Many of us having been working from home since last March and it has not been easy. And while we do have a vaccine, it may not be until the summer time that we get to go back to the office (depending on the State you are in). Separating work life and home life is hard enough as a Social Worker, now all of our work is at home. So it is important to set some boundaries in order to save your own sanity as well as helping to combat burnout. Here are 6 tips on how you can set boundaries when working from home!
Create a designated work area
Create your own workspace or office! This should be an area that you do not use or sit in regularly. This will help make sure that you 'leave all your work at the door' when you clock out of work. If you work in an area that you regularly use, it will be harder to separate your work and home life. This can be a spare bedroom or even the corner of your living room.
Set Strict Office Hours
Set a strict schedule with clients and coworkers! Do not schedule any meetings or phone calls after you 'clock out.' This can be even harder if you are using your personal cellphone for work, so ask your organization for a work cellphone. This will help in making sure you are not getting any work calls from clients when you are not working.
Schedule your lunch break
It can be very easy to work through your lunch break when your at home. You make lunch and take it back to your laptop to work while eating. This should NEVER happen. Your lunch time is exactly that, YOURS. Not your clients', not your supervisors, but yours! Step away from your laptop for that hour and get something to eat. You can even take a walk. This will help create some balance in your workday; otherwise it can all lump together into one stressful task.
Set rules with family & roommates
It is also important to let your family know your schedule. Especially if you have a significant other or roommate working from home, or even kids doing virtual schooling. Create a set of rules for when you are 'in office,' and having a sign that you are in a meeting. This will help to stop distractions when you are working and with clients. Of course kids will need your attention and you will have to check on them, but this will help minimize the unnecessary interruptions.
Dress up for work
It is very easy to just get up and go to work in your pajamas when your at home, but you should not make a habit of it. Firstly, if your meeting with clients you should definitely be dressed the part. Even if you have a day of nothing but paperwork, changing out of your pjs is an important step in getting ready for the workday. You do not have to pull out a power suit and a full face of makeup, but it should be something you would not sleep in. You want to mentally get into the working headspace.
Plan post-work activities that you enjoy!
Self-care is the most important thing to remember, working remotely or not! Always try to plan at least one activity that you enjoy after work. This will help get your mind off of work and relieve some of the stress that you experienced throughout the day. It can be anything from going for a run, cooking a healthy meal, or even reading a book! Anything you enjoy that is unrelated to your work. Make a habit of doing them after work every day.