Human Resources and WorkforceLeadership and Management

How Should You Set Boundaries at Work?

While it is true that making connections with colleagues at work can improve our overall well-being, it is crucial to recognize that these connections differ from those with friends outside of work. Whether it is with coworkers or your boss, you may want to avoid feeling uncomfortable or making others feel uncomfortable. Be professional, friendly and approachable, but with limits.

Setting boundaries is almost similar to setting limits. In this way, both parties will avoid draining each other and preventing unnecessary conflicts. If you find that a chatty coworker frequently interrupts your work time or your time off is regularly disturbed, take action by setting boundaries.

Know Your Personal Boundaries

Boundaries are not only being set when sharing personal information but also when professionally at work. Before putting a stop to everything, start with yourself. You need to know what they are; if not, you cannot communicate your boundaries. What are the things that are important and okay for you to share? Does it only benefit the person who is asking? This will involve your own beliefs, values and passions. Ask yourself numerous questions and think of the impacts before trying to give out personal information. This will also require a lot of regular check-ins with yourself.

Always Communicate

Being silent does not always solve the problems that you are facing. The only effective way to set boundaries is by communicating your needs. It does not necessarily mean that you need to voice it out, and there are several ways to do it. It could be by using an automated reply to give an unavailability notice, providing clear guidelines on what should not be done, using headphones or a cap as a sign to not disturb, setting an online status or setting a clear time for your availability.

If you find yourself being asked questions that are uneasy for you directly, you may want to start saying “no”. It may be a harsh thing to say for some, but there are also multiple ways to say it. For example, “I am not comfortable sharing this information.” “It is personal for me.” “Can we set up another time to talk about this?” “I am focusing on my work right now,” or “I have deadlines to chase so I might not be able to take on the task right now.”

Maintaining boundaries is beneficial to your mental health and your own well-being. Work boundaries can also be seen, such as not discussing work-related matters with families or friends, avoiding gossip during personal time and only hanging out with colleagues during work functions. Always respect yourself and others, so that your work-life balance will be balanced. Clear and honest communication always works, and it is one of the keys to maintaining healthy boundaries, both in the workplace and in personal life. It can prevent misunderstandings, build empathy and create a transparent environment around colleagues, friends and family.

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