Lost in Space – How To Stay Sane Working From Home

“I work from home.”

It’s a statement that conjures up images of days lounging on a couch, decked out in comfy pants, latte in hand, perusing a laptop.

The truth is, working from home presents its own unique set of challenges. For example, working from home is great for privacy and solitude but it breeds isolation. The initial relief of working alone can turn into simple loneliness.

A good way to avoid loneliness and burn out is to approach working from home with the same limits and boundaries as someone who works in a physical office space. Defining work time and personal time will prevent you from working too much and not interacting enough, two factors that contribute to isolation.

Below, some tips on how to create healthy and defined boundaries for your virtual career.

Define Work Hours

Get hired, get a schedule and then stick to it. Set autoresponders in email and instant messenger that list your work hours. Your colleague in Russia may not know it’s 3 A.M. your time, and a green light on your Slack channel says “I’m available”. At the end of your shift, log out and power down.

Get Out of Bed

Courtesy: Giphy.com

If you have a wireless connection and a tablet, you are good to go for most virtual roles. This means you can literally sit up, power up and get to work. Although this sounds great at first, this is the key reason virtual workers develop bad habits. All those cartoons about the slovenly misfit that never leaves the house? There’s some truth to that, unfortunately. Every day: get up, get dressed and go to work, even if the office is in your living room. Go out to lunch, run errands and be present in the world. Being plugged into the virtual world doesn’t mean you disconnect from the real one.

Create a Work Space

No matter how large or small your living space, defining your home office is important. Once you have defined your workspace, stock the area with the tools you need to do your job. Decorate the space in the same way you would a work cubicle. Define this space as off limits unless you are “at work”.  The physical act of moving to a workspace in your home helps mentally shift gears from personal time to work time.

Courtesy: YouTube.com

Away With the Apps

Now that most software programs have easily downloadable apps, it’s tempting to start downloading work apps like crazy.  This can become a slippery slope, particularly if your cell phone does double time as personal and professional. Unless you absolutely need to have a certain app on your phone, it’s better to restrict work apps and programs to a work specific device. This is the same for devices in general – having a work laptop and personal laptop keeps you focused on work or personal matters, and separates the two.

Find a Tribe

Courtesy: Giphy.com

Sometimes you just need to be with people. If you’re tired of being alone in your workspace, check out shared office spaces in your community. It’s a great way to meet other virtual workers, network and commiserate on the highs and lows. As more workers choose to work in a virtual environment, there’s an increasing demand for workspaces where people can go to be around… people.


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Comments 4

  • Great tips! I, too, have done virtual work and it’s true that a disconnect can happen if you don’t consciously choose to remain connected. Also, living with a family while you’re working can be a challenge! My sons would shout across the house for me and I’d been on a call with a client. It took time to remind the others in the household that this space is a workspace from this time to that time. Specifying hours helps not only to keep yourself from spending all day working (or not enough of it:), it also reminds others in the home that you are working.

    • Hi Monique,

      Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and comment!

      I’m glad you enjoyed these tips, and thanks for sharing some of your own experiences.

      Setting boundaries when doing virtual work is important, and it takes practice. Sounds like you’ve got the hang of it!

      Thanks again for reading,

  • Article like this help motive virtual assistants to work better. I have been reading alot of articles lately but found this most useful in daily life. Virtual Assistant is not an easy task, you have to get up and organize your tasks daily. Every day we are learning new things and making ourselves better. This blog will definitely boost virtual assistance to achieve their goals effectively.

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment. I wanted to stress how important it is to be organized when we self-manage our work.
      Glad this was helpful to you!

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