Unsure of how to set your own boundaries as a leader or a new employee? No need to worry. This guide contains information and tips on how to navigate relationships in an office environment and more details about setting boundaries at work.
Effective boundaries can enhance quality of work and encourage workplace efficiency. An employee who knows what is expected of them is more likely to focus on their own projects rather than worrying about confusing or underdeveloped expectations.
Setting up clearly defined boundaries eliminates any confusion about expectations and helps minimize micromanaging from leaders. Effective workplace boundaries set rules, give instruction, and define expectations that will make the office a stress-free environment.
In a professional office atmosphere, physical boundaries refer to personal space and physical proximity. For example, a personal space boundary would be respecting a coworker’s desk by not touching their computer or other items, knocking before entering, or even setting up a meeting before taking up their time. Physical boundaries also foster respect for individuals in the workplace by discouraging inappropriate actions.
Emotional boundaries are put in place to manage how you are affected mentally or emotionally by the actions of others. In setting your own emotional boundaries, it’s important to prepare yourself for all types of feedback from leaders or coworkers.
Another aspect of setting your own emotional boundaries is understanding what type of communication is appropriate and inappropriate in an office. Once you set these emotional boundaries, you’ll be able to accept constructive feedback or even recognize unprofessional or harmful moments when they occur.
Coworker boundaries are those that exist between employees. They are limits that exist primarily to keep interactions professional and ensure that work is done in the office. Setting boundaries with coworkers is an important step for productivity. Coworker boundaries include setting physical and emotional limits that prevent unprofessional activities and encourage comfort and peace.
Physical and emotional boundaries between coworkers create a welcoming environment and discourage unprofessional actions that reduce productivity. Here are a few important steps to creating boundaries with your coworkers:
Boundaries as the boss differ from boundaries made between coworkers. These boundaries are essential in creating expectations in the workplace. Well-formed boundaries will create trust, respect, and confidence in the workplace.
It’s not just personal space that needs to be respected – it’s also employees’ and colleagues’ time.
After-work phone calls should remain professional when discussing work-related topics. This upholds workplace boundaries even when out of the office while still attending to professional matters. These professional calls will also protect the integrity of the work and the professional relationship between an employer and employee. The most common after-work calls that are made are ones where the employer calls an employee to ask if they can come in for an unscheduled shift.
In the United States, non-working holidays are also known as federal holidays. These holidays are recognized by the government as days when non-essential government offices, schools, and post-offices are closed. Some private business, as well, observe federal holidays as a non-working holiday and remain closed to the public so that employees can observe the holiday.
Many private businesses, however, remain open on federal holidays. These days can be some of the busiest days of the year. It is common for employees who work on holidays to receive holiday pay which differs from their regular pay.
Setting boundaries during these holiday shifts include having realistic expectations for time-off requests. Avoid favoritism and remain impartial by creating your own rules for assigning holiday hours and days off.
Non-working hours include hours when the business is closed, and employees are not required to work. It is important to respect non-working hours, especially for salaried jobs. By setting work hour boundaries, employees will not become overworked.
An important part of respecting work hour boundaries is setting realistic tasks and goals with employees to avoid the need to stay past working hours to complete projects. Respecting non-working hours can lead to higher productivity since employees will know when they are expected to work and when they can relax.
When your boss calls you on your day off, things can get confusing. Are you required to go in if they call you in even if it’s your day off? According to the NCSL, you may need to go in if asked because of the US At-Will labor law that allows an employer to dismiss an employee for any reason, including failure to come in on a day off, if asked.
Under the At-Will law, your boss can ask you to work on the weekends, even if unscheduled. Legally, however, your boss cannot make you work during religious meetings.
If you have religious meetings on a weekend (or any day of the week) and cannot work on a specific day due to those meetings, make sure to talk to your boss and notify them that you cannot work on those days. Even with the At-Will law in place, they cannot fire you for refusing to work to attend a religious meeting on a scheduled day or time off.
Are you interested in reading more about creating healthy boundaries at work? Here are a few book suggestions that can help you turn your office experience into a productive and peaceful one.
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