Episode 170: Show Notes
Today on the show, we are tackling a topic that has cropped up in a lot of Facebook groups recently, ours included, and it’s a really good one for discussion! The question is, “How the heck do you set, handle and enforce boundaries when you work from home?” Not only with yourself, clients and customers but also if you have a spouse, a partner, or your kids at home. So whatever your situation, we are digging deep and pulling out the good stuff to help you with those boundaries.
In this episode, we share how we managed the transition from working in an office to working from home. We discuss the importance of figuring out your own workflow, setting concrete boundaries with your family and friends and how to communicate them effectively. At the end of the day, you have to manage the expectations of others, ensure your business is respected and at the same time, enjoy the wonderful privileges that come with working from home! We will share with you the challenges we’ve faced and how we have managed these often tricky scenarios, in the hope that this will empower you to crack that whip and lay down the law!
Adjusting To Working From Home
Emylee has found it easier to set hard boundaries from the get-go, and then pull back to where you see fit. This puts you in a place of being in charge in your household. For us, these rules and boundaries have shifted since we both first started working from home. Abbie remembers when she first started working from home. At first, she was not a fan of structure because she had been under that work umbrella for so long. She wanted her days to be a little bit all over the place. When her husband came home, he often wondered why the laundry and the dishes weren’t done because, in his mind, it appeared she had nothing else to do. It’s like, you’re not expecting your partner to off-load the dishwasher just because they’re at “work” aka a formal office.
So why was it expected of her? Although a lot of that has changed, Abbie had to reinforce that although she was at home, she was at her job, her place of work. This can often be tricky for others to understand because let’s face it, it’s not the norm. Those early stages of working from home were very anxiety driven for Abbie and she was always trying to please the person that wasn’t there. For Emylee, on the other hand, she was able to set better boundaries when the money started to become consistent, as well as her schedule. The constant battle of this boundary discussion is, “I have the privilege of working from home, so what can I take advantage of, not be lazy and also enjoy this privilege?” You can start to feel guilty for leaning into certain things like taking a nap or going out for lunch, but isn’t that the point of working from home?
What Does It Really Mean When You “Work From Home"?
We believe there are different types of categories of “working from home.” Firstly, there’s the hobby mom whose focus is on children 80% of the time and spends the children’s school hours working. But it’s not really to earn money, it’s to keep her busy. The boundaries of the hobby mom will be different from the stay at home career women who happens to have kids. The priorities are different, the boundaries are different. The establishment of boundaries when you have the house to yourself is different if you have other people, children or partners in the house.
What To Say and The Measures To Take In Order To Set Boundaries
If there’s no one in your house when you’re working, easy breezy – set up some working hours on your email signature and notify your friends, family and your partner. Establish with your friends and family you can’t just “pop out” or go on long breaks at the drop of a hat. Sure, you can do those things but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to be scheduled. Another part to that is just to be clear in your language. If someone asks you “Hey want to grab a coffee sometime?” You can reply, “Sure, Mondays work best for me.” Rather than being at their beck and call.
How To Manage The Scenario of Your Partner Also Working From Home
Some people also have partners who work from home, which might be a slightly tougher scenario! Some things we saw people suggested for managing this scenario is one, set your hours with your partner. Once you establish those hours, those boundaries, there are no “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. Your partner cannot come knocking at your door asking where his socks are. That is not your business during that time frame. Sometimes, it takes being a bit of a biatch about it in order to clarify those boundaries. So say “No” and shut the door, babe. You need to be firm (but of course, not rude). Set expectations. If your husband texts you in the middle of the day during your working hours and you don’t respond immediately, he must know you are busy working and you will respond when you have time. The same goes for scheduling days off and holidays. If your partner has a day off, he or she shouldn’t expect you will take one off too. It needs to be scheduled with you so you too can plan ahead. Got it?
Communicating Boundaries and Why It’s Important
It’s healthy to develop habits that make it easier for you and your loved ones to know what’s going on. One of the things that has helped Abbie’s work relationship immensely is sharing a calendar for working hours solely. Putting personal stuff on there too can be so helpful because it helps you structure your day better. You can also do this with your partner or spouse because at the end of the day, you’ve got to communicate your life with people and if you can make that easier, then why not do it?
Things That Will Empower You To Set Boundaries
The first thing you need to do is establish when you work best and what you want your schedule to look like. Test it out. Take a Friday off. Take two half days off a week. Or take long lunch breaks every day. However you work best, figure it out and find some system to let people know. Put these hours on your office door, text it to your spouse or place it in your email signature. Be unapologetic about what you decide is best. Hands down, you’re not sorry for working, babe! Point three, don’t be afraid to change those hours or go on those coffee dates. Remember it is a privilege you have. But if it breaks up your flow or your productivity to a point where it’s not worth it, then don’t do it. Point four, if you’re a mamma, we employ you to be confident in the type of childcare you employ for your kids when you’re working at home. Don’t feel guilty if you need help, even if you are working from home. Another thing is even if you are a poor communicator, it doesn’t mean you can’t change your tune! We sure did.
Setting Boundaries With People Who Want To Collaborate
People who’ve either worked with us in the past, had on the podcast or met in some capacity – we have become friends on Facebook and then they think they can private message me and tell me they want to collaborate or ask quick questions. We don’t check our FB messages that often and come on, a lot of the times, we’re just not on that personal level! For Emylee, these messages are often a step over her own communication boundaries but hey, if relationships are your thing and you have the time to respond to every question or request – then by all means, do so. But don’t feel obliged to do so and don’t beat yourself up about not being able to reply. You do you, boo.
- Adjusting To Working From Home. [0:04:22.1]
- What Does It Really Mean When You “Work From Home?” [0:10:55.1]
- What To Say and The Measures To Take In Order To Set Boundaries. [0:14:15.1]
- What To Say and The Measures To Take In Order To Set Boundaries. [0:14:15.1]
- How To Manage The Scenario of Your Partner Also Working From Home. [0:16:13.1]
- Communicating Boundaries and Why It’s Important. [0:26:50.1]
- Things That Will Empower You To Set Boundaries. [0:30:40.1]
- Setting Boundaries With People Who Want To Collaborate. [0:36:48.1]