Work-Life Balance: Implementing Work...

Work-Life Balance: Implementing Work Boundaries in a Remote Setting

by Meghan Brown
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

The world had changed in many ways since 2020 and the pandemic – especially in the working world.  For young people who are now entering the workforce for the first time, you’re joining a working world vastly different than that of your parent’s generation.  Hybrid and remote workplaces abound; some companies that went fully remote in 2020 remain so, while others are beginning to create hybrid office/work-from-home structures that can offer appealing flexibility and convenience.

But remote work has its own challenges, especially when it comes to separating your work life from your home life when both are taking place inside the same house or apartment.  It may be nice to have a 30-second commute to your desk, and the flexibility to shift the hours you work or step away for an errand or appointment.  But the danger here is that your personal time and work time will all blend together, leading to less efficient work and less relaxing life.

This is why setting boundaries is important, especially for young workers who are eager to impress at a new job.  While it’s important to be present and productive in a remote work job, having appropriate boundaries will help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

While there are lots of ways to set boundaries around remote working, two of the broader ways to do this are establishing your work hours and defining your workspace.

Clearly Establish Your Working Hours

One important way to set boundaries while working remotely is to clearly establish your working hours.  Speak with your boss about your schedule and settle on working hours that work for you – and then stick to them.  This means being available and responsive within your established workday, and notifying your boss or teammates if you will be unavailable unexpectedly (such as stepping out for an appointment).

Establishing clear working hours also means resisting the urge to work “after hours” during what should be your personal time.  While emergencies can happen in any job which may require working late once in a while, both you and your coworkers should respect your off-hours and leave any non-emergency work until the next workday.

It can be difficult, especially for young adults new to the workforce, to say “no” when it comes to work tasks, but learning to do so politely and professionally is important to maintaining your boundaries and your work-life balance.

Define Your Workspace

This one can be tricky, especially if you’re living in a small apartment or sharing a house with other people.  When working remotely, it is a good idea to clearly define your workspace within your home, and then keep your work time and work activities there.

While having a separate room with a door that you can use as an office is ideal, not everyone has that option.  Even if you’re a bit strapped for space, try to set up a desk or table as your workspace.  Having a designated workspace makes it easier to separate “work time” from “personal time” by whether you’re sitting at your workspace or not – similar to how in a traditional workplace, when you leave your desk at the end of the day, you’re no longer on “work time.”

This also helps with productivity, as it will be easier to get into a work-mode mindset when you have a specific place to work, and makes it easier for your mind to relax on your off-hours because you’re not sitting at your workspace.

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