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How To Set Boundaries Working From Home

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Most work teams have been forced to work from home like most of the world. We have found it as hard as most balancing work with life when work inhabits our home. However, it seems to us that it is more important than ever to set those boundaries so you can remain effective in your role. We all need rest and we all need life away from our responsibilities and to unwind with a gaming site like Bonus.ca. Without these elements we become stressed and tired. At best, we will be bored by our constant grind.

We sat down and had a chat and explored as a team how best to set those boundaries while we work from home.

What does a healthy boundary look like?

Working From Home

In any sort of relationship having a healthy boundary is essential. If you are all the time available or forced to be responsive, you will start to feel resentful. Setting this boundary requires you to take responsibility for your emotions and your choices and not try to control those of others. This idea of control makes it sound malicious – but what we mean is that you cannot take on the burdens of others, you have to feel comfortable saying no. In short, you cannot accommodate work requests 100% of the time.

Therefore, you need to take responsibility for your work and your outcomes and not take on the weight of other people’s burdens and pressures. When the dynamic you are trying to control is between you and your line manager, this can be tricky. However, you still need to be clear and firm on your needs and your boundaries.

Everyone’s goal in your team should be for everyone to succeed. You can only help to influence this if you are working at your best. If you try to be everything to everyone, you will not be able to maintain the performance. 

You will know if you have the right boundaries in place because you will feel confident, emotionally stable and feel like you are in control of your workload.

How to identify an unhealthy boundary

You will know if you haven’t got this right if you are answering people’s messages all day and then into your evening. It is very easy to allow the working day to meander long past the time you would have normally left the office. Indeed, one of the biggest concerns is that the day seems to go on forever. Answering that message at 8pm can easily end up in an interaction that lasts well past dark. 

Another clear sign that you are in an unhealthy relationship with work is when you can only say yes to requests, even when you feel that you cannot manage anymore. This inability to use the word no leads to a cycle where you are constantly out of control of your workload.

How to work from home with boundaries

First, you need to set up the dividing lines without building walls. In other words, just saying no to everything and stopping all communication without warning at 5pm is not going to help. Instead, you need to agree with your colleagues when you will and won’t answer messages. You can use your out of office email notification here and set your status on your workflow software. This way people understand that you are drawing a line for your personal life and not looking to obstruct the work. The best managers will promote such practice and encourage all team members to perform in this way.

Second, you need to puzzle out how you can work well at home. It might be that you can only complete your work after homeschooling has finished. You might need to get up at an unearthly hour to complete your responsibilities. Whatever time you need free from disruption to complete your responsibilities needs to be well defined. Also, puzzling out work means appreciating your priorities. You need to be clear that your job description has a certain emphasis that other people in your organisation understand. They will only understand this if you are clear yourself.

Underpinning each of these issues is communication. If you are to maintain healthy boundaries you need to be clear with yourself and then with your colleagues. Without this clarity, any overstepping can only bring upset. For instance, there may be a time when you are needed in a genuine emergency. What are the procedures for getting hold of you at this time? Another example would be to communicate if you are happy with impromptu work conversations or whether you prefer these calls to be scheduled. This example is especially important when people are working from home and are not across the desk in the office.

The final point to make is that all these considerations need to be reciprocated. You should only expect people to respect your boundaries if you do the same. If a colleague has not let you know their preferences for working from home, then seek out a discussion about what courtesies they would like you to extend. Seeking out these agreements will help the team work better – so it is for the greater good. 

The short takeaway

When working from home it is easy to allow normal boundaries to drift. You can find yourself working all hours and on call at every moment. You are not a clock watcher or one of those who work-to-rule if you ask for an open discussion about boundaries. A common understanding amongst your team could make you all much more effective in the long term.

 

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