Remote work needs boundaries too

Working from home sounds ideal for those who’ve never done that before. But that too comes with a set of specific boundary issues.

Aspects of working from home that may need to be addressed include a whole new set of possible distractions; a greater need for self-discipline; having to create reasons to leave your home and get fresh air; and knowing when to put work down when you’re always at your place of work.

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@kevinrw

Time Management

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  • We start work based on a job description, a contract and set of mutual expectations. In return for doing this and that, we can expect to be compensated in this way and that way.
  • As time progresses, we’ll probably be asked to do other tasks and projects and we might ask for workplace adjustments.
  • When expectations aren’t clearly defined, understood or agreed upon, it causes heaps of stress for all concerned.

When we communicate honestly and clearly, we’re leaving no uncertainty behind our intention and our meaning.

When starting a conversation in which we’d like to assert a boundary, we can sometimes let apologies creep in. But being apologetic makes us sound primed for a “no” or for some reprisal before anyone has had any input.

We can feel passionate and motivated about our jobs and still get burned out. Truth is, the more passionate we might feel, the easier it is for us to find an excuse for the long hours because we take pleasure and find purpose in what we’re working on.

Remember to take breaks (coffee breaks, lunch breaks, vacation, etc). They are a good way to have respite and create space.

When we truly value our time, energy, skills, and expertise, we become a more careful about what we can take on and what we can easily drop.

Those that feel they're not enough can throw themselves into work and try compensate that unbalance with their output, usefulness and indispensability. But in doing so, they're more likely to say yes to what’s asked of them even when they'd rather say no. This is a clear path toward burnout.

The decision we make, work related, involve consequences and compromises.

If we’re asked to work overtime, there’s a trade-off that occurs somewhere else because we can’t be in two places at once. If we’re not conscious of what the trade-off is, we might not have considered the things we’re giving up.

Having clear work boundaries

Work boundaries help secure our time, energy, purpose and how fulfilled we feel.

Boundaries encourage us to have a work time and a time to recharge. So there should be a clear mind shift and a sense that we’re done for the day.

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Technology helped to normalised the lack of boundaries in our lives. We are attached to our phones. With the lockdowns, office closures and more limited social lives have added to the norm.

  • A global study shows that the average daily working time increased by 30 minutes a day in 2020.
  • A UK poll found that more than 30% of remote workers find it harder to switch off from work during the pandemic.
  • A similar proportion of people are working more unpaid hours.

Why it’s so hard to put boundaries on our time

bbc.com

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.

5 New Routines to Create Work From Home Boundaries

99u.adobe.com

  • Know that you have a right to personal boundaries.
  • Recognize that other people's needs and feelings are not more important than your own.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Identify the actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable.
  • Trust and believe in yourself.

Healthy Personal Boundaries & How to Establish Them

essentiallifeskills.net

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