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8 ways to establish healthy boundaries at work

Healthy Boundaries At Work Clear Review

If you feel like your job has you on the verge of burnout, you’re not alone. A Perk­box study showed that 79% of British adults in employ­ment com­mon­ly expe­ri­ence work-relat­ed stress. In the US, stress caus­es around one mil­lion employ­ees to miss work every day.

As tech­nol­o­gy has advanced, the line between our work and per­son­al lives has become increas­ing­ly blurred, and for many, bound­aries have become vir­tu­al­ly non-exis­tent. If you often find your­self tak­ing on more work than you can han­dle or feel under pres­sure reg­u­lar­ly, tak­ing back con­trol is essen­tial. This begins with re-estab­lish­ing those pro­fes­sion­al bound­aries that have been crossed.

Below are eight ways to set healthy work­place bound­aries to pro­tect your well­be­ing, increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and improve work-life balance.

1. Ask for help

Despite high lev­els of stress at work, it’s com­mon for employ­ees to suf­fer in silence. HSE research indi­cates that work­load is the biggest cause of work­place stress, which is some­thing man­agers can help with.

It’s a manager’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to ensure their team is cop­ing with tasks and that their well­be­ing is sup­port­ed. Next time you feel stressed, be sure to approach your boss and let them know how you’re feel­ing, as hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the only way they’ll know you’re strug­gling. Togeth­er, you can review your work­load, pri­ori­tise key tasks and deter­mine which work can wait or be del­e­gat­ed, help­ing set real­is­tic bound­aries regard­ing capacity.

2. Set your own limits

One rea­son work­ers become over­whelmed is that they don’t set bound­aries for them­selves to fol­low. Self-imposed lim­i­ta­tions are cru­cial to main­tain­ing a healthy work-life bal­ance, whether tak­ing an hour for lunch every day or not check­ing work emails in the evenings. Although these bound­aries may seem dif­fi­cult to stick with at first, you’ll soon realise that you can be an excel­lent employ­ee with­out being con­stant­ly avail­able to your col­leagues — and that you’re more pro­duc­tive when you’ve had a chance to switch off.

3. Com­mu­ni­cate openly

When set­ting pro­fes­sion­al bound­aries, you must com­mu­ni­cate these to your col­leagues and man­agers. If you’re unable to take on a project with a short dead­line, be hon­est. If you don’t want your col­leagues to con­tact you while you’re on leave, let them know. Bound­aries can only serve you when your team is in the loop, and if a line is crossed, it’s best to address it. If you have any con­cerns around bound­aries, arrange a meet­ing with your line man­ag­er to give you ded­i­cat­ed time to dis­cuss them.

4. Realise you can say no

    There are sev­er­al rea­sons why peo­ple strug­gle to say no, but this two-let­ter word is a pow­er­ful tool to avoid over­whelm and exhaus­tion. When you’re asked to do some­thing you know you can’t man­age, you must be real­is­tic — don’t take it on any­way and hope for the best, as this is a sure­fire recipe for burnout.

    5. Embrace structure

      Cre­at­ing struc­ture with­in your work­week is one way to set work­place bound­aries that will instant­ly improve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Set meet­ings in advance when need­ed, cre­ate blocks of time in which you’re not to be dis­turbed and set self-imposed dead­lines to help you stay on track. If you feel that you often waste time in drawn-out meet­ings, speak to your man­ag­er about set­ting up week­ly check-ins rather than spon­ta­neous dai­ly calls.

      6. Cre­ate spe­cif­ic bound­aries for remote working

      In the age of remote work­ing, employ­ees often feel com­pelled to be on the clock at all hours of the day. Cre­at­ing bound­aries when work­ing from home is espe­cial­ly cru­cial for your phys­i­cal and men­tal well­be­ing, which means know­ing when to stop work­ing and spend time with your fam­i­ly or mak­ing sure you get some fresh air every day. There are sev­er­al ways for employ­ers to sup­port a remote work­force, so if you don’t feel that you’ve been giv­en the tools you need to suc­ceed, dis­cuss this with your boss.

      7. Take time off

        Anoth­er excel­lent way to set work­place bound­aries is by tak­ing time off when you need it and using this time to recharge. Don’t let the hol­i­days you’ve earned go unused, and don’t take time off only to end up check­ing your emails every ten minutes.

        8. Make use of technology

          Although tech­nol­o­gy can make it dif­fi­cult to dis­tance your­self from work, it can also be the solu­tion. Use soft­ware and tools avail­able to you to help you stick to pro­fes­sion­al bound­aries, whether it’s set­ting up an out of office reply or using a con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment tool to sched­ule con­ver­sa­tions about per­for­mance and wellbeing.

          Clear Review’s con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware encour­ages mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions, boosts engage­ment and sup­ports employ­ee well­be­ing. Get in touch with our expert team or book a free demo to dis­cov­er how we can help you fos­ter a pos­i­tive work environment.