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The Unexpected Benefits of Setting Boundaries in the Office

by Carley Schweet

Here’s the ugly truth regarding our professional lives: often, we value ourselves for our stamina and not our talent. Many of us believe we have to be a “yes person” to be a valued employee or ensure we are the next one to receive a highly-coveted raise or promotion, and we hold these beliefs for a good reason. 

These days, we’re silently applauded when we’re the last one to leave the office or if you’re the employee who is always available to pitch in and lend a hand (even at your own expense). 

There’s really no easy way to say this, but we’re doing it all wrong.

In fact, setting healthy boundaries at work can have a significant positive impact when it comes to your happiness, productivity levels, and overall job satisfaction.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “These boundaries sound fabulous and all – but what are they and how do I even begin to set them?” Much less, “What’s the point of potentially ruffling some feathers just so I can create a few boundaries? Are they really worth it?” 

THE BENEFITS OF BOUNDARIES

In general, there are numerous benefits to setting boundaries in your life both personally and professionally. No, creating limits and setting boundaries is not selfish, and yes, you’re still a good person.

Here are some of the benefits of creating limits in your life:

  • Exhibit more compassion for others
  • Experience a greater sense of assertiveness
  • Needs are clearly communicated and (hopefully) met
  • Become a clearer communicator
  • Feel less anger and more joy,
  • Begin to become more capable of trusting others.

Imagine how these benefits could significantly and positively impact the quality of your work, your job satisfaction, and your stress levels.

EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES

Before we dive into the how and why, we must cover the what. Below you’ll find some common examples of healthy boundaries in the workplace:

  • Clarifying job roles and responsibilities with your manager or team members
  • Setting realistic expectations around your accessibility, project timelines, how much you’re capable of taking on, etc. with co-workers and clients
  • Remaining faithful to your financial worth
  • Communicating needs that aren’t being met to the appropriate parties
  • Taking breaks as needed to support your physical and mental wellbeing

Imagine, for a moment, how your life would begin to positively shift if you focused on creating at least one of the above boundaries in your professional life. What would change? What could you finally let go of? How would you become a happier person?

WHY YOU SHOULD START SETTING BOUNDARIES IN THE WORKPLACE

If you’re not sold on the idea of tapping into your “No, thanks” and “Not for me!” in your professional life, consider the following points.

Have you ever made a mistake on the job because you were too tired or burned out? Yeah, me too.

Intentionally disconnecting from email post-work hours can help you to clear your brain and relax, leaving you with a fresh mindset the next time you step into the office. Focus on creating more clarity where work endS and life begins.

Have you ever been asked to re-do a project because you weren’t super clear on the vision or instructions in the first place? Yup, I’ve been there too.

Not only did I lose my time, but I also wasted my manager’s time, and I needlessly cost the company money. In retrospect, getting crystal clear on the expectations of me and the project I was working on would have helped to avoid this mistake. Instead, I was too timid to ask questions out of fear of looking like I didn’t know what I was doing. Lesson learned.

Have you ever wanted a raise but couldn’t clearly define why you deserved one? *Raises hand*

Many of us take on responsibilities outside of the job we were hired for – which is totally okay – but we’re not usually sitting down and documenting the extra tasks we take on.

Quickly, those additional duties can morph into a more significant role, and you tend to forget where you started in the first place. Keeping track of extra responsibilities and functions – and working to actively re-define your job role – will provide you with additional leverage when negotiating a raise or title change.

Don’t expect your manager and HR to keep track of these things for you – this documentation is on you and is an example of remaining faithful to your financial value.

WHERE TO BEGIN

If you’re feeling excited about examining your current relationship with boundaries in the workplace but aren’t sure where to begin, I encourage you to think about the below points.

Consider the job you were hired on for – what does your role look like now

Are you valuing your stamina or your talent?

What is the most stressful part of your job, and what boundaries could make it more tolerable?

Look at your days in the office through a curious eye, while wondering how the creation of boundaries could improve your day-to-day. Because honey, you’re worth it.

Feature Image via Stocksy

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