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5 Tips for Establishing Healthy Boundaries at Work

5 Ways To Create Healthy Boundaries At Work

  • Learn Limits
  • Set Rules
  • Work Within Comfort Levels
  • Address Violations Right Away
  • Be Prepared To Compromise

These tips for establishing healthy boundaries at work should be useful to anyone. This is true for both experienced professionals and new hires alike. Both setting and safeguarding these boundaries is key for enjoying a healthy work environment.

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1. Learn Limits

One of the first things any employee should do when considering tips for establishing healthy boundaries at work is to learn their limits. This is largely rooted in determining individual values. This can take some trial and error, as personal and professional limits may not always be known. It is also important to arrive at the mental state where setting boundaries feels comfortable. By doing some soul searching, employees can use what they know they want to create an effective set of healthy boundaries they are ready to enforce.

2. Set Rules

Once limits have been established, it is time to set rules. In order to protect boundaries, they need to be created first. For example, some people may want to be sure to leave work by a certain time, actually take the breaks they are allotted, limit accessibility outside the office and more. Expecting respect in the workplace is a key boundary everyone should have. Once those rules have been set, workers should clearly communicate their boundaries to others at their place of business. Remember, everyone, including managers, has the right to set reasonable, healthy boundaries.

3. Work Within Comfort Levels

Personal comfort levels are important to consider too. Certain individuals may be more reserved than others and not want to cultivate personal relationships with co-workers, preferring to keep work relationships purely professional. As Inc. points out, don’t do what causes discomfort and stress. Some people may be okay with pursuing romantic relationships with co-workers while others are not. Another good personal boundary is not partaking in gossip about clients or other co-workers. These personal boundaries are just as important as professional boundaries.

4. Address Violations Right Away

Experts agree that boundary violations need to be addressed immediately to have the greatest effect. It is all too common for employees to not say anything right away, stew, be upset, think about what to do and then bring the violation up later when the perpetrator doesn’t even remember the incident. Once someone is allowed to overstep a boundary without consequences, they will likely continue to do so. Be firm and let someone know when they are crossing a line. In most cases, violators are not overstepping boundaries with malice, although that may occasionally happen as well. If the issue persists, a trip to HR might be in order.

5. Be Prepared To Compromise

Part of setting and maintaining boundaries is not being afraid to say “no” to various requests. However, saying “no” in a professional context is not always easy and in some cases may not be entirely possible. Getting around this conundrum involves compromise. For example, a parent who needs to leave work at a certain time to pick up their child from school may be asked to stay late to work on an important project. Instead of outright saying no, the employee should consider offering to come in early the next day or to review the project remotely from home. These compromises allow boundaries to be respected while still doing what needs to be done.

In today’s often high-stress business environment, healthy boundaries are a necessity to avoid burnout, job dissatisfactio, and other issues. Utilize these tips for establishing healthy boundaries at work.