Work from home (WFH) has become a normal concept in the post-pandemic era. Millions of people started working from home for the first time. Some, because of government-mandated shutdowns, some because their companies sent them, and others because they were allowed to avoid the crowds at work. 

The hardest part of working from home is balancing what’s happening in the house with what you need to be doing for work. This balance, not unlike the work-life balance most of us are familiar with, requires attention to the details of your life, your personality, and the needs of work.

Space – The first step is to find someplace you can work. You might not have a whole room you can set aside, but you should at least claim a corner. Chances are you’re working on a computer or laptop and might have a few paper files. Make an “office” as best you can in the home you have. 

Time – If you have family in the house, you might decide to start work before they get up or work after they go to sleep. That quiet time, even an hour, can be invaluable for getting things done. This might depend on if you’re a night owl or an early bird or both.

The Clock – Many people who work from home find that they can’t stop working. Their work is right there, feet from their bed, and waiting to get done. Set hours for yourself. Since you’re working at home, they can be almost any time you want, but you should restrict the hours you work to something reasonable. Everyone who’s ever worked from home will tell you that working from home can allow work to take over your home. Plan to avoid that. 

Signs – In a house with a family, signs are invaluable. A sign on your office (or near your desk) that says, “Mommy needs quiet,” will help the kids learn that when the sign is up, everyone plays quietly so you can make calls. A sign about daddy being at work will keep the kids from wandering in and out of your office. It only takes a little time to teach the family that there are rules. The most important part for them is that once the sign is down, you’re as available as you can be. It’s their reward for playing by the rules.

Childcare/Eldercare – This might seem strange, but you may find that a few hours of childcare or eldercare each week will make your home-work life easier. It will give you a few hours where you don’t have to worry about dad getting hurt walking to the kitchen or the baby needing to be fed. It can be someone who comes to your house and takes care of things. Allow yourself the indulgences that make life easier. 

Internet – Faster internet is vital. You might have been able to stream your movies with the old internet speeds you had, but if you’re going to work from home, you need the fastest internet you can get/afford. Sitting around waiting for something to load will kill your productivity.

Balancing home and work when you work from home is a skill that needs to be learned. Learn it fast. Your sanity is at stake.