Drawing the Line Between Work and Family When Working Remotely

Kristianna Chung our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 3/26/2020 1:40 PM
So, you’ve been told to work from home. Finally, more time with the family… Wait, more time with the family? How will you get your work done while also homeschooling your children? Maybe you’re married and your spouse is home, too. The routine of work has been disrupted, and though many businesses were already turning to remote work, this is something else. 

So, how do you morph from leaving the house to go to the office to simply walking into your kitchen or home office to begin your day? In other words, how do you draw the line between work and family when you’re working from home? We know it can be difficult and unsettling in this troubled time, so we have a few tips to get you started.

Getting Started in Your Remote Working Lifestyle


  • DEFINE YOUR WORK SPACE

    What room can you designate in your house to be your “office.” It’s best to have someplace with a door, but this isn’t always possible. Is it the kitchen table? Ok, but this will mean you need to set strict ground rules about the hours you’re “on.”

    Make sure everyone understands when you’re “at work.” Whether it’s your kitchen table, a quiet room, or the end of your sofa with your laptop, these are your remote working tools. In some cases, it may even be a good idea to invest in noise-canceling headphones to help you stay focused.

  • HAVE SET HOURS

    Define what hours you’re working and stick to them. Begin and end your day at the same time. Don’t forget to schedule breaks – coffee break, lunch, a stretch of the legs – around the same time each day as well.

    Work with your team to set hours for when you’ll be online working and respond to off-hour messages within your working hours. Without designated hours, it can feel like you’re constantly available and always “on” blurring the lines between work and family.

    Get some fresh air when you can. Step outside for a walk or a coffee, whatever brings you outside can help recharge and energize you for the work ahead.

  • ENSURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS

    Remote working apps, videoconferencing tools, and cloud-based filing systems help ensure the job gets done. Make sure you keep your passwords in a safe place and be extra cautious when logging in from a new location. Is your computer up-to-date? Does it have all the security measures and capacity in place for the additional online tools and apps you may need to add? Making sure you address these things can help to solidify your workspace and ensure you’re able to meet with your team online and get the job done.

  • FOLLOW THE 20-20-20 RULE

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from your screen and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

  • TAKE A BREAK FROM TALKING ABOUT WORK

    If you’re not used to working-from-home, loneliness can quickly set in. Remember those quick hallway chats or discussions over lunch or coffee? Take that impulse and use it when talking with your team. Have a virtual coffee break.

    Take a break from work and talk about hobbies, something funny that happened to you, or even just how you’re feeling away from everyone. You won’t be alone in these feelings with everyone in the same work-from-home boat.

These tips can help you put your best foot forward for your remote working lifestyle. But don’t forget, you can use these same rules for family time, too.

In the wake of work-from-home policies, remote working, and the shifting landscape of working outside the office, technology careers are prime opportunities to both gain increased knowledge in your chosen field or begin your career path. 

If you’re interested in remote Big Data & Analytics opportunities, we may have a role for you.

Take a look at our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to find out more.  

For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.  

For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  


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