Working Where You Relax
How to navigate the contradictions of working from home
Your home is sacred
With working at home at an all-time peak, we felt it apt to put together some guidelines on how to handle it. Key to a healthy work-life balance is a degree of separation between the two. When your work is literally coming home with you, how do you stop things overlapping?
Create physical separation
When your home becomes your office, it can be a challenge to set physical boundaries between workspace and personal space. It’s imperative that you try to achieve this, even if it means getting creative. Some of this will depend on how much space you have available, but there’s always options.
A great way is of course to dedicate an entire room to creating a work environment. If this is a resource that you have, then absolutely use it! For others, this isn’t an option, so it’s important to compartmentalise. Create a section in the room you work in and stick to it. Don’t allow work related materials to spread outside this section. Stick to these boundaries, and don’t break your own rules.
Turn off work devices out of hours
Whilst some jobs demand to be on call 24/7, in most cases, this won’t be necessary. Some of you may already be practising this, but it’s easy to get wrong. Our habitual instinct to check notifications, reply to messages, and open our phones can start to cross over to work devices.
It’s vital that you allow yourself to disconnect. Nobody owns your personal time, so make sure they’re not using it. Once you’re satisfied that your work is done for the day, try to get used to switching work devices off. This also means muting notifications for work accounts! If you’re always contactable, you’re always working.
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Know what you’re entitled to
If you’re no longer in the office, using company equipment, resources, and tech – then you need to be clear on expenses. If you’re employed full-time, this means keeping note of any work-related purchases you’ve had to make, and staying in touch with HR. This ensures that you’re not incurring any avoidable costs, or paying for bills that your work should be covering.
For freelancers, this isn’t quite as simple. It’s rare that a client will owe you any expenses relating to equipment or utilities, unless they make a special request. You should be clear about what tools and software you have at your disposal, so that there aren’t any crossed wires. If you have regular clients that take up a lot of your working hours, it might be worth enquiring about workplace expenses. Remember, you’re able to write off any work related purchases when you’re submitting your tax information.
There’s a time for that
Setting a sensible schedule is another component of creating healthy boundaries. Simply adding an array of work related tasks to a tracking sheet isn’t really enough. Try to define the times of the day that you’d like to reserve for personal time, and plan your work around that. If work takes precedent, then at least make sure you stick within your window on a regular basis.
We all have the odd ‘late one’ from time to time. The goal here is to ensure this is the exception, not the rule. It might be that you’re a night owl who prefers to be productive in the evenings – that’s great! So long as you’re creating clear windows of ‘personal time’ and ‘work time’, and not muddying between them often, you’re on the right track.
Try to enjoy it
There really is a lot to love about working at home. No more time consuming commutes or expensive transport. The ability to work more flexibly and free up some time for what really matters. Spending more time with loved ones. So, as long as you’re able to set healthy boundaries between work and relaxation, embrace it!
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