The average time spent at work for most of us is approximately 47 hours per week, and that means that we spend more than a third of our weekly allotment of hours at our job. Making sure our place of work is a pleasant and safe environment is important since it involves such a large part of our time. Setting boundaries here will be crucial to ensuring that our workplace is a place we enjoy being in.
A boundary is a limit that defines your relationship to someone or something, and it can be either tangible, such as a wall or door, or intangible, such as an emotional boundary. Boundaries help to protect us by making our responsibilities clear and to identify our personal physical and emotional limits. Setting such boundaries at work will lead to a more efficient work environment, and keep the workforce happy and production, too. When lines are blurred, such as those in relation to management expectations or communication, can create stress and frustration, while clear guidelines remove confusion and enhance job function.
The three main areas where it is important to set boundaries are:
- Job Responsibilities. These include both the boundaries managers need to set for employees, and boundaries a person needs to set for themselves.
- Boundaries set by managers should involve clearly defining the employee’s role and responsibilities, allowing employees should be able to answer the following questions:
- Who do you report to?
- Who provides you with feedback?
- Who decides what you should be working on?
- Who assigns you work?
- Once manager-set boundaries are in place, employees can establish and maintain the boundaries more effectively. Examples of this include:
- Asking people not to call at home after a certain time
- Limiting times in which they will check work email
- Saying no to projects they are unable to take on due to a full workload
- Approaching a manager about situations the employee feels violates their boundaries, and working together toward a solution.
- Interpersonal boundaries. These are boundaries between co-workers as well as between employees and managers.
- Factors include:
- The tone of voice used in the workplace
- The attitudes of employees toward one another
- The ability to focus on work even with people you are having a personal conflict with
- Limiting work conversations to avoid hot-button topics
- Interpersonal boundaries are vital to allow coworkers to be able to work together productively. Weak interpersonal boundaries can lead to bullying; an individual may be constantly taken advantage of because he or she has not created boundaries.
- Personal Boundaries. These are boundaries that help you to keep a healthy work-life balance. They can include:
- Limiting access to your work email or voicemail while at home
- Leaving a work laptop at work
- Taking vacation time and leaving work at work during that period
- Taking time to actually be offline: no social media, no email, etc.
I’m committed to helping small business owners build their business and to find their happiness, too. Call me today and let’s discuss how we can make your business life even better!