Studies have shown that workplace stress is by far the largest source of anxiety for American adults and has been escalating more and more in the last few decades. The main reason for this is that technology allows us to live a virtually borderless, 24/7 work life.
Boundaries can resemble huge fences or “not enter” signs. Boundaries help maintain our time, energy, and purpose and how accomplished we feel. Some work boundaries are functional and obvious, while others are more invisible and fluid.
There are many ways in which work boundaries are important. As a starting point, boundaries help protect you by clarifying what your responsibilities are and what others handle. They help maintain your physical and mental energies, monitor your values and standards, and recognize your limits.
Just because you have clear boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t think about work when you’re not working, or don’t think about personal things when you’re not working. There are no switches in our heads to help turn off who we are or what happens to us. Instead, limits encourage you to make time for work and time to recharge. There will be a noticeable change in consciousness that will remove the weight of responsibility in the workplace and make you feel like the day is over.
Here are a few ways in which you can build healthy work boundaries
Understanding Your Worth
If you do not feel enough, you can put yourself in your job and try to see the sufficiency, usefulness, and essentiality of your achievements. The more you do, the more you feel away from having enough sensations. Also, the surrounding people will get used to your level of performance. Rather, even if you want to say no, you are more likely to say yes to what one asks you to do. If approval is enough to satisfy your feelings in an instant, you always ask for it.
Understanding your value means recognizing and appreciating your achievements and what you can offer. You also know how and when you communicate, what you want (or did not) to recognize, what motivates you, and when you cross your boundaries. Emphasizes how much you can speak out. When you value yourself and your time, energy, skills, and expertise, you become a little more specific about what you are working on and which balls you will drop.
Once you’ve established boundaries, you need to communicate them clearly and confidently to your team. For example, if you don’t want your team members to contact you all the time, let them know exactly when you’ll be available for a business chat. It’s important to define what makes up an urgent problem if you don’t want to be contacted while on vacation unless there’s an emergency. Be sure to resolve an issue within a certain period. It is better to strengthen your limits at the moment than to wait.
Learn to say no politely and professionally
Many people find it difficult to say no when they are ambitious, hardworking, and willing to learn and grow. But saying no is a very important skill to respect yourself and the other person. Practicing saying “no” in everyday situations outside of work will help you get used to it. It’s okay to feel guilty when you set boundaries, but over time, you’ll realize that we’ve all gotten used to overworking, pleasing everyone, and ultimately… fatigue. Saying “no” is often a positive thing. You can now forward rejected tasks to someone who has time and attention to other tasks on your to-do list.
Working within the Comfort Level
Personal comfort levels are also important to consider – what you’re comfortable with may not be what others in the office are comfortable with. For example, some people in the office may be more reserved than others and unwilling to cultivate a personal relationship with their co-workers. Instead, they may prefer to keep the working relationship purely professional.
Here, while it’s a friendly gesture to invite everyone in the office to your birthday party, it’s also important to realize that some of your co-workers may feel uncomfortable receiving such an invitation.
Another example is several workers gathering together to talk about their customers, colleagues, and supervisors to relieve themselves. Discussions can be very down-to-earth and professional, or they can be chatty, emotional, and completely unprofessional. But for some workers, having some time off with co-workers is essential to their mental health. For others, they may see this type of behavior as completely inappropriate.
Again, it’s about respecting the different boundaries that people set for themselves and coming to terms with the fact that each person in the organization will have a distinct set of boundaries and standards that they must follow.
Be prepared for pushbacks
Expect some negative reactions from people when you start establishing healthy boundaries. These reactions are signs that the boundaries are working effectively and also were necessary in the first place.
It all boils down to one simple fact. Setting boundaries at work leads to a more productive and enjoyable experience. “Learning to set and maintain clear boundaries with your boss and coworkers is key to staying happy and productive at work,” says best-selling author and productivity coach Valory Burton.
Blurry lines with management expectations, job responsibilities, communication, or other work areas can be stressful and frustrating. Setting clear boundaries helps maintain good productivity and social dynamism in the workplace. By clearly defining career boundaries and priorities, each person can be more effective.