Setting Boundaries: Transitioning from a Cubicle to a Home Office

April 16, 2020

The world has spent the recent weeks adjusting to a temporary way of life as we collectively
navigate these uncertain times. As we shift our social and interpersonal interactions, some are
experiencing a shift in their work environment as well. They have transitioned and traded cubicles for
makeshift home offices. Now that your new officemates are the other people in your living space, the
pile of laundry that you’ve been neglecting, and your pets, how are you to set the necessary boundaries
to keep your personal and professional as separate as possible? Consider these tips for setting
boundaries to help set and maintain work-life boundaries during what may be an atypical work from
home situation.


Design a dedicated workspace
Creating a designated workspace is a great way to help keep your work from spilling into the
rest of your home. Create a space with supplies, tools, and whatever inspires you during your workday.
Claim your space the way you would your office workstation. This allows you to keep your work
confined to one place plus creates the mental boundary necessary to physically leave your work your
day's end.


Limit distractions
Consider a space in your home that has a door for your remote workspace. The visual cue can
help hinder distractions from the other inhabitants of your home, your what's on your DVR, or the
dishes waiting to be washed in your kitchen sink. This can help create a physical boundary with the
ability to reinforce the mental boundary between work and home.


Keep up with any work-related rituals
Is there a certain mug that you use while in the office? Are you used to drinking your coffee at a
certain time with a particular colleague? Make these things and interactions (with the help of video
communication tools-) part of your remote workday. Incorporating these artifacts and rituals into your
remote working experience can allow your remote workspace to feel more like work. Your work isn’t
solely confined to the building that your desk is in, and by anchoring your remote workspace to things
that you associate with your day to day, you can help emotionally replicate that experience. These
interactions and items may be happening as you work remotely now, but they are things that you
directly connect to your time at work and keeping them up, helps reinforce the “work” part of your time
at home.


Take breaks and make time for lunch
Be sure to schedule and take time for breaks and lunch. Taking time to refuel mentally and
physically are parts of your workday when in the office. There should be no difference in a remote
setting. Don’t be afraid to block time on your calendar to help ensure that you’re able to take the time
that you need within your work schedule.

Set and abide by your work hours
Although flexibility is a key component of working from home, setting your schedule (and
sharing it with your teammates formally or by blocking your calendar as your employer’s policy dictates)
can help keep your work hours from spilling into your home life. If staying at the office into the wee
hours isn’t your standard and you don’t answer emails or calls after a certain time when physically going
into your office is an option, you shouldn’t feel guilty about setting those same boundaries in a remote
work setting. If you have the option to not work a traditional workday with non-traditional hours, be
sure to use whatever communication and calendar tools at your disposal to keep your work contacts
informed.

© Zeamo 2019