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Setting Boundaries for Admins in Remote Work Settings

July 1, 2024

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Remote admin juggling emails, phone calls, and video meetings from a co-working space.

Remote work has become the new reality in the workforce, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrative professionals have adapted to this shift, transitioning their responsibilities to function effectively from home. 

However, even admins who don’t work in an office must set boundaries to achieve high productivity while maintaining personal well-being. Research finds remote employees work 10% more hours than in-office employees, working more than 40 hours per week. In remote work, administrative professionals face unique challenges like managing team communications, handling work outside of office hours, and overseeing virtual team dynamics.

While some states are considering legislation to prioritize work-life balance by limiting after-hours communication, here are some recommendations to set those boundaries yourself as an admin professional.

Proven Tips for Setting Professional Boundaries

Establish Clear Working Hours

Without the set start and stop times of a physical office, it is important to establish firm working hours. Communicate your availability to your team members and supervisor so they know when you are actively working and focused on tasks. For instance, set specific hours like 9 AM to 5 PM, and make sure these are visible on your calendar. Working across different time zones adds complexity, but tools like World Time Buddy can aid in scheduling. Setting specific work hours and using tools like calendar blocks can help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Create a Dedicated Workspace

Creating a dedicated workspace is crucial for focusing on tasks. If you work from home, separate your workspace from personal areas to minimize distractions. Ensure the space is ergonomically designed with a comfortable chair, proper lighting, and necessary supplies. This separation helps signal the start and end of the workday, helping you reinforce your boundaries for yourself, as well as your colleagues.

Prioritize Tasks

Remaining focused and prioritizing tasks can be challenging in a remote setting. Use tools like task lists and project management software, such as Asana or Trello. These tools can help you organize and track tasks efficiently. Focus on high-priority tasks during your peak productivity times and consider scheduling blocks on your calendar for deep work.

Communicating Boundaries Effectively

Communicating your boundaries can be difficult with coworkers and supervisors, but being open, honest, and transparent about your expectations is important. Proactively communicate if you think your workload needs to be aligned with your working hours to set realistic deadlines and response times. Clear protocols for virtual meetings and email response times ensure everyone stays on the same page. 

Encourage respect for each other's working hours and don’t expect a team member to communicate outside their working hours—and if you can, avoid reaching out to them when they aren’t scheduled to be online. Regular communication is essential; schedule check-ins weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to align on tasks and deadlines.

Leverage Technology to Enforce and Maintain Boundaries

The remote work setting relies heavily on technology, also making work more accessible in the off hours. Use technology to enforce and maintain boundaries, not to overwork yourself. 

Utilize status updates on your organization’s communication platforms, like Slack or Teams, to let others know when you are available. Setting a public status can indicate your availability clearly. Automate email responses outside of work hours to ensure you will follow up during your scheduled work time. Utilize calendar tools to block out focused work periods so others know not to book you for meetings or events. Remember, take screen breaks and step away from the remote work bubble to avoid burnout and prioritize your well-being.

Implement Strategies for Success and Join Our Webinar

Whether working remotely full-time or on a hybrid schedule, these strategies can help you set yourself up for success as an admin professional. Implementing these tips will lead to improved work-life balance, increased productivity and job satisfaction, and enhanced mental and physical well-being. 

Explore more about virtual and in-person work environments by registering for our upcoming webinar.

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