5 productivity tips for boundary setting in remote workplaces

As of January 2022, 59% of people work from home a majority of the time.

With more and more people — both freelancers and those with traditional full-time jobs — working across distributed teams, learning how to be productive and create boundaries in a remote environment is essential.

If you work in a remote workplace, here are a few best practices for setting boundaries and staying productive.

Have a dedicated workspace

It’s easy to bring your laptop with you from your bed to the kitchen table to the couch, but in doing so, it’s all too easy to work and be available at all hours of the day. 

Just like you’d commute to an office, there should be a place for you to “commute” to when you work remotely, whether that’s at home, at a coffee shop, or even a co-working space.

Creating a dedicated workspace provides a clear physical boundary for when and where you should work which helps ensure your workload doesn’t bleed into your personal life and space.

Set a clear schedule

With many people working remotely, there’s a good chance that you’re working with people from all over the country and maybe even the other side of the globe. 

With varying time zones at play, it’s essential to set a schedule for yourself so you can stick to a defined start and stop time for your workday. 

If you have a “how to work with me” guide, then in it you should communicate your time zone, what your working hours are, when you’re available to contact, and when you’re available to take client meetings.

Communicate your preferred methods of communication

Another boundary to set that will help you stay productive in a remote environment is around your preferred methods of communication. 

These days, there are countless channels to reach people, from email to Slack to Zoom. Let your teammates and clients know which method you prefer as soon as you start working together. 

Not only does this help create a boundary for you, but it sets expectations for the workflow and ensures that nothing gets lost in the mix of communication channels and platforms.

Take a break

It can be hard to set clear boundaries with yourself when you work remotely, but time away from your workspace is essential — especially if you live and work in the same place. 

Add time for yourself into your calendar during the workday. Take a lunch break, go for a walk, spend some time on a favorite hobby, or connect with a loved one. And don’t forget to take vacation every once in a while!

Taking breaks — both short ones throughout the day and longer ones spent out of office — helps create a mental and emotional boundary between you and your work. Plus, studies show that breaks can provide a boost of energy and improve performance capacity.

Lean on others and delegate when you can

Working remotely can easily turn into overworking if you aren’t firm with your boundaries — and that includes how much work you’re available to take on.  

To stay productive, it helps to have people you can delegate or outsource work to so you aren’t overloaded with tasks. When you have too much on your plate, that’s when you’re most likely to overextend yourself or not stick to your boundaries. 

By setting these boundaries with teammates, clients, and yourself, you can be more productive in a remote setting and keep your business running at a sustainable pace.

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