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4 top tips for setting healthy boundaries at work


I posted this on LinkedIn earlier in the week in response to a key theme we’ve seen emerging over the last few months, and I wanted to share it with you all.

When we ask people what’s one thing they’d like to take away from a workshop, they’ll often say ‘how to set healthy boundaries’. Given workload is such a big issue right now, it seems like a good time to talk about them.

At face value, boundaries are weird things because they’re largely invisible. We bring them to life through our words and our behaviours.

And it’s pretty easy to end up with blurred boundaries between work and home life – whether it’s because of technology (hello emails on phones), expectations, or even if we’re thinking about work during our downtime. That’s a blurred boundary too.

We can also have blurred personal boundaries – maybe someone is in our personal space or has spoken to us in a way that is not ok. Those are boundaries worth addressing as well.

So how do you know if you (or someone else) have crossed a boundary? I reckon the easiest way to identify that is when you feel noticeably uncomfortable, stressed, or upset. Or maybe you feel guilty or fearful. Basically, it’s the sense that something Is. Not. Right.

Here are some mini tips to get you started:

1. Get clear on your needs. What do you need or want to happen right now? What would protect your wellbeing?

2. Communicate clearly. I totally get this isn’t easy, but it’s the only way people will know where our boundaries are. Start small. Try some of the phrases in this diagram as ideas.

3. Be consistent. Being consistent shows people that our boundaries are important. If people know our boundaries are malleable, then chances are they’ll assume our boundaries don’t matter. It’s all good to be flexible – but do it because you want to, not because it’s being done to you.

4. Seek support. Discuss boundaries with people you trust such as a loved one, a mentor or work colleagues. Get ideas of what works for them, and check in with them after you’ve had a boundary conversation with someone.

How do you set boundaries at work? What works for you? 
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