WFH Tip: Separation of Work & Home
When I was in grad school, I took a class called “Work & Space.” One of the key concepts we discussed was that every space, room, or territory comes with its own set of rules and values. As a kid, you knew the rules of the house (likely set by your parents). They might have said things like, “Don’t put your feet up on the coffee table,” or “No food in your bedroom.” Your teachers may have even referenced the values they knew were built into your home by reminding you when you misbehaved, “You wouldn’t act like this at home, would you?”
Oddly enough, this applies to working from home too. Our homes come with certain rules and values, and if you are working from home for the first time, you may see your home values and habits collide with your work values and habits.
When you worked in an office, you had a physical distance between your home and your work. Now that that distance has been reduced to zero, you may find yourself sleeping or watching TV when you’re supposed to be working or working all hours of the night when you should be sleeping.
Something that will help is carving out a “work zone” in your house. It doesn’t need to be big. It could be one corner of your kitchen table or living room. In your mind, make that area = work. When you get up in the morning, you “go to work” by going to that zone. When you are done for the day, you leave that zone.
Creating separate zones for work and home will help you mentally transition between the “work you” and the “home you.” It will help you not get distracted by home projects during work time, and it will help you not worry about work projects when you are relaxing in the evening.
Note: I know there are challenges that are specific to parents who are working from home while their kids are homeschooling. More on parents working from home in future posts. In the meantime, you might try using a “school zone” with your kids. You don’t even have to tell them that you’re doing it, but it can help subconsciously if they always do their school work in the same place.