Currently, more than 40 percent of Americans are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that almost half of the country has been thrown into a new reality in which their home and work lives collide.
Studies show that this sudden lack of separation between work and personal lives not only causes undue stress; but also lowers workplace efficiency and functionality.
Whether you’re sharing your space with children, pets or roommates—here are three ways to keep your work and home lives separate.
1. Create Boundaries
Working from home immediately blurs the line between your office and personal lives. You’re suddenly granted the freedom to wake up only minutes before office hours begin, you can wear pajama pants in client meetings and your lunch hour can involve vegging on the couch and watching Emily in Paris. However, in order to keep your work life separate, you have to set up clear boundaries for yourself and your roommates or family members.
While you might enjoy the flexibility that comes with working from home; keeping regular office hours will increase your functionality while allowing you to prioritize the more “fun” aspects of your personal life. Whenever work ends, shut the laptop, turn off email notifications and fully invest yourself back into your life. Otherwise, you might find yourself losing that precious work/life balance.
2. Create Space
Finding your own personal office space is one of the best ways to define these boundaries. From transforming the guest room into a personal office to clearing off the dining room table during office hours, this separation is key for a healthy work/life balance. In smaller spaces, it might not be possible to truly create a designated workspace. Whatever the case, it’s imperative that you create a space where you can be your most focused and productive self.
This also means that you’ll want your personal space to feel more relaxing and comforting than ever—allowing you to step into a different space once the workday ends. Grab some cozy blankets, a good book or some essential oils — anything that allows you to detach from the office.
During the workday, you’ll want to leave the cozy bedroom when office hours begin and ignore the temptation of lounging in bed. Find a different room for your WFH routine and try to work in a proper chair. While the couch may be the comfier option, it decreases the professional feel of your environment and can ultimately lead to unproductivity. Additionally, fill both your workspace with items that keep you in a professional mindset. For example, you’ll want to minimize distractions in your office space, while having everything you need in arm’s reach. Consider investing in a few office essentials like a laptop riser, standing desk and wall calendar.
Working from home may likely become the “new normal” for thousands of office workers. However, if you clearly outline your boundaries between office and personal life, you can begin to thrive in your altered routine and become a stronger and more productive worker.