Skip to main content

How to set work-life boundaries when you work from home

“Work-life balance” has been a buzzphrase for years. As a result, businesses often market themselves as fostering a sense of work-life balance. And it makes sense: A 2016 survey by Deloitte found that millennials valued this quality in employers more than any other job characteristic, including career progression.

Wanting work-life balance and finding it are two different things, however. Another recent survey found that 42 percent of employees felt the need to check email during vacation, and millennials were the most likely generation to sneak a peek at their inboxes. In the last year, most vacations got canceled due to the pandemic, and one survey indicated that many people felt they also put boundaries on hold as homes became offices.

You can still set boundaries for yourself and your colleagues, even during these times. Consider these tips for working from home to help restore some balance in your life.

Have a dedicated office space

When you go into an office each day, you probably sit down at your desk (or stand, if you’re using a standing desk). This action signals the start of the workday. At home, anything can feel like a workspace, from a cluttered floor to even our beds. Working from anywhere — literally — may make you feel like you’re always on because no space is sacred. You also may get easily distracted if you’re trying to plow through a to-do list in a poorly lit space or one with the TV blaring. What’s more, working from your bed can reduce sleep quality (which in turn can decrease the quality of your work).

Experts say having a dedicated work area can increase productivity and make you feel prouder and more legitimate. Choose a well-lit area that’s as free of distractions as possible and isn’t a place you typically use for relaxation, like a bed or couch. Let those be spots you associate with chilling out. De-clutter and keep it clean — experts say a messy workspace stymies productivity.


Set your hours — and keep them

Email and messaging services like Microsoft Teams and Slack existed before 2020 sent many of us home to work. These communication methods made it easier to feel like we’re “always on.” Though working from home can help enhance work-life balance, it can also exacerbate the feeling that you’re never really “off.” Before the pandemic, 40 percent of remote workers said they felt high levels of stress, compared to just one-quarter of in-person employees, according to one report.

Nix this problem by establishing hours. Speak with your boss about expectations for work and hours. Ask what qualifies as an emergency that needs immediate attention, regardless of the time. Once you have a schedule set, ensure you stick to those hours. You can set your work hours in Google Calendar, and it will alert colleagues if they try to schedule a meeting outside of that time (this feature is especially helpful if you work with people in different time zones). Slack also has an option to “snooze” messages between certain times. Turn off notifications, and consider deleting the apps from your phone to remove the temptation to check.

Fake a commute

You may not really miss your commute — traffic and delayed buses and trains take away time you could spend doing something you love. However, one of the lesser-known working from home tips involves stimulating a commute. Why? Commuting to and from your job creates buffers between our office and home lives. Think about it: When you leave the office to drive home, it signals to your colleagues (and you) that you’re done for the day. That effect may get lost when your commute involves walking from your kitchen table to your couch.

Re-create the commuter experience. You don’t actually have to drive to the office. Instead, a simple walk or bike ride will do.


Get dressed

Work-from-home life has allowed us to adopt “mullet-style” fashion: a nice shirt and sweatpants. Loungewear may be comfortable, but experts say dressing for success sets the tone for the day. It also allows you to keep a sense of routine and normalcy and separates work from relaxation and exercise.

You don’t necessarily have to go completely all-out and dress to the nines. Consider taking baby steps, like swapping sweatpants for a nice pair of jeans. Instead of putting on a full face of makeup, try lip gloss and mascara. After work, go ahead and get back into comfortable clothes to signal it’s time to get into relaxation mode.

Working from home has its perks — no commute means more time to focus on things we enjoy. However, it’s hard to reap those benefits if you feel like you’re always on. There are many reasons why remote work may actually hinder work-life balance. We may feel like no place is off-limits for work — not even our beds — or constantly hear the hum of Slack notifications while we’re trying to binge-watch Netflix. Plenty of working from home tips can help you reclaim your personal life, though. If you’re stressed, try getting back into a routine by getting dressed, establishing hours and a workspace, and faking a commute.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

Editors' Recommendations

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
Incontinence is not the end and you are not alone
usda dietary guidelines grandparents grandchild eating

Millions of people suffer illness and injuries which result in temporary or permanent incontinence issues. This can be a struggle for the patients and their families but, fortunately, there are many products available to make the transition and recovery easier. Waterproof mattress protectors are easy to find and common. But, less common are some other products that are mentioned here that will, hopefully, help to acknowledge how normal a problem incontinence is and that no one who suffers from it should ever be ashamed.

But, sometimes you might not need so many liners. For instance, if you have a relative visiting for a single night. In that case, you can purchase a single liner.

Read more
Baby socks and leggings for infants and roaming toddlers
brain damaging habits man baby multitasking

The first thing you want to do when you see a pair of baby feet isn’t cover them. You want to give them a squeeze, or (for some reason) threaten to “eat them up.” (Yeah, we all do that.) But the chances are anyone with a newborn needs to cover those feet, and tiny socks go missing. So while you may want to admire them during those precious years when feet are actually adorable, it’s a good idea to stock up on things like these five value packs of little socks to keep baby feet snug and warm.

If it's easy to lose socks as a grown-up, think how easy it is to lose those adorable, tiny baby socks. Ask any mom, dad, auntie, uncle, or caregiver: baby-sized socks are insanely easy to misplace—in the laundry, underneath the changing table, somewhere in the park after a diaper-changing fiasco, etc. Keeping a steady supply on hand is easy with value packs like these. Bonus points, they have little touches you might think of, like a soft terry loop interior or padded tabs, so your waddling little one will be comfortable as they learn to pad, and tear, and run around the house.

Read more
5 staple varieties of value vacuum cleaner bags
heartburn symptom management woman lying down couch

Stocking up on vacuum cleaner bags is hardly the most thrilling part of home or workspace maintenance. It’s much more fun to arrange furniture, choose paint colors, pick a wall calendar motif (Horses? Castles of Ireland?). But a steady supply of quality vacuum cleaner bags should have a place somewhere on your list of home/office beautification. Regular vacuuming with the right vacuum bag will keep that space clean, dust-free, and healthier to breathe and work in. Buying in bulk—in the right brand, of course—means you’ll get the most value for your cleaning dollar, and lets you free your mind for other important tasks while guaranteeing a cleaner working or living space.

There's a lot that goes into maintaining a healthy work environment, from office furniture to making sure you and your staff have somewhere to unwind periodically. Keeping the floors and air clean might seem like an afterthought, but a tidy environment sets a foundation for a hygienic, pleasant living and working space. Fortunately it isn't hard to keep your space clean: just match the right value vacuum bag to your machine, and don't forget to replace on a regular basis.

Read more