There are three major types of workplace boundaries that you must be aware of:
- Physical Boundaries – refer to the rules that define your own personal space and touch, such as hugs vs. handshakes at work
- Mental Boundaries – refer to your personal thoughts, views, and values on certain issues in the workplace.
- Emotional Boundaries – these refer to your emotions, which allow you to have your own sense of identity.
Setting up boundaries at work is important in helping you strike a healthy balance between developing professional work relationships and still completing your projects within the deadline. It will also protect you from feeling burnt-out or/and finding yourself in uncomfortable situations that could have been avoided in the first place. If you don’t set boundaries at work, eventually, you will start to feel underappreciated, undervalued, disrespected, or maybe even worse.
How to Set Boundaries at Work
There are certain strategies that will help you set boundaries at work so that you can manage your tasks while still building good friendships at the office.
1. Know your values
By understanding your values first you will be able to figure out where you’d like to set workplace boundaries and set up a systematic rule that will help you get those needs met.
Say, you are passionate about hiking or volunteering at the shelter. Since those activities are important to you and making time for them will help you achieve the work-life balance, make sure you have strict boundaries about being available at all times or working overtime.
2. Turn off when you’re off
In order to fully achieve the work-life balance, you have to be committed to it. When you leave the office, unplug and leave all work issues behind. Focus in the present when you are out of the office. It simply means to refrain yourself from taking phone calls in the middle of a weekend gathering with your family or checking your emails at family dinner.
Try to avoid company-issued devices like laptops or mobile phones. If it is not required, then do not request for it. Not owning one will lessen the time you will spend on checking work-related issues when you are out of the office.
3. Don’t overdo overtime
Yes, overtime is great because you get paid more (or sometimes you get an extra day off). It can also be a great way to make an impressive mark on your manager knowing they can rely on you when needed. However, make sure that you don’t overdo overtime. If you consistently spend more hours at work rather than resting and having quality time with the family or yourself, you will feel eventually worn out.
When needed, you can always volunteer for overtime, but know how much work you can handle while managing the other aspects of your life.
4. Take time-off
Every company is required to give their employees paid time off each year (plus sick leaves). Make use of the time off that is given to you – it is your right to have one. Time-offs are great not just for your physical health, but also for your mental health.
5. Prepare for pushbacks
Building boundaries may take time and practice, and it will get crossed, too. Instead of viewing these violations as setbacks, use them as an opportunity to gain valuable insight and probably work on improving your boundary setting.