Setting Boundaries: The Key to Work-life Separation in the Remote Work Setup

Before the pandemic, the trend is all about attaining a work-life balance. For many, this meant no taking of work-related calls after work hours or no bringing of work stuff home. However, every attempt to attain a semblance of work-life balance disappeared when the pandemic happened. Work was brought home, and the line was ultimately blurred. Almost two years into this setup, it’s still hard for many to navigate everyday life.

Effects of the Remote Work Setup on Employees

One of the adverse effects of the remote work setup on employees was loneliness due to isolation. Everything happened so slowly and quickly at the same time since the first outbreak of COVID-19. The whole world seemed to stop.  However, work had to continue. Even those who were not members of the workforce had a hard time adapting to their sudden isolation from the rest of the world.

Because of the lack of social interaction you used to have in the office setup, it became more challenging to work. And this resulted in emotional distress for a lot of workers. Because of the new environment, your work performance was affected negatively. You became less motivated to work.

If you had difficulty achieving work-life balance before, it probably became almost impossible for you to do it with the new setup. You work in the same place where you rest. There is no more physical boundary.

Before, the moment you stepped out of the office, you were no longer an employee but a mom, a dad, or a child. But with remote work, a distinction like that doesn’t exist anymore. Your roles got mixed up.

Two years into the pandemic, some things got better, others stayed the same. There is no guarantee when all of this will be over. No one knows if the remote work setup is here to stay. But in case that this setup remains the same for you in the following years, here is what you can do to effectively separate work from your personal life.

The goal now is not work-life balance anymore. The moment work came through your door, that balance was thrown off and went beyond repair. What you have to achieve now is work-life separation.

Separating Work From Your Personal Life

working at home

1. Set physical boundaries

Do not bring your laptop to the dining table. Make a commitment that you will never work in your bed, no matter how inviting that seems. You have to designate a specific space where work happens.

That space is your work zone, and there should only be one work zone in your place. Of course, not everyone has a spare room to make their office. That is not a requirement. Find a small corner where you can put a small table. It can even be in your own room. Just be clear on the rule that no work is allowed in your bed.

No work leaves that zone, and that should be the number one rule. All the other parts of the house are where you can exist as you, not as an employee.

Of course, there should also be a space for rest and recreation if there is a work area. Invest in the things that make you relaxed and less stressed. Buy an electric massage chair like OSIM and put it in your bedroom so that you can release some muscle tension before you go to bed. Or, you can make a coffee nook for your daily energy boost.

2. Set time boundaries

Besides setting physical boundaries, divide your day into pockets of time so that you alternate between work and rest. Well, you don’t have to alternate them. Pick a schedule that will work for you.

List down all the things that you must accomplish in a day. Number one is work, then maybe a workout session, sleep. Feel free to add based on your personal needs.

If you find it more productive to jump right into work first thing in the morning, then do so. After work is when you can work out and do all the other tasks. Reverse the order and experiment for a bit so you can find the right tempo you should follow every day.

Final Thoughts

If by now, you are still struggling with your remote work setup, then that is a cue that you should change something. Try these boundary-setting tips to know what works for you. That is the only key to making this setup work. And finding the right schedule and physical setup is vital if you don’t know how much longer you will work like this.

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