How to separate work and life when you work from home

28 Oct 2020

Company culture

Claire Crompton

Claire Crompton

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Working from home can be a perk for many, but now that we’re moving into an era where it’s becoming more popular, workers are swapping big desks, meeting rooms and booths for couches, beds and spare rooms. Here at TAL Agency, we’re doing PPC auditing at the kitchen table and local SEO in between school runs, so we know all about working remotely!

But sometimes, the line separating our home life and office life can start to fade a little. So, how can you recolour it?

Create a home office

As tempting as it may be to set up for the day on the couch in front of the telly, avoid doing this as much as you can. You can easily slide into an unhealthy and unproductive routine here. If you’ve found yourself stuck in a bit of a rut lately, be sure to check out our guide on how to kick bad lockdown habits.

Whether it’s a spare room, a corner, the garage or the kitchen, make space just for your work, where you can’t be so easily distracted. Better yet, create a cosy, home office and really put some effort into it. The more pride you take in this, the more motivated you’ll be to set up and work there – see our creative home office ideas for some inspiration.

Have boundaries

This is especially important for those with children or a lot of members in the household. Work time is work time, you need to instil this into your family’s minds too. Create clear boundaries so everyone in the household knows when not to disturb you – whether it’s a house calendar or diary, use these to plan in family time too! 

Discipline and rewards

When we’re left to our own devices, we can often lose discipline a little, especially when there’s nobody to watch over us in our own homes. Schedules and to-do lists have never been more important than when you’re working from home. Work from your calendar, jot in what you need to get done for the day and stick to it. And, especially for those long, difficult projects that have had you working hard, reward yourself; maybe it’s time for a treat for lunch?!

Dress to impress

Whilst this one was more for the rhyme, don’t undervalue the importance of dressing to fit around your day’s plans. You don’t need to opt for the well-ironed shirts and ties when working from home – the common look now is smart on top and casual bottoms for those Zoom-call days – but don’t slack with your dress sense!  

The more you get used to lazing in sweatpants and pyjamas, the more your mindset will follow, and that’s no good for separating home time and work time, or productivity. Just as you would dress for stepping out the house, make a little effort each day; don’t think of it as impressing others, but instead for yourself. It’s amazing what a simple change of dress can do to your mood and overall attitude. 

Dress to impress… yourself with how much work you can get done. 


When it comes down to keeping life and work separate when you’re working from home, it’s really about mindsets.

You need to train yourself to get into different ones in order to accomplish what you need to. If you’re a parent, you have an added mindset to get into parent mode. It’s the same for work. Whilst it’s mostly subconscious, we can benefit greatly from being more conscious about how we think and go about things. 

So, when it comes to work and focusing, actively getting into the work mindset will become a stronger, more cemented and productive habit. Some find a certain routine works, like doing exercise before they begin work. So, whenever they finish an exercise routine or workout, their mind has gotten used to going straight into work from a motivated cue.  

Having routines like this, and cues, will make switching between work and life mindsets second nature. The fun is then switching back into other mindsets like the chilled out one… Everyone needs to remember that one. 

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