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Work from home: Communicating boundaries with your family

Article by: Percy Bharucha

For years employees and organizations have been in search of the ever-elusive work-life balance. A way to have it all, to juggle familial responsibilities and corporate duties while keeping their happiness index high. We’ve always been juggling work and home as two separate components, afraid of dropping one. 

But now due to the pandemic work and life have become integrated like never before. We now sit with one eye on the screen and the other on a child or a parent nearby. Over the past few months, we’ve realized work from home brings with it its own set of unique challenges.  

In India especially the home is considered to be a place for family time. It can get quite challenging to explain to parents or children why we can’t do our chores right now or participate in family movie night because we’re actually working. We now have the hard task of actually setting boundaries and separating work from life. And we must do so without hurting their feelings or destroying the peace.  

Here are a few ways to separate work from non-work and communicating those boundaries respectfully: 

  1. Set up a routine and communicate it

Make a daily schedule, try and stick to the same work hours as you used to before the lockdown. Do your 9 to 5 as if it were your actual 9 to 5. Display your daily schedule in a place of prominence where your entire family can view it. Tell them politely work time is for work and you cannot be disturbed. Schedule family time and slots for chores to ensure you’re not ignoring any of their needs.  

  1. Set up a dedicated, consistent workplace 

Ideally, pick a room where you work out of with a door that can be closed without hindering any of your other family members. This can be your room, a spare room, the storage room, whatever works best. In smaller spaces where you cannot find a dedicated room, pick a corner. But do set up a physical boundary marking that corner. For example, pick a work table, and chair, place a rug under the chair that marks your corner from the rest of the house. Communicate that this is your workspace, hang a sign on the door, make a little placard that says, “At Work” and place it where it’s visible. Tell your family that they are not to invade your workspace unless it’s an emergency. “I just made snacks, eat them while they’re hot” is not an emergency.  

  1. Designate backups 

If you are a parent, communicate with your partner and set up a schedule where both of you have non-conflicting time slots to take care of the children. If the mom has a meeting in the morning then the father can schedule his meeting in the afternoon. Communicate to your children who they should approach and when. Parents can also use a red light or a ‘Do not disturb’ sign which they can alternatively use between themselves when they’re in meetings or on calls. Parents can also designate elder siblings as backups while they’re busy. The younger kids can then approach them for minor things instead of disturbing the parents. 

  1. Dress professionally  

If you want your family members to take your work time seriously, you need to demonstrate that you take it seriously. Dress for work. You don’t need to wear suits but during your work hours try to change your attire from your usual home clothes. This communicates visually that you’re in work mode and that you take your time seriously.  

Implementing change is hard. Communicate your position with empathy and also try to see it from their point of view. They are probably eager to make the most of their time with you. Share your thoughts and concerns as gently as you can and try to not let work take over your family time and responsibilities. Negotiating this lifestyle and undergoing this communication process can be challenging. Ensure that you maintain your sanity and calmness. Long walks or mindfulness sessions can really come in handy when you need to decompress or when it’s all getting a bit too much.  

Also See: Mindfulness: Work From Home Mode

Work from home: Communicating boundaries with your family

Article by: Percy Bharucha

For years employees and organizations have been in search of the ever-elusive work-life balance. A way to have it all, to juggle familial responsibilities and corporate duties while keeping their happiness index high. We’ve always been juggling work and home as two separate components, afraid of dropping one. 

But now due to the pandemic work and life have become integrated like never before. We now sit with one eye on the screen and the other on a child or a parent nearby. Over the past few months, we’ve realized work from home brings with it its own set of unique challenges.  

In India especially the home is considered to be a place for family time. It can get quite challenging to explain to parents or children why we can’t do our chores right now or participate in family movie night because we’re actually working. We now have the hard task of actually setting boundaries and separating work from life. And we must do so without hurting their feelings or destroying the peace.  

Here are a few ways to separate work from non-work and communicating those boundaries respectfully: 

  1. Set up a routine and communicate it

Make a daily schedule, try and stick to the same work hours as you used to before the lockdown. Do your 9 to 5 as if it were your actual 9 to 5. Display your daily schedule in a place of prominence where your entire family can view it. Tell them politely work time is for work and you cannot be disturbed. Schedule family time and slots for chores to ensure you’re not ignoring any of their needs.  

  1. Set up a dedicated, consistent workplace 

Ideally, pick a room where you work out of with a door that can be closed without hindering any of your other family members. This can be your room, a spare room, the storage room, whatever works best. In smaller spaces where you cannot find a dedicated room, pick a corner. But do set up a physical boundary marking that corner. For example, pick a work table, and chair, place a rug under the chair that marks your corner from the rest of the house. Communicate that this is your workspace, hang a sign on the door, make a little placard that says, “At Work” and place it where it’s visible. Tell your family that they are not to invade your workspace unless it’s an emergency. “I just made snacks, eat them while they’re hot” is not an emergency.  

  1. Designate backups 

If you are a parent, communicate with your partner and set up a schedule where both of you have non-conflicting time slots to take care of the children. If the mom has a meeting in the morning then the father can schedule his meeting in the afternoon. Communicate to your children who they should approach and when. Parents can also use a red light or a ‘Do not disturb’ sign which they can alternatively use between themselves when they’re in meetings or on calls. Parents can also designate elder siblings as backups while they’re busy. The younger kids can then approach them for minor things instead of disturbing the parents. 

  1. Dress professionally  

If you want your family members to take your work time seriously, you need to demonstrate that you take it seriously. Dress for work. You don’t need to wear suits but during your work hours try to change your attire from your usual home clothes. This communicates visually that you’re in work mode and that you take your time seriously.  

Implementing change is hard. Communicate your position with empathy and also try to see it from their point of view. They are probably eager to make the most of their time with you. Share your thoughts and concerns as gently as you can and try to not let work take over your family time and responsibilities. Negotiating this lifestyle and undergoing this communication process can be challenging. Ensure that you maintain your sanity and calmness. Long walks or mindfulness sessions can really come in handy when you need to decompress or when it’s all getting a bit too much.  

Also See: Mindfulness: Work From Home Mode

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Accepted payment methods:

Cards

Paypal

Dhyana is made in India by Avantari
+91 9346 2056 75 | support@smartdhyana.com



Accepted payment methods:

Cards

Paypal

Connect with us:

Dhyana is made in India by Avantari
+91 9346 2056 75 | support@smartdhyana.com