It's time to audit your boundaries at work

It’s time to audit your boundaries at work


A few decades ago, it was often relatively easy for people to disconnect from their work, and businesses could usually respect the boundaries of a standard 9-to-5 job. But as we’ve become more connected as a society, more jobs are turning into arrangements in which managers expect employees to be available more or less from when they wake up to when they go to bed.

However, that’s not really good for anyone in the long run, because work-life balance is critical to worker happiness and effectiveness. While customers or clients may want answers at any given time of day, expecting employees to be “always on” is really just a great way to encourage burnout and frustration. With that said, it’s probably impossible to fully go back to the standard 40-hour workweek for many people, but it’s important that workers and managers alike can establish proper boundaries so there’s not too much being asked of them.

Setting boundaries and speaking up for yourself will reduce burnout.Setting boundaries and speaking up for yourself will reduce burnout.

The following tips should help you achieve that goal more easily:

1) Knowing when to push back

First and foremost, establishing boundaries is all about knowing when enough is enough, and when that next ask becomes too much to handle, according to Psych Central. When you feel like you’re being stretched a bit too thin, you need to take the initiative to say to your manager, “I’m at my capacity here.” This isn’t always easy, but as an organisation, you should really try to focus on what makes sense for everyone, and establish clear rules to help ensure workers aren’t burned out.

This will certainly require employees to look within themselves and be more capable of recognising when they are reaching their limits, and then feel the self-assurance that they will be listened to. However, when workplace culture is built on the idea that you’re trying to keep stress to a reasonable minimum, it becomes easier to act with that confidence.

2) Keep tabs on how workers are feeling

Likewise, managers and even teammates should try to be more cognizant of what proper boundaries are all about. Inc., magazine, notes that if you start growing a culture in which everyone is empowered to speak up on this kind of thing, it becomes easier for everyone to stay in their lane and pick up the slack for one another. Too often, people feel as though they may be letting others down, when what they actually need is for other people to pick them up.

3) Focus on communication in everything you do

Finally, at the centre of all these issues is the fact that communication around boundaries is limited or doesn’t exist at all, CNET explained. Worse, sometimes it’s a situation where workers are talking to one another about these concerns but not communicating them to their managers.

Ideally, your organisation will be highly proactive about addressing the root causes of burnout. You must make sure workers are able to more effectively establish their boundaries — and that leaders respect what workers are saying — but it all starts with effective communication.

With all of the above in mind, it’s important that workers be empowered to establish all the boundaries they need to both get their jobs done to the fullest extent without risking burnout. Consequently, it’s vital, when training decision-makers, to ensure their workers have access to the skills development they need to speak up and advocate for themselves.

ICML’s Assertiveness Skills Training Course certainly fits that bill, and will help employees be advocates for themselves and stay on the right track. Get in touch with us today so we can begin tailoring a session to your organisation’s specific needs.

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