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Office Space: Boundaries

For those of us still working at home for some portion of the time, there is an interesting balance. If there is no commute and work is right there, what prevents you from bleeding into the boundary between work and home?

In the past, some employers would not allow work from home in the assumption that time would bleed from work to home. We now know that the opposite is much more likely. I am certain this fact is what is leading some employers to declare that they never intend to return to an all in-person model.

This means that you have to take responsibility for creating boundaries around your work. And, it means that you will have to communicate about some of those boundaries with the people at work.

Making a Plan

The first part is to take stock of your work requirements — Everything from hours required, to flow of work, to types of tasks. Be wary of add-on tasks that you might not account for because they are quick. Especially an issue if you have multiple add-on tasks daily.

Make certain you have a dedicated work space even if that is just a particular place you sit/stand to do the work.

Determine your work hours and how you will deal with requests outside of them. This may need to be negotiated with your boss. At GROW, for example, I do not respond to the email I receive on the weekend — Not at all.

Figure out if there are any boundary issues specific to your work and think about them.

Communicate Your Plan

Once you have a plan, you need to speak to your boss and any direct reports you may have. The key here is to be clear about your intentions and needs. If other issues come up that you did not anticipate, it is okay to ask for time to think about the new issue and check back in. Most importantly, while it feels easier to conduct these conversations via email, don’t.

When we interact verbally our tone, intention, and humanity is clear. It is much easier to deny a request, even a reasonable one over email. Important conversations should be conducted face to face even when face to face is Zoom or Teams.


Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.

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