There are so many advantages to working from home. There is no commute, I can work in comfortable clothes, and I am comfortable in my space. This sounds like the ideal situation except when you have family and animals in the house with you. Working at home can be full of distractions, so you have to form some boundaries so that you can accomplish your goals. Here are a few of the reasons the boundaries are necessary and how you can create them.
You must be available if you are home.
I had a neighbor ask me to do a task for her, but I could not because I had an appointment. She told me she assumed that since I was home I must be sitting around all day. I very nicely told her that I was indeed working even though I was home.
My office has floor-to-ceiling windows, and I do not have curtains or blinds on them. The neighbors and the neighbor’s dog can look directly into my office, and since the dog loves to play with my dog I often receive a text that says, “He saw you. Can the dogs play?” I sometimes feel like I have to hide in my own house, but I usually reply by telling them I am working, but would love to bring the dog out on my break.
I also have neighbors ask me if I can do random tasks like bringing in packages that have been delivered. I never mind helping out but what bothers me is the assumption I have the time to do these things.
Children asking for help with school work.
My youngest likes to talk out her schoolwork. She doesn’t expect me to do it for her, but she uses me as a sounding board to brainstorm ideas. I love helping her but sometimes I am in the middle of a project and it isn’t a good time. I have encouraged her to look ahead at her assignments and then we set times when we can work together and I can give her my attention.
The story-telling spouse.
My husband also works from home and he spends most of his days taking phone calls, and attending zoom meetings. He needs to share with me some of the issues he is trying to solve. It doesn’t matter if I am staring at the screen and typing like my life depended on it, he will still saunter in and begin to share. I am terrible about drawing this boundary because I know how important it is for him to talk out what he has experienced. I have to confess that I am not always completely focused on what he is saying, and I have honed asking general questions like, “So what are you going to do?” without being completely connected to the conversation.
I have always tried to be good at answering phone calls and e-mails in a timely fashion, but it can steal a lot of your time, so occasionally, turn off your notifications and focus on the task at hand.
I hope these ideas have helped a little. Enjoy all the benefits of working from home, and understand that others need some help understanding that you are not sitting on the sofa eating bonbons.
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