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Physical boundaries

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Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Enhancing work life balance through physical boundaries

Establishing physical boundaries can help you feel more in control when working from home:

  • Create a designated ‘office’ space in your home, with a comfortable chair and (if possible) a large desk where you can lay out everything you need to complete your work
  • Try to find a place you can be alone – at least during a part of your work day
  • Talk to your family or flatmates and develop a plan. If it is impossible for everyone to have a separate office space then perhaps you can designate a quiet working space for those doing ‘deep work’ and another place where people can have online meetings?

Making an office space

Here are the top 4 things that remote workers think would improve their home work space.

  1. multiple monitors – participants in our researchwere clear that having multiple monitors would help them to get their work done more easily rather than working only from a small screen.
  2. have designated office spaces – they were also big fans of having a designated office space to work in.
  3. more comfortable chairs – having to made do with a corner of the sofa, or someone’s bed as a workspace was common. Having a comfortable chair was seen as the ultimate!
  4. larger desks – having a space to lay out everything they needed to complete their work was important

Get your technology set up

You’re going to need equipment. Although many of us check emails from our phones on a regular basis (and from all sorts of places) they’re not great devices for having to write a long reply, or for doing other work.  So ideally you will have a laptop or desktop computer, or maybe even a tablet computer. Perhaps work has provided you with access to this but if not you might have your own computer that you can use.

 There’s nothing more frustrating that trying to join an online meeting only to discover just beforehand that you have to download some software.  So make sure that you have downloaded all the software you need and can access your systems at work where that is necessary. Accept that this will take time and set aside some time to do it.

Using devices to create physical boundaries

In our resarch we have found that people who separate their devices (i.e. smartphone and tablet are only for personal stuff, laptop is only for work stuff) feel more in control of work-home boundary management.