Tips to Create Boundaries During Work From Home

Nupur Roopa shares how boundaries matter more today, in the times of work from home. 

Published
Life Hacks
4 min read
As offices, and schools have entered in our homes, a safe balance is needed
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It’s 5 am and Shailaja Mishra hurries into the kitchen. She starts chopping vegetables while the tea boils.

“My life has become extremely hectic with everyone at home.”
Shailaja Mishra

Her two kids, ages 7 and 11 are having online classes, she and her husband are working from home and there is no house help. Though her mother in law helps, but Shailaja doesn’t want to overburden her.

The online school classes are tough with only two laptops and both kids having classes at the same time. She and her husband have to work either early morning or late in the night which disrupts the sleep routine.

An exhausted Shailaja can’t see any ray of hope. The pandemic continues, normal activities become challenging as we sail through phases of strict lockdowns and unlock, adhering to new guidelines. This is the new normal, but adjusting to this way of life, until a cure is discovered is quite hard.

Present Scenario - WFH

These unprecedented times are history in making and have drastically altered the life equations. Companies and firms have allowed employees to work from home while schools are conducting online classes abiding by the guidelines issued by WHO. Adapting to this arrangement is contributing to a lot of physical, mental, and emotional stress.

People who are accustomed to working from home find it relatively easier. However, those unaccustomed are mostly unequipped to do so. Work from home appears easy and comfortable, but in reality, it isn’t.

An office set up provides a dedicated undisturbed workspace, uninterrupted Internet connection, and required gadgets. At home, there are space constraints, Internet connectivity issues, and disturbance which can negatively impact productivity. As WFH will continue at least for a while, we need to explore some practical solutions.

Personal Boundaries - What Do Experts Say?

Everyone needs space literally and figuratively. Work-life balance is completely disturbed as all activities are cantered at one place, the home. Offices and schools have entered our homes making it a daunting place.

Dr Paul L. Hokemeyer, an internationally renowned clinical and consulting psychotherapist, speaks in this article about setting clear boundaries for highly functioning families. He emphasizes setting boundaries by identifying three categories mutual respect, safety, and helping each other.

Dialogue between family members forms the basis of effective communication. It is crucial to know, discuss, understand, and comprehend the strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities of each family member before delegating any responsibilities. Many of us may not like this WFH set-up but resenting it will only create huge stress. It is easy to lose temper and get into heated debates and discussions.

Your Home Office

WFH requires a clear boundary between space and time. Not everyone has the luxury to create a well-equipped home office. Here are some tips you could try.

Have a dedicated space for work. A study table in a corner of any room with good light and ventilation is enough. Decide your office time and follow it diligently.

WFH can be tiring. Sitting in one place is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Taking regular breaks is beneficial. Decide on the time for breaks and the activity you might want to indulge in. Taking short breaks to meditate, walk around the house, chat with family members, or listening to some music are some suggestions.

Starting and ending the work-day at a specific time helps in achieving the work-life balance. You could start the work-day after breakfast and end by going for an evening walk. If you can’t go out of the house due to lockdown restrictions try walking inside the house. This way the transitions happen with ease signaling the beginning and the end of the working day.

Social interactions are necessary, but at present, not possible. Try having virtual parties with colleagues to lighten spirits. A Friday Pizza party or afternoon coffee break while everyone chats online could help break the monotony of working in isolation.

Family Responsibilities

When kids are at home, they seek constant attention. Involve kids in discussions to chalk out a schedule to keep them occupied, entertained, and engaged.

Set proper time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner similar to school days. Kids might need help for their online classes, therefore, sharing your office schedule can help to understand your availability.

If you stay with your parents, communicate your WFH schedule and the need to work undisturbed at those times.

House Tasks

This lockdown has been extremely challenging for the lady of the house. In India, mostly the women are expected to take the responsibility of running a house. However, with no helpers it becomes difficult. It is high time we make a change as a society.

Every family member has to help and learn the rudimentary skills to run a house.

Make a list of household activities in two sections daily and weekly. Delegate according, to age capability and availability. Multitasking, if required should be done judiciously. Be careful not to take up housework in your office time as it can negatively affect productivity.

A present, no one knows when the pandemic will subside or end. Work from Home and online classes are here to stay for some time. Accepting what cannot be changed while exploring applicable solutions with a positive attitude will help us sail through these testing times.

(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting, and travel.)

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