Separating personal and work life when working remotely

For some people, offsetting all the advantages working away from the office is their inability to keep business from blending into personal time. They can’t determine when or even if time for work ever ends and fun begins.

It’s a common dilemma. One survey found that workers who spend more hours working remotely outside of normal working hours are more likely to experience a substantial amount of stress. Indeed, indiscriminately mingling your work and personal life can cost you mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually — you name it.

Take action to prevent this happening now. Here are recommended tips:

  1. Go away from your computer for breaks. Whether it’s for a brief snack or something for breakfast or lunch, you need to eat and drink without distraction for your sanity. Unless a project is truly time-sensitive, it can wait a few minutes to an hour or so, and so can you. And seriously, do you want to have bits of food on your keyboard or risk damaging your device with a spilled drink?
  1. Keep your workspace exactly that. If you have a home office or a room devoted for your business, then only work-related items should be there. While you can personalize it with family photos and the like, don’t clutter it with notes about your groceries, books you’re reading and other non-work activities. Should that already be the case, clean the area up easily by following these four ways to keep your home office spiffy.
  1. Just say no sometimes. Because you work away from the office, people can assume you have extra time to devote to projects they can’t (or won’t!) handle. Or they may ask you to work late or get up early to accommodate their needs for meetings or presentations. While you want to show you are a team player willing to go the extra mile, make it clear when doing these items that they are an exception to the rule and not your normal practice. Other people shouldn’t dictate how you spend your private time.
  1. End your workday as you would at the office. Shut down your computer when work is over. Let your co-workers know you won’t communicate with them about business after office hours unless it’s an emergency (but do socialize with them!). Try turning off work email notifications on your smartphone or tablet. These are challenging steps for some people to take in today’s 24/7 flow of news and information, but they are critical ones to take if you really want to ensure your personal time remains just that.

Have any other ideas on how to separate your personal and work life when working remotely? Comment below or tweet us @ShareFile.

About the Author

Wesley Hyatt is a writer/editor for Citrix ShareFile and author of eight books with more than 25 years of communications and media experience. He’s modest too.

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