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8 Wise Ways to Better Workplace Boundaries Part 1

8 Wise Ways to Better Workplace Boundaries Part 1

Let’s jump straight in – setting boundaries at work means establishing healthy professional practices for yourself. They can help you stay productive and happy at work and allow you to separate your work life and personal life more effectively. Therefore, they are a professional requirement and will help you to establish limits and communicate your needs at work in a more clear and assertive way leading to happier healthier work life balance and better work satisfaction.

Setting boundaries at also; raises your productivity, lowers work related stress, helps you to maintain a reasonable workload, reduces your risk of burnout and sets an example to others, especially if you are a senior leader or executive, where you can influence the development of a positive workplace wellbeing culture.

When setting these workplace boundaries, you need to focus in some three key areas.

–        Physical boundaries, which relate to your physical workspace and your body. These rules establish your expectations for how people interact with you, and they often relate to space and touch.

–        Emotional boundaries, which help you process your emotions at work. They help you separate your feelings from how someone else may feel without negating the need for empathy.

–        Mental boundaries, which support your mental energy and help you focus when working. They typically relate to your opinions, thoughts and values at work.

To help you do this here are eight places you can start:

1.     Set Priorities

It’s helpful to first consider what your priorities are. This can include identifying both your personal and professional priorities, as well as considering the priorities of your employer. For example, if you’re a parent you likely prioritise your child over your job, you may set a boundary that you’re only available to work during school hours in order to spend more evenings with your child. But you need to take your employer and there prioritise into consideration too and try to find a compromise. If this is not possible then you might need to change jobs if your employers’ priorities cannot match your own. And that becomes a clear boundary for you.

2.     Delegate tasks

Learn to delegate tasks when appropriate. While you may need a managers’ permission to do this, consider asking a colleague for help or to take over a certain task if you’re unable to make time for it. This can help you focus on other more important tasks and allow the daily operations of your workplace to run smoothly. Delegation often can help you manage a reasonable workload while still maintaining productive work practices. Lack of delegation can lead to martyrdom which can lead to high levels of stress and potentially resentment too.

3. Understand your workload.

Learn to understand the tasks that make up your workload in comparison to the number of daily duties you can realistically handle. Understanding these aspects can help you set better boundaries regarding your daily and weekly objectives and help you remain productive throughout the workday. Consider timing how long it takes you to complete tasks or counting how many tasks you can complete per workday. This can help you establish a regular working pace and help set expectations for your role.

4. Take time off.

If your company offers a certain amount of holiday days a year – try to take advantage of it. Taking breaks from work allows you to develop your personal life, take time to relax, preventing potential burnout. Even if you don’t have paid time off, it’s beneficial to plan to take breaks away from work. Additionally, if you ever feel sick, it’s important to stay at home to recuperate and recover instead of working through your sickness. Being a martyr won’t keep you free from mental or physical health issues – effective work boundaries can.

5. Communicate often.

Learn to express your thoughts to others and set clear boundaries, assertively and clarity through both verbal and non-verbal communication. This can help you explain what your boundaries are and why you need them as well as demonstrate your commitment to them through both action and words. Communication often can solve issues that cause the need for boundaries, so learning how to communicate with your employer and colleagues may help you create a healthier working environment for everyone.

6. Ask for advice.

Trying to do it all alone never helped anyone, so if you’re facing a problem at work, consider asking your employer or one of your colleagues for help. They may have experience with a similar issue or can sympathize with your problem. Other professionals also may be able to help you set boundaries and recommend practices for you to adopt in order to maintain a better work-life balance such as therapists, life coaches, business coaches etc.  Don’t be scared to reach out.

7. Set limits.

When you understand your workload, your work hours and your priorities, try to set limits for yourself and others. For example, don’t use personal laptops for work or don’t take your work lap top home on the weekends. Let people know you won’t answer calls after a certain time of day or check your emails after work hours and carry that through into action.

8. Establish a clear schedule.

Try to establish a clear working schedule and share this schedule with your colleagues and manager. This can entail meeting with your manager to discuss the best hours for you to work in order to meet your professional goals and then set those boundaries discussed in the previous point relating to email and telephone cut off times, or developing ‘blocked out, no contact time’ during the working day to focus on specific.

There’s no doubt that setting healthy work boundaries can be challenging. It takes courage to approach managers and employers with tough conversations. And sticking to those boundaries can be even more difficult, especially when we receive push back or we feel like we might not be heard – but it’s a challenge we must face, because if we never try, we’ll never know, things can’t improve if we don’t try and change the situations that are negatively impacting our work lives. 

If you are struggling to make these tough decisions and follow through with these actions, then maybe the 8Wise™ Wellness Programme would benefit you.

Our 8Wise™ Wellness Programme focusses on Mental Wealth to develop optimal levels of Mental Health and Wellbeing, helping to cope, even when experiencing the most difficult times in life and sadly occupational wellness can be a huge trigger for many of those difficult times.  The 8Wise™ Wellness Programme can help you address every aspect of your health and wellbeing and improve your quality of life.

If you would like to book an 8Wise™ session or register for our next 8Wise™ Wellness Programme cohort, get in touch today.

For more information on 8Wiseä and the mental health services provided check out the rest of this website.

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