While the switch to WFH was a welcome change when it came to losing the commute and having access to your home comforts while on the clock, other disruptions made themselves immediately clear. Those who had children and pets at home found themselves struggling to find a quiet place – and with HIPAA concerns, a room with a door and complete privacy was a must. It’s likely you and your colleagues scrambled to set up makeshift desks and office spaces within your homes and then quickly settled into them without much improvement throughout the pandemic lockdowns.
Living in a noisy area or home, sharing space with family members and roommates, and fighting over the use of the WiFi are all familiar struggles for mental health providers who made the most of what they could muster for their remote practice. Now, it’s time to improve your workspace so that both you and your clients can get the most out of your services.
First and foremost, set boundaries with your housemates. After all this time of wading the unprecedented waters of remote work, you’ve likely figured out what bothers you the most and what factors are getting in the way of your practice. If it’s always too noisy while you’re on a call with your client, talk to everyone about your expectations during work hours. If needed, start the day by informing everyone of your meeting times when complete quiet is required, or dedicate parts of the house to noise and silence. Consider other rules like allowing interruptions only when the door is open so that you can ensure complete privacy and productivity.
Second, make sure to separate your work life from your home life. For many people who suddenly became remote workers, the boundaries of work expectations and at-home relaxation became even more blurred than before. People suddenly felt that they had to be accessible at all times instead of just during office hours, and working out of the bedroom or living room made it difficult to relax in those spaces. Dedicate one room to work, or if you don’t have the space, ensure you can set up physical barriers or put your work equipment away so that it stays out of sight, out of mind.