Now that many of us are starting to transition back into “normalcy” it can be difficult to find our balance between working and personal time. As many of us have experienced since the beginning of COVID, the way businesses operate is vastly different to 2019. Communication has changed, remote working is no longer seen as a poor decision, and what many would consider a 9 - 5 job now seems to be 24/7.
As we transition back into offices, in person meetings, and rebuilding relationships, it’s important to remember that we are in a new age of business. Since COVID, it seems that clients are messaging at all hours of the day, because many know that we are working from home. As business owners, it may feel like the boundary for office hours has been lost.
In this article, I am going to give you 5 tips and tricks on how you can confidently rebuild your boundaries and start working guilt free.
1) Be Clear About Your Working Hours
Not only should you be clear about your hours with yourself, but you should also be clear about your working hours with your clients. It is okay to say that you will get back to them. Recently, I had given a client my personal cell phone due to a particular circumstance, and I made it very clear that I would only respond between certain hours.
Setting and sticking to your working hours means that you can work guilt free knowing that you are giving your clients the best you can. You need to be recharged and relaxed to be able to help them to the best of your abilities.
2) Learn to Shut the Laptop
Boundaries also mean learning when to shut the laptop and stop working for the day. This can be difficult for those of us working from home. Have the ability to walk away from projects knowing you will work on it the next day. Spending all day and night working isn’t healthy and you must be able to walk away.
3) If Working From Home, Have a Defined Office Area
This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give. If you are working from home, make sure you have a defined working space. This can be a room, a desk, or even a specific part of the couch, but make sure that you only use it to work. This will help you mentally place all work related items to that one specific area. You will be able to step away from that spot knowing that you have a physical boundary as well for your working tasks.
4) Practice Your Self Care (and Schedule It In!)
Now more than ever it is so important that you are practicing self care. Whatever that looks like for you, whether it be spending time with loved ones, going on a weekend getaway, or simply reading a book- your self care is important. One thing I like to do is put my self care into my calendar. If someone tries to book an appointment that day, well, looks like it will have to be a different time because I am already booked.
5- Having Boundaries is Healthy
In any relationship, no matter if it is a partner, friend, or client; having boundaries is healthy, especially when those boundaries are for the betterment of each party involved. Having these working boundaries gives you the ability to step away and recharge and informs the client of when they can expect a response from you.
At the end of the day, setting boundaries for yourself as you transition into a new working environment after COVID, is healthy and smart. You no longer have to be on call all day everyday, and you can rest easy knowing that your clients are taken care of. There is nothing wrong with stepping away and recharging. You deserve it.