How to Separate Work from Home Life (Why Keeping Them Separate Is Crucial for Your Mental Health)

By Rob Orr / Last updated: Jul 2, 2023


Prepare yourself as we take a leap into the world of remote work, deciphering the enigma of how to effectively separate work from home. Ever wondered how successful freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers strike the perfect work-life balance? Or maybe you’re asking yourself if such balance is even achievable? Fear not! In this post, we’ll expose the strategies, the routines, and yes, even the reality of what work-life balance looks like for different types of remote workers.

Some may shrug, confident in their ability to switch off their professional mode once the clock strikes a particular hour. But what about the rest of us, dealing with lingering stress, unending work calls, or even the distracting home environment? What about the challenges posed by technology and the role of employers in setting boundaries? Are you curious about the insights of experienced remote workers and the do’s and don’ts for remote work employers?

If you’re nodding, then you’re in the right place. Whether you’re a professional, a recent college graduate seeking to enter the remote work realm, or an employer aiming to optimize your team’s productivity and wellbeing, gear up. We’re about to navigate the complex labyrinth of remote work-life balance like never before.

  1. Design a Workspace That Reflects Office Environment: Emulating an office environment at home can enhance your productivity and mentally separate work from personal space.
  2. Work Regular Hours Following a Structured Schedule: Keeping consistent work hours as you would in a traditional office setting helps in distinguishing work time from personal time.
  3. Develop a “Shut Down” Ritual to End Your Workday: A consistent routine to end your workday signals your brain to shift from work mode to personal mode, helping you detach from work-related activities.
  4. Leverage Technology for Boundary Setting: Utilize features of digital tools to communicate your work hours and availability, reinforcing work-life boundaries for yourself and your colleagues.
  5. Commit to Digital Downtime: Regularly scheduled periods away from work-related digital devices can aid in mentally disconnecting from work responsibilities.
  6. Prioritize Holistic Health, Not Just Physical: Invest time in mental health activities such as mindfulness, yoga, or meditation, in addition to physical exercise, for a balanced lifestyle.
  7. Master Time Management Strategies Tailored to Remote Work: Use specific remote-work friendly strategies like time blocking, the Eisenhower Matrix, or the Pomodoro technique to optimize productivity and prevent work from bleeding into personal life.

Real quick, before we get too far into it here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and want to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

What strategies can help set boundaries while working from home?

You’ve finally landed that remote job, and you’re ready to work in your pajamas. But hold on! Working from home can be a double-edged sword when it comes to separating work from personal life. In this section, we’ll share a few essential strategies to help you set boundaries while working from home, ensuring both productivity and peace of mind. (No pajamas required.)

  1. Create a dedicated workspace – Just like you have an office at your workplace, it’s crucial to designate a specific area in your home for work. This can be a spare room, a corner in the living room, or even a spot at the kitchen table. Having a dedicated workspace not only helps you focus but also signals to family members that you’re in “work mode” when you’re there. One thing I found helpful is to make my workspace visually and ergonomically appealing – a comfortable chair and some inspiring artwork go a long way.
  2. Set a consistent daily schedule – When working from home, it’s easy to get sucked into working around the clock or neglecting work altogether. To avoid this, establish a daily schedule with designated start and end times as well as breaks. And don’t forget to manage work-home boundaries effectively by sticking to this schedule. Trust me, consistency is key in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
  3. Use technology to your advantage – Technological tools can help you stay organized and efficiently separate work from personal life. For example, using different browsers or user profiles for work and personal use can aid in maintaining that mental separation. Additionally, some digital workplace tools have been found to positively impact job satisfaction by enhancing work-home boundaries.
  4. Communicate your boundaries – Communication is crucial when it comes to setting expectations with both your colleagues and your family members. Let your team know your working hours and availability, and always be responsive during those periods. At the same time, set clear boundaries with your family, so they know when you’re working and when you’re free for some quality time together.

By following these simple strategies, you can effectively set boundaries between work and home life while working from home. Remember, the goal is to stay productive and maintain a healthy balance, which will ultimately lead to happier days and a more fulfilling work experience.

What are the challenges of separating work and personal life for remote employees?

Working remotely can be fantastic, but it’s not all sunshine and pajamas. In my experience, one major challenge when working from home is finding the right balance between your work and personal life. If you’re not careful, that line can quickly blur, leaving you feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. But don’t sweat it! In this section, we’ll dive into the key obstacles remote employees face and some actionable tips to help you overcome them.

First off, let’s talk about workspace boundaries. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get distracted by daily chores, family responsibilities, and your favorite Netflix series. Creating a dedicated workspace helps you stay focused and send a clear message to both yourself and others that you’re in “work mode” (source). So, don’t be tempted to work from your bed – set up shop in a separate room or corner if possible.

Another hurdle remote workers need to overcome is communication challenges. When you’re not physically present in the office, it can be tougher to build rapport with your colleagues and coordinate on projects. Remote employees need to be proactive in reaching out and staying connected, whether it’s through video calls, Slack, or good old-fashioned email (source). But remember, communication is a two-way street – don’t hesitate to speak up about your boundaries and let your team know when you need some uninterrupted focus time.

Overworking is another common issue many remote employees face. Without the natural boundaries of office hours and commuting, it’s all too easy to find yourself working longer hours and neglecting your personal life (source). Schedule regular breaks, and set a firm end-of-day time to help combat this urge. Stick to your routine and avoid falling into the never-ending work trap. Your mind and body will thank you later.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining a work-life balance. Remote employees might struggle with separating their work and personal lives (source). Make a conscious effort to mentally “switch off” when you’re done for the day, engage in personal hobbies, and spend quality time with your loved ones. After all, a balanced life is a healthier and happier one.

Remember, adapting to remote work isn’t always a walk in the park (though you could technically work from the park if you want). By recognizing these challenges and actively taking steps to address them, you’ll be well on your way to finding the elusive work-life balance as a remote employee.

The Importance of Separating Work from Home

You’ve heard it many times: “Don’t bring your work home with you.” But have you ever wondered why it’s so important to separate your work life from your home life? Let’s dive into the compelling reasons why keeping these two realms apart is essential for your mental health, relationships, and overall well-being.

Mental Health and Stress Management

Remember that one time you stayed up late working on a project, only to find yourself snapping at your loved ones the next day? We’ve all been there. Mental health is critical to function at your best (in both your personal and work lives). Blurred lines between work and home can lead to increased work-related stress and negatively impact your mental health.

By creating a clear separation between work and home, you give yourself the opportunity to mentally detach from the day’s pressures and truly recharge. Trust us: your mind will thank you for it.

The Impact on Personal Relationships

Your partner called, and they’re not happy with work’s constant intrusion into your personal life. See, maintaining healthy personal relationships is tough when the boundaries between work and home life are unclear.

Whether it’s family, friends, or romantic partners, everyone appreciates quality, distraction-free time together. After all, who enjoys that “work-obsessed” label? Setting clear boundaries and leaving work at the office allows you to fully engage with the people you care about. After all, isn’t that what really matters?

Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Listen up, because this is serious: If you want to perform at the top of your game, you need to strike a balance between work and play. A healthy work-life balance is key to thriving in both your professional and personal arenas.

In my experience, setting clear boundaries between work and home has been essential for my productivity and overall happiness. When I learned to treat my home as a sanctuary (free of work-related tasks), my stress levels dropped, and I became a more efficient worker during office hours.

So, there you have it. The secret to a more successful, satisfying, and balanced life lies in the clear separation of work and home. Now, it’s up to you to draw that line and protect your well-being. Happy balancing!

Why is Work-Life Balance Important for Remote Workers?

As a remote worker, you’ve likely experienced the challenge of separating your work from your personal life. But why is achieving a balanced work-life so important, and how can you make it happen? In this section, we’ll delve into the significance of work-life balance for remote workers and provide examples of how others have successfully achieved it.


Prioritization: One remote worker I spoke with mentioned their personal mantra, “If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.” By effectively prioritizing your tasks and knowing when to stop working, you’ll be able to strike the right balance between your professional and personal life. This means that you can enjoy your time off without feeling the ever-present guilt of unfinished tasks.

Boundary Setting: Boundaries are essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Establishing a dedicated workspace, specific working hours, and even physical cues (like changing into “work clothes”) can help signal to yourself and others that you’re entering work mode. Personally, I found that setting specific boundaries increased my productivity during work hours—and gave me more guilt-free time to relax after.

Recharge and De-stress: When you’re working remotely, your home becomes your office, making it easy for work-related stress to creep in. Creating a routine to decompress (like taking a walk, reading a book, or exercising) can help you recharge and reduce anxiety. This fosters improved mental health and productivity when you’re back at work. Plus, let’s be honest, we could all use a little less stress in our lives, right?

Build Meaningful Connections: It’s no secret that working remotely can be isolating at times. Fostering strong relationships with your colleagues through regular communication, virtual team activities, and even meeting in-person when possible can go a long way in improving your work-life balance. Having a support system in place and enjoying the company of your peers will make your remote work experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

In conclusion, mastering work-life balance as a remote worker is essential for your mental well-being, productivity, and personal life. By following the examples above and making a conscious effort to create balance, you’ll be able to thrive as a remote worker while still enjoying everything that your personal life has to offer. All it takes is a little planning and prioritization—you’ve got this!

Practical Strategies to Separate Work from Home

In today’s world, separating work from home is crucial for a healthy work-life balance. So, how can you achieve this balance while still being productive? Here are some practical strategies to help you successfully work from home and maintain your sanity.

Establishing a Structured Routine

A great way to start separating work from home is by establishing a structured routine, just like you would if you were going to an office outside your home. This routine should include:

  • Setting clear work hours
  • Taking regular breaks, including a lunch break
  • Creating boundaries between your personal and professional lives

Sticking to a routine helps signal your brain when it’s time to switch between work mode and personal life (I found that it makes a huge difference in my overall productivity).

Creating Physical and Mental Boundaries

One of the best things you can do when working from home is setting up a dedicated workspace. Avoid using your kitchen table or living room, as these spaces should be reserved for family time and relaxation. A separate workspace helps maintain a healthy work-life balance while also respecting your family’s need for personal space.

Additionally, setting boundaries between work tasks and household chores is essential. Refrain from tackling errands or housework during your work hours, and keep work-related responsibilities out of your free time.

Utilizing Technology to Draw the Line

Today’s mobile devices can make it challenging to create a clear line between work and personal life. One good idea is to have separate devices for work and personal use. If that’s not feasible, consider having dedicated apps, email accounts, and even different browser profiles for each aspect of your life.

Don’t forget to disconnect from work-related communication channels, like email and group chats, at the end of the workday. It’s all about creating a healthy balance between your professional and private life.

Maintaining Personal Space While Working

When working from home, it’s important to create and maintain your own personal space. Set up a dedicated office space within your home, away from distractions and family members. This physical separation will help you concentrate on your work tasks while also respecting the personal lives of your family members.

Employer Policies and Their Impact on Work-Life Balance

Employers can play a pivotal role in helping employees achieve a healthy work-life balance by creating supportive policies and fostering an environment that values the well-being of its workers. Some ways employers can help include:

  • Allowing flexible work schedules
  • Encouraging regular breaks
  • Offering wellness resources and support

How Successful Remote Workers Achieve Work-Life Balance

Successful remote workers often adhere to the strategies listed above, but they also prioritize communication and organization. Keeping open lines of communication with colleagues, setting clear expectations, and staying organized can go a long way towards maintaining a healthy work-life balance when working from home.

The Future of Remote Work

The current state of remote work has only grown more prevalent, and it’s more important than ever to prioritize separating work from home. As remote work continues to evolve and more types of employees embrace this new way of working, being intentional about your work-life balance will help you not only be more productive but also enjoy a healthier, more fulfilling life.

How can one stop thinking about work when at home?

Let me tell you a secret: separating work from home isn’t as difficult as it seems. In this section, we’ll dive into a few practical tips to take back control of your precious time at home. Ready? Let’s dive in!

(1) Create a designated work area: To get started, design a workspace within your home that is solely for work (Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries through Everyday Life). This separate space will help you mentally switch between work and home life. Make sure this area is free from distractions and equipped with the tools you need to stay productive.

Here’s a psychological trick for you: establish a pre-work routine and a post-work routine. These rituals will help signal to your brain that it’s time to transition between work and home life.

(2) Set boundaries with loved ones: Communicate with your family and friends about your work hours and the importance of respecting them. This way, they’ll know not to disturb you during these designated times and help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

(3) Take breaks and use them wisely: It’s important to take regular breaks throughout your workday. But here’s the catch: use this time to step away from your work area, relax, and engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation. This will help you recharge and keep work thoughts at bay when you’re not working.

(4) Cultivate hobbies outside of work: Having hobbies unrelated to your career is crucial for separating work from home life. Whether it’s painting, gardening, or playing sports, taking time to nurture your interests will give you an outlet to focus on besides work (and you might just have some fun while you’re at it!).

In my experience, I’ve found that practicing mindfulness meditation is an effective way to declutter my mind and improve my focus on the present moment. Give it a try and see if it works for you, too.

Remember, the key to striking the perfect balance between work and home lies in being proactive and implementing these strategies in your everyday life. It may take time and effort, but the rewards are well worth it. Good luck on your journey to a more balanced life!

How can I manage work stress without it affecting my home life?

You’ve had a long day at work, and the stress is mounting (we’ve all been there). You crave that peaceful haven we call home, but you’re worried that work stress might infiltrate your sacred space. Fear not! In this section, we’ll discuss a few strategies to keep work stress from affecting your home life, so you can enjoy that much-needed R&R.

Set boundaries and stick to them. Easier said than done, right? But seriously, make an effort to establish a clear separation between work and home. Designate specific work hours, and when the clock strikes that magical number, close the door on your professional life for the evening. Trust me, it works wonders. (In my experience, turning off work-related notifications on your phone can also work miracles.)

Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breaths, a bit of mindfulness, or even a quick yoga session can do wonders for your stress levels. Instead of bringing work stress into your home, take 15 minutes to destress and decompress before walking through the front door—you won’t believe the difference it makes.

Design a dedicated workspace. A home office may not be an option for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a dedicated workspace. Whether it’s a corner of the bedroom, the dining room, or even the loo, make sure you have a designated area to focus on work. When work is over, step away from the space, leaving you free to enjoy the rest of your home.

Communicate your needs. This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning—be open with your partner or family members about your work needs and stressors. Explain that you’re making an effort to separate work from home life and ask for their support: it could be as simple as respecting your working hours or giving you space when you need it.

Take breaks. Remember those short breaks you used to take at the office? Don’t neglect them when working from home. Stand up, stretch, grab a coffee, or just step outside for a moment—whatever recharges your batteries! Regular breaks can help maintain focus and prevent work stress from spilling over into your home life.

By implementing these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to managing work stress and keeping it from affecting your home life. Just remember to stay committed to these boundaries and practices, and you’ll be able to enjoy your home as the sanctuary it should be.

What Tips Do You Have for Keeping Personal Life Out of Work While Working Remotely?

You know the struggle all too well: separating your work life from your personal life while working remotely can be tough. But, as someone who’s been there before, I have a few practical tips on how to navigate this delicate balance and keep your work and personal lives separate. Let’s dive in.

First and foremost, create a dedicated workspace within your home. Set up an area where you can work productively and undisturbed, so you can easily switch mental gears when you move between your “work zone” and the rest of your home. A dedicated workspace reinforces that you’re in work mode and helps you resist the temptation to check personal emails, browse social media, or tackle household chores during work hours.

It’s also crucial to develop a routine and stick to scheduled work hours. Consistency is key; it helps set boundaries for you and others around you. Including breaks and a lunch hour within your routine, helps ensure you maintain productivity throughout the day, without bringing too much work into your personal downtime.

Set clear expectations and boundaries with family members or housemates. Communicate your work hours and seek their support in minimizing interruptions when you’re in your virtual office. At the same time, remember to respect their personal space as well.

Taking advantage of technology can play a significant role in separating work life from home life. Utilize tools and strategies like creating separate user profiles on your computer, setting up work-only email accounts, and managing notifications on your devices. This way, you won’t blur the lines between work and personal digital experiences.

Lastly, prioritize self-care and personal time. Allocate time outside of work hours for hobbies, exercise, and relaxation. In my experience, carving out time for yourself is essential to maintaining that ever-elusive work-life balance while working remotely.

So there you have it! By embracing these simple but effective tips, you’re well on your way to keeping your personal life in check while excelling professionally at working remotely. Good luck and happy balancing!

Related & Frequently Asked Questions

Ready to navigate the blurred lines of work and home life while working remotely? We’ve got you covered! Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about separating work from home, offering practical advice to help you create a balanced and productive work environment right in your living room.

Q: How do you separate a home office?

A: To separate a home office, designate a specific space in your home for work only. This could be a spare room, a corner of the living room, or even a converted closet. Keeping this area for work helps create physical boundaries and separates your professional and personal lives. Click here to read our full guide on how to set up a home office.

Q: How do you separate your home life from work stress?

A: Create routines to transition between work and home life, such as engaging in relaxing activities after work hours, turning off work notifications, and practicing mindfulness. Ensuring regular digital downtime can also help separate home life from work stress.

Q: How do I manage my day working from home?

A: Plan your day by setting regular working hours, taking regular breaks, and using time management strategies. Prioritize tasks using tools like the Eisenhower Matrix or time blocking, and avoid checking work-related notifications outside of work hours.

Q: Is working from home happier?

A: Happiness while working from home can vary based on personal preferences and working styles. Some people thrive in remote work environments due to the flexibility and comfort of working from home. However, it requires establishing clear boundaries to separate work from home life to maintain overall happiness.

Q: Is it better to work from the bedroom or living room?

A: It’s generally better to work from a living room or a designated workspace rather than a bedroom. The bedroom should be a space for rest and relaxation, and working from this space can blur the lines between work and rest. Read our breakdown on having your home office in your bedroom.

Q: What are the rules for a home office?

A: Some rules for a home office include having a dedicated space for work, maintaining a neat and organized work environment, setting working hours, and minimizing distractions. It’s also important to keep work-related materials in the workspace and out of personal living areas.

Q: What are the benefits of a separate home office?

A: A separate home office promotes focus and productivity, provides a space for work-related materials and equipment, creates a clear boundary between work and personal life, and can even offer tax benefits if used exclusively for work.

Q: How do I disconnect from working from home?

A: To disconnect from work, establish a shutdown ritual at the end of the workday, turn off work-related notifications after work hours, and engage in relaxing activities that help you transition from work to home life.

Q: How do you set boundaries between work and home?

A: Set boundaries by designating a workspace, defining work hours, communicating your availability to colleagues, and keeping work-related activities within work hours. Use technology to reinforce these boundaries, such as setting “Do Not Disturb” times on devices.

Q: Does a home office have to be a separate room?

A: A home office does not necessarily have to be a separate room, but it should be a dedicated space within your home that is used solely for work. This helps to mentally associate the space with work and maintain a distinction between work and personal life.

Q: How do I split my room into two offices?

A: To split a room into two offices, use furniture such as bookcases or room dividers to create separate spaces. Each space should have its own desk, chair, and storage for work-related items. Consider factors like noise and privacy when setting up the spaces.

Next Steps

Want to connect with other remote workers, contractors, freelancers, gamers and people who work from home who are creating the most amazing home offices  and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office or gaming room setup the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

Best Degrees for Remote Work: Unlocking Your Digital Nomad Potential

The remote work revolution is here, and it's reshaping the professional landscape. But what about the academic ...
Read More

Who Needs Silicon Valley? Discover Technology and IT Services Remote Jobs You Can Do From Anywhere

Imagine this: working on cutting-edge tech projects. From the comfort of your own home. Too good to ...
Read More

Sales and Marketing Remote Jobs You Can Do From Anywhere

There's a revolution in the working world, and it’s happening right here, right now. This isn't your ...
Read More

Show Off Your WFH Setup!

We're on the lookout for the most impressive and functional home office setups out there. This is your chance to showcase your workspace and get featured on Home Office Hacks.

As an Amazon Associate Home Office Hacks earns from qualifying purchases.

Home Office Tours
A Student’s Guide to the Ultimate Home Office by Regina Deleste
In the heart of Manila, Regina Deleste sips from a wonderfully aromatic cup of coffee brewed from ...
Home Office Setup
Ergonomics and Comfort: Mastering Home Office Setup for Productivity and Wellbeing
Transforming your home workspace into an ergonomic haven is more than a comfort—it's a necessity. Yet, many ...
Home Office Tours
Chris Gillespie’s Epic Home Office Setup: More Than Just a Gaming Room
Step into Chris Gillespie's world, where his home office isn't just a space – it's an immersive ...
Work From Home Life
Unleash Your Work-From-Home Potential: How To Transform Your Home into a Productivity Paradise
Setting up a home office is a strategic decision that goes beyond finding a spot for your ...
Home Office Tours
Crafting the Perfect Space: Kacper’s Minimalistic Home Office Mastery
Imagine a world where your office is more than just a desk – it's your sanctuary. That's ...

Rob Orr

Rob is a graduate of Florida State University and the founder and Senior Editor of HomeOfficeHacks.com, a website dedicated to helping people navigate the unique challenges of working from home. As a remote working veteran with over 10 years of experience, Rob has developed a deep understanding of the strategies and solutions that can help people thrive in this environment. He is a respected expert in the field, renowned for his clear, engaging, and informative content. An award-winning web designer, developer, and digital marketer, Rob is also the owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties. His dedication, resourcefulness, and creativity have earned him a reputation as a respected leader in the remote work and digital media communities, inspiring others through his work and passion for lifelong learning.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *