A year after the COVID-19 pandemic swept into our lives and dramatically changed the way we interact with the world, people have slowly learned to adapt to this new environment and the restrictions that came with it.
Having a work-from-home (WFH) setup isn’t anything new anymore for many employees, and learning how to properly establish boundaries between work and personal at home has been an important part of this new normal.
However, this can be easier said than done. Many have struggled and are still struggling with finding a private space where they can focus and comfortably do their work. Not everyone has the privilege of having a private space at home, especially those living with family members who are also in a WFH setup in smaller spaces or homes. There are ways, though, for those seeking to improve their WFH setup despite these limitations.
Designate a space
The first and one of the most important things you can do is to figure out a designated work space or area. While there are those who can focus on their work in bed or on the couch, it’s not ideal. We’ve been hardwired to recognize these spaces as places where we can relax and unwind. It will be much more difficult to focus on working in bed where you can easily doze off. You’ll be hard-pressed to focus in these spaces, or eventually find it hard to fall asleep once your brain has associated these places with work.
It’s not about finding the perfect private space, but simply a space where you can focus and be comfortable with the least amount of distractions. You don’t even necessarily have to stick to one permanent place. You can change things up depending on the situation at home and work, especially if your family only has one private space at home. This is where setting up boundaries and coordination come in.
Setting and following boundaries
Having clear boundaries is essential, especially now when the lines dividing our work life and personal life are so blurred because we’re at home most of the time. But without establishing clear boundaries among the people at home, it can be very difficult to remain productive.
Be clear and polite when explaining your needs to the members of your household and be understanding of their boundaries in return. Simple rules such as “be conscious of noise when someone is in a conference call” to “avoid interruptions during certain hours of the day” will go a long way. This can be difficult for families with small children, but communicate calmly and set aside specific times of the day to address their needs.
Establish a schedule
Finally, establish a schedule with family members so it’s easier to maintain a routine. Coordination will be easier and this way people can more easily access whatever resource or area they need when they need it.