Whether you work from home or not, setting and establishing healthy boundaries in the workplace can be difficult to maintain because of hyperconnectivity.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we need to learn to prioritise our mental health and emotional and physical wellbeing. Toxic working environments can contribute to stress, anxiety, depression and an overall low quality of life. Setting and establishing healthy boundaries in the workplace will allow you to perform at your best and not fall into burnout.
There are different types of healthy boundaries that you can set and establish, and these boundaries can be based around your physical, mental and emotional needs. Overworking and checking and responding to emails outside of working hours are things that can occur when you do not establish boundaries within your workplace. So, it’s important to discover what type of boundaries you would like to set.
Now you may be wondering, “how do I set healthy boundaries, honour them, and implement them in the workplace?” I’m going to share with you how, so let’s dive in.
Understand and beware of your tolerance levels
Ideally, your boundaries should stem from what you value and what you prioritise in life. If you are a bit of a people-pleaser, you may find it difficult to set boundaries due to worrying about what others may think, but you have the right to set boundaries at work. Make a note of what you will tolerate, and what you will not tolerate within your working environment.
Build and maintain professional relationships
Being a part of a team and being a team player is important, but becoming overly friendly may cause some complications. For example, if you are in a leadership position, you may find it difficult to effectively manage performance if an issue arises. This is simply about ensuring there is a balance that all relevant parties are comfortable with, because it is possible to build and create friendships in the workplace when boundaries have been established.
Take time out
We all get annual leave for a reason, so it is incredibly important to actually use it! Sometimes we over commit to our jobs, leaving no time for our personal wellbeing. Taking annual leave (including mental health days) and not working is essential – so is knowing when to switch off. You are not obliged to answer phone calls or respond to emails whilst you are on leave or when you have finished working for the day. Create an automatic out of office response when required and close and lock away your laptop. You do yourself and those around you a disservice if you are drained and burnt out from overworking.
Communicate with clarity
Miscommunication can cause huge problems within a working environment. It’s important to be upfront and honest about your boundaries, and there have been a high number of posts on Linkedin on this exact topic with leaders sharing how they balance/blend their work and home life. Not being on Zoom is not an indication that you are not working, taking your time to reply to emails because you are working on a big project or task is OKAY!
Share your working style and pattern without fear. For example, you may want to let colleagues know that you will not be available for calls after 5pm and there will be days when you won’t be on Zoom, so you can have the downtime to truly focus on your work without being pinged and so on.
Become friends with the word ‘No’
The word ‘No’ is a boundary within its own right, but saying ‘No’ can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to saying it. When you are faced with a job request and you are already at full capacity, express that and if you need support – ask for it. Don’t be afraid to use the word no and always ensure your mental health and wellbeing is at the forefront.
So, how do you maintain healthy boundaries in the workplace? Share with a comment and don’t forget to react to this post with an emoji!
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