You must set boundaries!

05 May 2021 Giles Keay


I spent time this week looking at offices to finally move back out of home and back into a commercial space and whilst walking around having conversations with agents it made me consider the impact of what working from home has had on many individuals and families both positive and negative.  What I have personally experienced is that the day seems to start earlier at sometimes 6.30 am, the focus is harder to maintain at a high level and then I seem to still find myself going back to the lap top during cooking dinner and then after sometimes till 8.30 pm... the reality is that many of us are working far longer hours than we normally would if we were working in an office. 

The direct result of this is although you might feel like because you are at home you are with the family you actually are probably getting less quality time with family due to the lack of boundaries between work and home. 

Also, for many people the commute time was a time for personal space, chatting with friends, social media, reading and time to reflect which has now been taken away and so you find yourself getting straight into it after breakfast or before if you are me! So once again this is taking away necessary time for yourself. 

I have spoken to many people about how great it is that you have the flexibility of being able to do household chores now whenever needed however, I truly believe that these interruptions to the working day can cause a major decrease in productivity.  It is understood from many different sources of research that it can take as long as 20-25 minutes to return to a task once you have interrupted it.  I personally have found being accessible at home for chores a major issue in building momentum during the day when I hear the washing machine beep! 

So, they are some of the impacts, what is the solution?  I have put some thoughts down as to how I and how I would like to! be able to improve the balance and ensure that there are firm boundaries in place which can help me make the most of my day and also still get quality time for myself, with friends and family;

  1. Create your own set working hours, you don't necessarily have to the work the standard 9-5 so pick what works for you

  2. Get dressed ready for work, don’t sit in your PJs!

  3. Split day into blocks and only do chores in between rather than interrupting flow

  4. Day planning is even more important at home as you are the only one who truly sees your level of productivity

  5. Try to work in a separate space if you can ideally with the ability to shut a door during the day so if people at home they know you are working and are not to be disturbed

  6. Take a lunch break! I definitively need to get into this habit... arrange to exercise or meet a friend for a coffee... you would have done this without thinking when you were permanently working from an office

  7. Shut the door on your space when finished at the end of the day and try to not fire up the lap top till the morning!

 Needless to say I am excited to be heading back into designated workspace whilst still trying to maintain the flexibility that has been found through this new way working.

 I am genuinely interested to hear from people as to whether this has impacted you and how you or others you know have dealt with it?  Please feel free to provide any comments below....