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5 New Routines to Create Work From Home Boundaries

Set An Agenda

Make a to-do list a day before and start without friction in the morning with complete clarity.

Having a structure of the day helps in your productivity, and gets you to finish your important tasks on time.

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5 New Routines to Create Work From Home Boundaries

5 New Routines to Create Work From Home Boundaries

https://99u.adobe.com/articles/66949/5-new-routines-to-create-work-from-home-boundaries

99u.adobe.com

5

Key Ideas

Separate Your Work and Home

Simple activities make our workday at home effective:

  • Make a clear transition from home to work, by waking up, getting ready and having breakfast on time.
  • Do not check your phone (for work-related communication) first thing in the morning.
  • Exercise when you wake up.
  • Take it slow, and ease into work, rather than jumping into it.
  • Do not check your phone after 9pm.

Set An Agenda

Make a to-do list a day before and start without friction in the morning with complete clarity.

Having a structure of the day helps in your productivity, and gets you to finish your important tasks on time.

Disconnect From Work

Try to block some time off your workday to have a stroll outside, or to make coffee, or a midday lunch break. This brings the day under your control.

Home Is Home After All

There will be some boundaries that will blur and you will be distracted from your work, because, after all, you are at home and are bound to carry out some personal tasks.

Try to balance your house tasks to relieve pressure from yourself, ensuring you also take care of a few of your official tasks.

Self-Care Activities

Try to care for yourself by exercising, deep breathing, or a creative interest outside of work. You can bake, cook, walk in nature or do gardening.

These activities nourish your being, and make you more productive and fulfilled.

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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Take steps to make it easier to sleep well.

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or other drugs for several hours before bed
  • Set a regular bedtime
  • Drink some warm milk or herbal tea, or have a light snack
  • Try a screen-free activity like meditation or reading
  • Eliminate as much noise from your bedroom as possible
  • Keep your bedroom dark
  • Don’t linger too long in bed. It’s better to do your lounging on the couch and head for bed only when it’s time to sleep.
To Sleep Or Not To Sleep
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Keep the Same Schedule

To give your day structure, keep the same routine as when you went into an office. Get up at the same time and make a to-do list. Check in with the same person every morning.

Your s...

Set Boundaries

Pick a place for your office away from distraction.
Boundaries also apply to other people who may be sharing the same space. Children can work alongside you as if they were coming to the office.

Schedule Breaks

You won't have the same cues as you do from your workplace to remind you to get up or get lunch. When you lose the pace of your day, everything can start to blend together.

Treat your exercise, meals and stretch breaks as you would any other meeting. Put it on your calendar, at least to start.

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The idea of working from home, on your laptop, flexibly, without having to do the daily commute, is appealing to many office workers.
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The Other Side

Studies on long term work-from-home workers found that lack of interaction with colleagues and the lack of an office vibe can result in a disconnection from the outer world, leading to isolation.

Working at Home

Pitfalls of working from home: 

  • Mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Feeling isolated
  • Less self-discipline
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unable to keep the boundaries between work and life.

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Burnout When Working From Home
Burnout When Working From Home

Working from home does not necessarily mean we are enjoying life and can’t be in stress. Work can feel dull and monotonous as there is comparatively less movement or change of scenery.

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Burnout And The World Health Organization
  • According to the World Health Organization, Burnout is classified as an occupational phenomenon, also known as vital exhaustion.
  • It is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress and anxiety, causing physical and mental problems.
  • The symptoms include energy depletion, exhaustion, increased mental distance, a negative outlook towards one’s job and diminished productivity.
WFH Burnout Symptoms

Burnout is experienced in a different shade at home, where the symptoms tend to be tiredness, confusion, forgetfulness, frustration and anger. As the mood starts to dip slowly, the mind reaches a low state, from which it is hard to climb back.

Taking a vacation is a great idea, to begin with, even if you don’t really go anywhere. The idea is to take a break from your work.

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Mimic Your Office Culture

For many of us, the office becomes a fun place due to a sense of community, purpose and fun interactions that make up an office day. To try and mimic your office culture virtually:

  1. Set up Slack channels for water cooler conversation
  2. Schedule virtual movie days, when the same movie is streamed with the chat option on.
  3. Try to recreate virtual versions of what employees miss the most in office, like a coffee break, for instance.
Being Social While Remotely Working

Being social at office lubricates official conversations and the work itself. The more we spend time with colleagues having non-essential chatter, the easier our work becomes with them.

It helps to be creative and infuse fun into a virtual interaction. Any official conversation, like a manager meeting his subordinates in a one-on-one meeting, can start by asking about the person’s life (something unrelated to work), so that a connection is built.

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Clear communication

The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

Treat it like a real job
  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

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The stress of commuting
The stress of commuting

The journey to work is often more stressful than the work itself. Surveys and studies have found that commuting is people’s least favorite activity. But now, with many of us at home and commutes on...

Transitional buffer

A new study examines the function of the commute as a psychological gateway between home and work.

The daily commute serves as a "role-clarifying prospection" - it gives you the time and space to think about the upcoming work role.

Commuting creates opportunities

Commuting allows employees to engage in some degree of prospection about work. Perhaps the commute also offers an opportunity to engage in deeper levels of creativity.

  • Globally, the average commuting time is 38 minutes each way. That adds up to a lot of time, which may offer a chance to read, listen to a podcast, audiobooks, or playing Scrabble.
  • It also allows time for boredom where the mind can wander, which can produce original thoughts and also problem-solving.
  • During the evening commute, one has time for reflection after the working day is done.

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Lower accountability
Lower accountability

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High tolerance to frustration

People with high frustration tolerances are the ones that generally succeed at remote work. And you can take steps to raise your frustration tolerance and become more conscientious by working on your impulsivity.

A non-conscientious person will find another activity (a distraction most likely) the moment something challenging or uncomfortable comes up. They have to be more conscious to stay in the moment: count to five or take five deep breaths, for example.

A lack of boundaries

When work and personal activities are occurring in the same space, there are no cues for you to behave the way you do at work while you are outside your physical office.

Those who work well from home create boundaries in a work-life world without them. Then, once these parameters are established, people who commit fewer ‘boundary violations’ are better off.

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Psychological Effects of Working from Home
  • Loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms like random pain.
  • Anxiety and pressure. The bounda...
Symptoms of Depression
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even with unimportant matters.
  • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy for even the smallest activities.
  • Increased cravings for food.
  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Avoiding people.
Take Care of Your Mental Health

...while working from home:

  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your tasks (and breaks) will help you to mentally prepare for the day.
  • Have a dedicated comfortable workspace, with a door that closes, preferably.
  • Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping.
  • Foster social connections (on the phone or via the internet, if physical contact is not possible).
  • Learn to say no. Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload, and don’t extend yourself beyond them.
Telemedicine and telehealth
Telemedicine and telehealth

Telemedicine and telehealth involve remote-health-care technologies and services, known as "virtual care."

While virtual care played some role in the health-care industry, 2020 le...

Virtual healthcare recognized
  • Telemedicine can refer to the setup that allows workers in a large hospital to assist in emergency procedures from a distant support structure.
  • Telehealth uses virtual interactions between individual doctors and patients. You may have a bad sore throat and download the telehealth app, where you will be connected to a physician who can examine you and prescribe medicine.

Fifty to seventy percent of visits to the doctor's office could be replaced by remote monitoring and checkups.

Potential disadvantages of virtual health care

Telemedicine has been a hard sell in some areas.

  • Many rural clinics and community hospitals fear that their already inadequate medical staffing and the revenues generated from on-site procedures will be further diminished by remote medicine.
  • Old and poor patients who may need care the most can't afford smartphones or broadband connectivity.
  • Until recently, many people were unaware that the service existed, while others didn't trust an anonymous doctor.
  • Many people want to be in the physical presence of their physicians, believing the quality of virtual care is inferior.

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