Working from home affords a lot of flexibility and often improves quality of life, but it brings into focus the question of work life balance. If you’re always in your “office,” does work ever stop?
One way to ensure that working from home is, in fact, working from home, it’s important to set expectations - and boundaries. You can still be there for friends and family on a more flexible basis while still having time to complete your tasks.
Set office hours and a schedule
Even though you aren’t going to an office, it’s still important to have fairly consistent office hours. Not only does this set an expectation for friends and family, it keeps you on a schedule. We typically get more done when we’re on a daily schedule, so it’s a great method for productivity.
Just because you set office hours doesn’t mean they have to be 9 AM to 5 PM. If it works better for your family to start earlier or later, go for it. It might be helpful to carve out an hour or two for kids’ obligations, car pool, or anything else that you typically need to get done.
Create a family calendar and fill it in. You can create a schedule around this, giving yourself time off, extra days of work, and so on.
Have a conversation
If you work from home, you might find that more of the house work and kid responsibilities are your job. This can be a great benefit of working from home, but it can also become overwhelming.
If you feel that the home obligations are out of balance, or you aren’t able to complete your work, it’s time to have a conversation. Delegate some tasks to a babysitter or family member, and simply make it known that you’re only available at certain times.
Make it a real job
Working from home is still working, and it should be treated as such. Create an office space that you enjoy, keep housework to breaks only, and work as you would in a traditional office.
The benefits of working from home include flexibility and comfort, but it’s easier to take it seriously and work successfully as an independent employee when you work in a more traditional way. When you, as well as others, see your job as more “real,” the balance of work and the boundaries of time are more likely to be adhered to.