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What Are Workplace Boundaries?

Workplace boundaries are limits you establish between yourself and your place of work.

Do not expect your workplace to do this for you.

Benefits of Setting Workplace Boundaries

  • Avoiding burnout

  • Avoiding resentment

  • Increase of self-esteem

  • Respect from others

  • Leading by example

Barriers to Setting Workplace Boundaries

  • People-pleasing tendencies

  • Fear of confrontation or rejection

  • Guilt

  • Never learned how to set boundaries

Examples of Workplace Boundaries

  • Ending work on time

  • Not reading emails outside of your work hours

  • Not attending meetings outside of your work hours

  • Declining an invitation

  • Taking a dedicated lunch break

  • Taking time off when you need it

How to Set Workplace Boundaries

Identify Your Limits

This could be something you already know, such as signing off work at the same time every week to attend a therapy appointment. Conversely, limits can be something more nebulous based on what comes up for you every time you are faced with a particular situation. For example, if you find yourself experiencing a negative reaction every time a coworker asks for help after work hours, this could be an indication of a limit that needs to be set.

Unsure what your workplace limits are? Go through your day mindfully and pay attention to changes in your mood and physical body. If you find yourself in situations that repeatedly trigger uncomfortable feelings or sensations, this could mean you need to implement a boundary.

Articulate Your Limits

This does not need to be scary! Many times, people are fearful to ask for what they need because they assume the other person will react negatively. However, most people are quite respectful when it comes to acknowledging boundaries. If you don't know, don't assume! The only way to know is to give it a try.

Helpful Tips

  • Be direct, clear, firm and respectful

  • Use confident body language

  • Plan ahead

  • Commit to honor your boundary

  • Respect other people’s boundaries

  • There is no need to apologize for having limits

  • You are not responsible for another's reaction

  • You are allowed to change your mind

  • You are allowed to say “no”

  • You are entitled to not participate in things that don’t align with your values

  • Practice, practice, practice! If this is new to you, start with a safe person first.

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