Our life at work offers us many benefits for professional growth and development. However, when we don’t set healthy work-life boundaries, our work experience can spill out and choke our personal life and relationships.
Technology also affects boundaries since it has made working remotely from anywhere possible. If we continue to ignore the spaces we set for our career and personal life, it will inevitably lead to poor work-life balance. This article will talk about the boundaries at work and how they can affect employees.
What are Work-Life Boundaries?
Work-life boundaries set the stage and provide clarity on healthy professional practices that can help you stay productive and happy at work by separating your career and personal life more effectively.
Boundaries are essential, not only for your sanity, productivity and satisfaction but also for your work colleagues. Without good boundaries at work, you’ll take on a lot of responsibilities outside your job role leading to fatigue and even burnout. Workers who have not set realistic boundaries often lack focus, have lower productivity and effectiveness, poor work-life balance, and decreased job satisfaction.
What is the Importance of Work-Life Boundaries?
Establishing boundaries, especially at work, is essential because they communicate to employees and employers what is and isn’t personally acceptable. Work-life boundaries also help to increase respect, establish standards of behavior, improve communication, manage expectations, and prevent exploitation.
Setting work-life boundaries also helps raise employee work satisfaction, raise productivity, and reduce stress-related to workplace issues. If you want to learn more about organizational green flags or assert a good work-life balance schedule in your career, you can talk to us at our candidate services page.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some types of work life boundaries to set?
- Physical boundaries are the most basic and essential to establish. These work-life boundaries have to do with your space and what you are comfortable with. These boundaries are often respected but sometimes ignored if not communicated clearly.
- Emotional boundaries deal with what optimizes your mental health at work. Managing a solid emotional boundary means you’re self-aware about what can impair your manta. It also mitigates negativity from other people’s thoughts, opinions, or reactions.
- Work Priority And Time Boundaries help you set a clear line as to how often you can take up extra tasks outside of your job responsibilities. The truth is, It’s not possible to take on every charge presented to you, and even if you do, you’ll burn out and be unproductive.
What should I do when someone crosses my work-life boundary?
If someone repeatedly oversteps your space, avoid panicking and over-explaining why you need your boundaries. You only need to re-state your work boundary assertively while being respectful. You also don’t need to talk back aggressively—if you need to, take a few minutes to calm yourself down before responding.
What are the signs of a poor work-life boundary?
Employees with poor work-life boundaries are often people pleasers that can’t make decisions. They are usually fatigued, burned out or irritable because they struggle juggling between other people’s tasks and their own.
They also tend to overshare what shouldn’t be shared, leaving them vulnerable to manipulation.
How can managers help set work-life boundaries for employees?
Employers can use the initial selection interview stage to know the applicant’s work preferences. Managers should also clearly state the job expectations regarding work-life boundaries because sometimes, the nature of the work may unintentionally cause breaching them. With open and honest communication, employees and employers can determine what boundaries work best for them. If suggestions for alterations are brought up, both parties have to state the reason or offer manageable alternatives.
9 Tips to Creating Healthy Work-Life Boundaries
If you find it hard to follow a system that optimizes your professional goals without compromising personal satisfaction, here are eight tips you can follow:
Know what work style works for you.
Your work style often includes what time you work best, how you work best, and where you work best. It also entails how you relate with coworkers, how you want your coworkers to connect with you, the level of technology you’re comfortable with, and your workplace value. When you know what works best for you in terms of your work style and schedule, you’ll be able to set work-life boundaries that can improve your productivity and focus at work.
Understand what your workload entails.
If you don’t understand what your job role entails, it’ll be hard to set boundaries. Knowing the hours of commitment and professional tasks assigned on your end can be used as a good starting point to establish a healthy schedule. This allows you to be more focused on delivering well throughout the workday.
That said, consider timing how long it takes you to complete tasks or counting how many tasks you can complete per workday.
Set your work priorities.
Understanding your priorities helps you decide which boundaries to set and which aspects you’re willing to compromise. To set a work boundary, you need to consider your work priorities, especially in your given role.
Setting work priorities means you organize what should be done at a particular period so it doesn’t spill over other tasks. For instance, It wouldn’t make sense to take on the role of a help desk technician if your job priority is to network IT systems.
Understand and identify your non-negotiables.
Your work non-negotiables are a significant determinant in making work decisions. In essence, they are what you expect from your work, colleagues, and yourself, and are often reflections of your values, ethics and principles.
If your non-negotiables are a time off for two days, and you are asked to work extra hours, you need to have firm reasons prior to responding. If you aren’t aware of your non-negotiables, it’ll be hard to set clear boundaries.
Delegate tasks and ask for help.
Work delegation helps speed up the work process, manage a reasonable workload and increase productivity, but do so when appropriate. After thoughtful consideration, if you have too many workloads that are simply unavoidable, you can consider delegating your task. At the same time, you should respect that other people have their work-life boundaries so don’t overdo it when it comes to asking for help with your workload.
Avoid unrealistic and unnecessary work expectations.
Even when our job roles and expectations get laid down, we sometimes take on more tasks beyond our contract of employment. Now, this definitely isn’t wrong, but the expectations have to be straightforward, realistic, manageable, and negotiable. Work boundaries will help you avoid the consequences that arise when you don’t meet the unrealistic expectations set for you while preventing unfavorable outcomes that can affect the organization’s success.
Set work limits.
After knowing what your workload entails, setting priorities, and understanding your non-negotiables, try setting work limits to avoid overstretching yourself. For example, you may set a work boundary of not picking up phone calls that are not work-related during work hours, or you won’t attend any work meetings after work hours.
Be clear and concise when communicating your work-life boundaries.
When setting and communicating your work-life boundaries, be honest, clear and concise. Doing this leaves no uncertainty behind your intention and reasoning. Colleagues and employers will also be able to understand your boundaries better and even help you maintain them.
While communicating your boundaries, it’s essential to learn how to politely say no in work situations. It may be hard, but it’s crucial to be assertive with your boundaries. Plus, it’s also healthy and acceptable to respectfully decline some work requests.
Remote work needs boundaries too.
Working from home is good, but most people misuse the opportunity to overwork or underwork. Unknowing to many people, a crucial aspect of remote work is setting work-life boundaries as there can be situations from home that can eat into work hours and vice versa.
Initially, you need to identify distractions to your productivity at home and during work hours. You also need to have a thorough conversation with your coworkers to ensure that your boundaries during remote work are understood and respected. It will help if you are also mindful of your working hours, as it can be easier to work longer than necessary when working from home.
To wrap up,
Taking control of your work life by setting healthy boundaries can take time, effort and practice, but they are worth it. Work-life boundaries help you identify what is essential and what isn’t. Remember, boundaries at work will get crossed, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Prioritize restoring your work-life boundaries and treat any violations as an opportunity to build more boundaries.