benefits of working from home. Because you have to be again this is a word I use often is you have to be intentional and be specific and deliberate about how you set yourself up when you're working from home. Here are a few things that I learned that I hope you can implement, I guess, into your patterns if you are struggling at the moment. Just a few things that I've learned I want to pass on to you. So let me know what you think. The first thing is having open communication, so having an open conversation with my household about the hours that I work and the importance of having uninterrupted time, often with children. You have to have repeat conversations, but conversations nonetheless, so to make them understand the importance of having uninterrupted work time at specific periods of the day. That's something that you really must do. Do it with your spouse, do it with your partner, your wife, whoever it may be, who you live with, so that they understand what's going on and then they can communicate that to people who may just be visiting the house, for example. So that's number one. Number two is again I've said this multiple times, I'll say again having a designated workspace. That might be a dedicated office space, but if you don't have the space without having a specific area, that is your workspace and that basically signals work mode for you. That's what it did with me, that's what it does with me. This can help the household as well to understand when you're there, that means you need to focus and that you're at work. That's number two. So setting number three is setting clear expectations. So again, it's about communication communicating your work hours, your specific work hours and when you're available, not just with your team but again with people in your family. And again, I've said this before, say it again the transparency helps to manage expectations and reduces that interruption. You are going to get interrupted there's no doubt about that, I'm sure, whether that be by the postman, whoever it may be, your children coming home from school, whatever it may be, but you must set those clear expectations. Break times that's on the forum I list, not necessarily in any particular order, but communicating your break times with your household members to encourage interaction. So this all sounds very scripted and very sort of deliberate. It has to be sometimes like, for example, me and my wife we would have breaks at the same time so that we could both go on a walk at the same time and have our lunch together at the same time, and again, it just helps us align our schedules. We would both finish work at the same time, for example, if we possibly could not always the case, but that's what we would always aim to do. So that's number four and number five. As much as this all sounds quite rigid, quite specific, quite deliberate, flexibility and compromise has to be part of this whole idea of setting boundaries. So be open to flexibility and compromise. It's important to set boundaries, but it's also essential to be understanding of the needs of the household and members of your team and find a balance that works for you but also something that works for other people as well, the people especially that you're working with and by setting boundaries with work and other people in your household, you can experience increased productivity. That's what I've experienced. You can experience better well-being mental well-being, physical well-being. So there's lots of good knock-on effects, and it's essential that you treat remote work keep saying this as well treat remote work with the same level of professionalism as you would with your traditional office environment, if that's something that you've done before as well. So thank you for joining me today. If you want to reach out, please do so. I've left a link to my LinkedIn in the show notes. That's the place where I normally hang out, so you can connect with me there, by all means, and enjoy the rest of your day.

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