Setting Boundaries in Work
Now more than ever Boundaries in the workplace are essential to for you to be successful both in your work life and in your personal life.
Over the last 12 months I have seen repeatedly where employees who are working from home are unable to switch off when their workday is over, why is this?
I am seeing more and more people that are unable to separate their work life from their home life. Lines are becoming blurred, even for those not working from home, they have a full office in their pocket, their mobile phone, it is with them everywhere.
Why are we allowing this happen and what can we do to change it?
It really is very simple; it is about setting clear and concise boundaries in work that will allow you to be the best version of yourself while in work and enjoy time off when you leave work. Without setting strong boundaries we risk our work and personal relationships as well as our own sanity.
What are boundaries and why do I need them?
There are 3 types of boundaries we have in work, Physical (rules around personal space, hugging etc), Emotional (your identity in work and how you are influenced), Mental (your thoughts, values and opinions)
What are examples of boundaries I can use in the workplace?
- Saying NO to out of hours emails. (You can specify when, ie after 6pm or 8pm you will not respond, or maybe at weekends, what ever works around your work schedule.)
- Saying NO to opportunities in work that don’t suit your lifestyle needs and are not important to your career
- Turning down tasks that are not in your job description
- Saying NO to being treated less than you should be
- Saying NO to conversations that waste your time and don’t need to involve you
- Saying you can’t be disturbed between certain times (you have your earphones in for example – Do not disturb sign)
- You’re not getting involved in unnecessary office gossip
- Allowing yourself to allocate workload
- Committing to a work-life balance that works for you
- Allowing yourself to speak up and being listened to with new ideas
- If you are out of office sick, you are not contactable.
This is just an example of what Boundaries look like, you can work on this yourself and see what works for you.
The reason you need to set boundaries it to protect yourself from burnout or from situations that are uncomfortable. By setting boundaries you will start to feel more valued and appreciated as you will enjoy the work you do, and you will be happier in work.
How easy it is to put into practice?
- Firstly, you need to decide what your boundaries are and then you need to act on them and put them into practice.* If you don’t, then they are not boundaries, they are only a “wish”
For example, if you decide you are uncontactable after a certain time, then you need to stick to this. If you are leaving the office, turn everything off and walk out the door. For those working from home this tends to be more difficult and it where a lot of my clients find it difficult. However, you need to switch of the computer and log out of everything. Don’t make it easy to go back in to check an email after hours. I would also advise turning off your email notifications on your phone until the next day. By setting the boundaries, you are giving the permission to yourself to switch off.
- Communication is key here. If you are switching off and uncontactable at a certain time, this needs to be communicated to your colleagues/manager. Let them know your time schedule and your HARD Nos. Do not deviate from this as they will assume it is only a wish of yours. If you stick to it, sooner rather than later it will be seen as fact, and they will stop expecting a response during these times. Be clear from the outset when setting your boundaries.
- Understand that this is a change and change sometimes causes conflict. Be prepared for some pushback, however once you are getting your work done in the time allowed and this is evident, eventually as I mentioned above it will become easier, colleagues and management will pull back on expecting updates out of hours.
- Practice saying NO
- Don’t give anyone the permission to treat you in a way that you don’t deserve.
*I have attached a PDF file that is useful in helping setting boundaries
Contact me for more information on life/career coaching at email@example.com or 087 9728431