Setting boundaries at work isn’t always simple because there are many moving pieces – and maybe a boss or two – to consider
Fortunately, there are a few ways to not only feel worthy enough to speak up about your boundaries at work but to do so in a way that feels productive and effective for everyone involved.
Setting healthy boundaries in a professional environment – whether you work at a corporate job, are self-employed, or somewhere in between – can have immense benefits on the overall happiness and productivity levels you experience while on the job.
Are you ready to learn how to set boundaries in the workplace?
What are healthy professional boundaries?
Healthy professional boundaries are limits and rules that we follow to govern how we work, run our businesses, and interact with those who are a part of our workday.
When we are actively setting boundaries in our professional lives, we are working towards reducing stress, increasing happiness, and improving productivity by:
Clarifying job roles and responsibilities
Ask your boss for a weekly one-on-one if you feel a bit lost in your current position and expected duties
Setting expectations with co-workers/clients
Which can require being upfront about what projects are/aren’t going to be your responsibility.
Remaining true to our financial worth
This means, asking for a raise when deserved and sticking to set your set payment rates
Communicating needs that aren’t being met to appropriate parties
Don’t be afraid to voice an opinion when something isn’t working for you or you’re not receiving the support you require to complete a task or project.
Taking a break as needed to support your physical and mental wellbeing
Everyone needs a break – yourself included. Communicate to your boss that your physical and mental wellbeing is important to you because not only will you be a happier and more productive (work smarter, not harder!) employee, you’ll be more likely to do a job well done.
Examples of professional boundaries at work
Are you unsure if you need some professional boundaries while in the workplace? Check out the two most common scenarios below that need said limits and see if either one sounds familiar.
Work requests on the weekend
Jenny is headed out of town on a family vacation over a long weekend and is excited because it’s been a long time since she’s taken some time away from work. It’s company policy not to contact employees on the weekend, so Jenny is looking forward to completely unplugging.
On Saturday afternoon, she receives an email from her boss asking questions that don’t seem urgent to Jenny, but she feels like a bad employee not answering right away. Jenny decides to cancel her afternoon plans with her family to sit down and solve the email from her boss.
Come Monday, her boss doesn’t even acknowledge the questions Jenny answered (or the fact that she took time away from her vacation) and Jenny is left feeling extremely resentful. Not to mention, she let down her family in the process.
A workplace boundary would have looked like:
Instead of responding to her boss’s questions, Jenny had two options:
- Mark the email as unread and get back to her boss on Monday as per the company’s policy
- Respond to her boss and acknowledge the email, stating that she will provide the answers on Monday when she is back from vacation
Taking on too many tasks
Jane is proud of the fact that she can “do it all” and her boss constantly praises her for her extra efforts.
Over the past few months, Jane has found that her boss and other team members have been piling on tasks for Jane to complete, even though they don’t technically fit on her job description. Without giving it a thought, Jane takes on each additional request and finds herself working through lunch and staying later and later at the office each night.
After a more weeks pass, and Jane has become completely burnt-out and exhausted, leaving her feeling filled with resentment towards a job she used to love. She considers quitting and finding a similar position at a new company.
A workplace boundary would have looked like:
Instead of merely agreeing to her boss’s new requests, Jane would have stated that she already feels overwhelmed and provided a detailed list of tasks she’s currently doing that are outside of her job description. From there, Jane could have requested:
- An intern or assistant to help support with the additional tasks
- An increase in pay and a change in job title to compensate for the extra work she’s been undertaking
Boundaries for your business
Whether you own a business or are looking to start your own, it’s essential to have some simple (yet effective) boundaries in place.
Here are my top five boundaries for business owners:
- Know your worth and charge accordingly
- Don’t give out discounts that don’t feel aligned with your work
- Set limits on client interaction outside of office hours
- Communicate expectations upfront with brands or companies you choose to partner with
- Speak up if something isn’t working for you
Read next: Starting a Health and Wellness Blog
More tips on creating good boundaries
I believe that all boundaries start with the feeling that we are worthy enough to set limits within our lives. From there, we must begin to uncover what’s important to us and learn how to communicate those feelings effectively.
Navigating the process of setting boundaries isn’t simple, but it is a requirement to live a life that feels happy, grounded, and filled with less stress.
If you need support in setting boundaries – personally or professional – my Boundaries with Soul™ Digital Course could be the tool you’ve been seeking all along.