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Work-life balance is one of the biggest challenges for many workers today. That’s arguably been the case since email became common in the late 1990s. Freelancers and talent agents certainly deal with this issue on a daily basis, and have for years. However, with the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s become a more pressing issue for many more people. Maintaining a healthy division between work life and home life is a challenge when there is so much overlap between the two categories. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that many people work, at least in the short term. Many offices asked people to work from home instead of going into the building and working there. This was a big change for millions of workers across the country. Although most people already had internet access at home, there were real challenges that came along with the work at home arrangement. One of the biggest ones was how to make space for business while still respecting family time and privacy.

For example, many people are taking conference calls at home over video right now. This is a big change for them. It’s a little nerve-wracking to literally invite everyone from the office into a living room. It’s even more challenging when kids are home from school and possibly making loud noises in the background. There are also families where two adults are working from one home. So it can be important to ensure that everyone has enough space and privacy to do what they need to do.

The key in managing this challenging issue is the same as most others. Effective communication is the best way to set healthy boundaries on both sides of the work-life divide. On the one hand, it may be setting boundaries on noise levels and behaviors with family members. On the other side of that divide, it may be about having a boundary with co-workers. 

For example, it’s appropriate for most workers to set their phones aside after a certain hour. For example, it’s understandable that many 9-5 office workers wouldn’t be available late at night, except for real emergencies. Just because everyone is now working from home, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re working 24 hours a day.  Be flexible, be responsive, and breathe.