Working from home can be a huge benefit. You largely get to set your own hours, enjoy the comfort of your own workspace with your own rules, you don’t have to worry about the frustrations that might accompany a typical office space, and you might even be your own boss. These are all major positives but there are negative aspects too. For many people working from home, it can prove difficult to separate your work and home life. The fact that there are not two separate physical spaces can cause this divide to become muddled and complicated. Furthermore, many people working from home cannot afford to lose business in any way, so if a work call or business opportunity arises, then they have to jump on it regardless of the time or the situation they might be in. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that your work and home are separated, even if you work from home and this post hopes to address some of those.
First and foremost, you should get a receptionist. Whether this is a physical person to take your calls, a virtual receptionist through a service, or even just a well-equipped voicemail system, you need to have a receptionist. This will keep you from having to take calls during dinner or worry about losing business while you are on vacation. The receptionist will be able to answer your calls, take messages, provide clients with relevant information so that you are not bothered with the same frequently asked questions over and over, and so much more. Receptionists can seem pricey, and in-house receptionists certainly can be, but virtual receptionist services can be well within your means if you are worried about potential expenses. This kind of step will help you to provide yourself with some distance between your work and home life.
Another important step is to give yourself a work space. If you work from home, you might just use space already in your house for working such as a dining room table or your bed. However, this is a major mistake if you are trying to separate your work and home life as doing your work in these typically home settings can have a major negative affect on how you subconsciously view these spaces. Studies show that doing work in your bed, as opposed to just sleeping there, can adversely affect your sleeping patterns. What’s more, if you are working in places that you typically go for rest and relaxation, then you will no longer be able to go to those places when your work is done without drawing that mental connection. Consider setting up a small office space. It doesn’t have to be much, and it can just be a table and chair, but the act of designating a space in your home specifically for work can have a big impact.
Last but not least, you need to make sure you give yourself hours. It can be strange to think about clocking in and clocking out when you are working in your home but this kind of self-regulation can be very helpful when conditioning yourself into separating your work and home life. When you begin working set a certain number of hours during which time you will primarily focus on your work. When that time is up, stop and walk away from your work and try not to come back to it until the next day. This could be the most difficult piece of advice from this post to follow through because you may find yourself wanting to finish up work or do a little extra during a day. You can certainly make exceptions for yourself and plan according to your own schedule, but demarcating your working time and off time is sometimes even more important than getting that little extra bit of work done. This will also help you avoid procrastinating as you will have a clear time of when you should be working and set times when you should be resting.
These rules will not work for everyone. Some people who work from home may find these rules constricting or maybe not strict enough. Others will find that they only need one or two of the rules to help them. Regardless of your situation, the most important part is to make sure you know where your work ends and your home begins because mixing the two can cause you much mental and emotional stress.