At a time of excessive connectivity through various platforms at work, it’s not easy to draw and maintain boundaries. Thanks to technology, every person in our lives has multiple ways of reaching us and access to us 24/7. In such a case, it can be extremely difficult to set and maintain healthy work-life boundaries.
We often get so caught up in people-pleasing and taking on more tasks than we can manage to seem more efficient. We forget to be assertive and draw healthy boundaries. Because who doesn’t wanna be seen as a likeable, agreeable, and hands-on individual at work?
We’re sure that it must have happened to you sometime that a ‘work emergency’ presented itself when you were on a leave or during a weekend and you felt obliged to attend to it to seem like a good employee. This is bound to happen when you are not setting healthy boundaries at work. Learn how to be more assertive at work with the article; How to be more assertive at work: 7 phrases you can use
Not to worry anymore, we’re here to help you take the right steps and find the perfect balance between being an assertive & an efficient employee. And enjoy the healthy work-life balance that you deserve.
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How to set and (maintain) healthy boundaries at work
1. Know and analyse your personal boundaries
To draw and communicate your boundaries, you need to know what they are. You will first have to analyse them, their limits, and how to effectively enforce them. To assess these boundaries, you need to first come to terms and realise that your work is just a part of your life and not your whole life. You need to treat it that way and not ignore other aspects of your life just to be seen as a good employee. So, the first step to drawing boundaries at work is recognising them.
Dr. Dana Gionta, in her book ‘From Stressed To Centred’, provides ways to actively assess personal boundaries at work:
- Know your limits
- Pay attention to your feelings
- Permit yourself to set boundaries
- Consider your environment
We know that communication is the key to maintaining a healthy life, be it your personal life or professional life. To lead a healthy life at work, you need to effectively communicate your boundaries. It can be as simple as just letting your team know that you’re unavailable after work hours or you don’t work on weekends. This helps you avoid any unnecessary miscommunication while being good at your work and maintaining healthy relationships. This will also help your co-workers to not overstepping boundaries at work.
Remember, communication is the key to being bold in your workplace. Because it is through honestly communicating your boundaries that you will be able to set and maintain them and earn more respect from your peers at work as well.
3. Set limits
Set limits on your work. Don’t keep on working after work hours or give people access to you all the time. Set appropriate timelines for your work and availability. This will help you set boundaries for yourself at work as well as for other people. This will also help you determine how much work you can take on in order to not overburden yourself or not have an appropriate work-life balance to focus on your personal life. Always remember to communicate these timelines and limits so that your team is aware of them and takes necessary action to adhere to them.
4. Pause before responding
This means taking some time before responding to your colleagues or boss regarding work. For example, if you are being assigned some last-minute tasks, take some time to check in with yourself and determine if you have the bandwidth to do them at the moment. If you find that you don’t then, communicate this to them and give a realistic timeline as to when you will be able to do it. This will help you safeguard yourself against burnout and also be more assertive with your peers.
5. Learn to say no
Remember, saying yes to everything and overburdening yourself will only lead to burnout. Learn how to say no to tasks, meetings, trips, or anything that you don’t have the bandwidth for. With this, we are not asking you to shirk your responsibilities, we are simply guiding you to choose them wisely.
This will help you stay assertive and draw boundaries in your personal life as well as have healthier relationships.
6. Prepare for unpleasant reactions
Not everyone will react to your boundaries pleasantly as it might make them uncomfortable. Prepare to deal with those reactions and don’t let them get in the way of you enforcing your boundaries. Their reactions are a sign that your boundaries are working. One thing you can do to prepare is to imagine situations where people might be reacting negatively to your boundaries and think of ways to deal with them rationally.
By respecting and caring for yourself more, boundaries help you lead a richer life, both professionally and personally. By allowing you to work on your own terms, setting boundaries at work helps you stay happier and more focused at work. When you set boundaries, you are respecting yourself and in turn, showing others how to respect you.
So, take matters into your own hands by setting healthy boundaries at work so that you can create the work-life balance you desire.