How to create boundaries between private and professional life while working from home – Interview with a psychologist

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As I promised on my previous article regarding 4 Online Meeting Tools You Didn’t Know About , I am back to talk about how to create boundaries between private and professional life while working from home. In order to provide trustworthy advices, I interviewed a psychologist.

Chiorean Liviu Octavian – Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Sports Psychologist member of The European Network of Young Specialists in Sport Psychology

As a starting point, we need to understand how working from home is affecting us psychologically?

Our Psychologist says that human beings are build to use as less energy as possible which makes us follow some patterns in order to make things easier. For that, we have several Egos (or roles). Some of our diverse roles are “the employee of a company” or “my own employee”. Working from home brings us a confusion of egos. You can easily switch from “the employee” to “the mother/father”. Which obviously makes things harder and here is where boundaries can help us.

Going back to our patterns. When a person works from home, he/she will have to change their routine. Here are 3 most effective tips on how to create your boundaries:

  1. Set up a place in your house exclusively for work.

This can easily help you consciously enter the workplace as an employee. In order to feel more like in your office, you need to create physical borders. You can create a small door out of boxes or draw a thick line on the floor to define the perimeter. Subconsciously you will understand that you now enter your office. This is important for you as well as for your family.

  1. Adapt! Adapt! Adapt!

Our patterns need to be changed. So adapt your workplace, attitude and your outfit. We all remember those times when we closed our camera and had breakfast in our pajamas during our course or meeting. Well now, you should try to wear your outfit like you really are going at the office. And no, a fancy shirt and pajama pants don’t work. Another thing you need to adapt is your access to the fridge. When you work from home, you have way more food around you comparing to your real office, right? You can still get some small snacks but draw it mild. Our psychologist says “Don’t bring your whole fridge in your working area. Don’t get the whole pot of soup. But use your breaks for your snacks”

  1. Communicate with the people in your house, especially kids.

Now this is an important aspect. You need to draw some boundaries with people in your house. The whole effort is related to changing habits, including for people around you. When we talk about children, it is very important to explain them in detail that you have other roles as well, and one of them is the employee. Make sure you tell them they are not allowed in your office while you work. Here, the borders you build around your workplace, can also help them understand where they are not allowed to enter. That is, if you don’t have a whole room to use as your office. Also, make sure to specify the time “Mom/Dad is working in this room/area for the next 3 hours and you are not allowed to enter in this period of time”. It is not enough to just tell our kids “Do not enter here!”.  We have to calmly explain why we are working (our role as an employee), where (borders) and for how long (time). Nobody wants to bother you but it happens if you don’t include all the elements when you communicate with people.

The current situation is a bit stressful and we might find it overwhelming sometimes. This is exactly why we need to understand what happens with us on a psychological level and try to adapt. Everyone has its own way of doing this but today’s advices can really ease your way. For my next post, I will present the second part of my interview and get into details about psychological effects caused by the current situation. So stay tuned!

Now that you know how to create boundaries between your private and professional life, you can read Tanja’s article about 10 Gadgets for the Home Office .

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About Author

bucur maria-bianca

Working from home? This subject is now part of our lives on a daily basis. It is a transition that affects both the company and the employees. The purpose of my blog is to provide guidance on how to properly do that. Technology resources, budget plan, communication and so on, are the subjects I discuss within my articles.

12 Comments

  1. Pamela Sandoval
    Pamela Sandoval on

    Hi Bia!! very interesting post, thank you for these super useful tips. We usually neglect them when we are working/studying from home and its good to have a reminder. Also I do a lot of snacking and it needs to stop haha ! Looking forward to your next post.

    • bucur maria-bianca
      bucur maria-bianca on

      I have the same issue regarding snacks! Always trying to keep away from the fridge haha. I am glad you find my article useful. Thank you Pam!

  2. Nicole Tay
    Nicole Tay on

    Hey Bianca, this is a great reminder for me to stop bringing my whole fridge to my working area. I often have Zoom meetings while having my lunch/dinner. Good advice there!

    • bucur maria-bianca
      bucur maria-bianca on

      Yes I remember you have your meetings while having lunch/dinner haha! I can’t say I am not doing that at all 😀 so this is something I am trying to fix as well.

  3. Hi Bianca
    Good to know, i will try to set up a place in my house exclusively for work. Im not sure how I should do it ahahah, but i guess i will try it with a styleish Paravan. Because it’s good looking and can be easily removed if i need more free space.
    Best regards
    Paul

    • bucur maria-bianca
      bucur maria-bianca on

      Hello Paul! If you choose the stylish paravan, let me know how it looks like 😀

  4. ben aharon nissim
    ben aharon nissim on

    Hello Bianca,
    I am so happy to read about my personal issues while working/studying from home. The biggest one is not taking breaks and eating too much.
    Great post, looking forward to reading the next one!
    Nissim

    • bucur maria-bianca
      bucur maria-bianca on

      Hello Nissim! Yes, not taking breaks can have a big impact on us. We combine work with our personal life too much 😀

  5. Francesca Bosancic on

    Very informative article indeed! I really appreciated the suggestions. This is great work 🙂
    I look forward to reading your next article!

    • bucur maria-bianca
      bucur maria-bianca on

      Thank you Nina! I am glad to hear you find it useful 🙂 My next article is coming soon!

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