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Setting Boundaries at Work

By Kylie Slavek LPC and Sandy Black LPC

Creating boundaries at work is essential for your mental health and well-being because boundaries define your limits, help you respect your needs, and communicate to others how you prefer to be treated. Boundaries are important because they express and reflect what is important to you, and help you maintain good mental health. Learning to tune into your emotions, values, and priorities will help you feel more confident setting boundaries. 

What are Boundaries? 

A boundary is like an invisible fence where you define your limits of how you prefer to be treated. These fences help to protect your mental health. Communicating your boundaries to others allows them to see your invisible fence. Boundaries that are shared and respected help you to feel safe and comfortable with the people around you. Sometimes feelings of anger, resentment, or feeling like you are being taken advantage of can be signs that you need to set a boundary. Having strong boundaries at work helps to decrease stress, increase productivity, and ensure ideal mental wellness.

Why Boundaries are Important?

Work-related boundaries are increasingly important as hybrid work environments can blur the line between people’s work and personal lives. Likewise, the variety of cultures and personalities at work makes the placement of each person’s boundaries unique. With so many different power structures people can sometimes compare themselves to others or exceed their limits to be a “good worker” which can take a toll on one’s mental health over time. 

Boundaries are based on what is essential for each person’s needs for safety, well-being, and happiness.  

In this way, respecting your boundaries is a form of self-care. When you set a boundary, you are giving yourself permission to say no to things that could otherwise have a negative impact on your mental health. Having healthy boundaries helps you to manage stress. When you honor your needs and communicate them to others, your confidence, competence, and self-esteem rises. 

Creating a Boundary 

Think about this situation and imagine how you would set a boundary. Imagine you are working in an office and your coworker regularly barges into your office to chat, for hours at a time. After a few weeks, you start to fall behind on tasks and become increasingly frustrated that you’re not able to get work done. It gets difficult for you to enjoy your time off work because you feel stressed and worried about meeting important deadlines. You realize it is time to set a boundary. 

Feelings of anger or resentment are often a sign that you need to set a boundary. They point to areas where your values or needs are being overrun by someone. To create a boundary, spend time identifying which values need to be protected or promoted. Aligning with your values reinforces your confidence, ability, and willingness to share your boundaries with others. Maybe in this case you value time management and work ethic. What is a boundary you would set? You might ask your colleague to respect your personal work time between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 or create a system to signal to your colleague when need time to focus. Maybe you simply ask your colleague to knock first and ask if you have time to chat. While each person’s boundaries will look different, respecting yourself enough to state your boundaries and respecting other people’s boundaries helps to create a more harmonious work environment.  Click here (link to how to create a state and maintain a boundary) to learn more about how to state boundaries and maintain them.

Partner with Centered

Help your employees promote positive healthy habits by partnering with Centered. Partnering with Centered provides your employees with exceptional, comprehensive wellness and mental health services designed to keep your employees happy and healthy. Centered provides a comprehensive whole-person approach to mental health and wellbeing. Our solution combines expert-led wellness classes, health coaching, supervisory consultation, and personalized individual therapy to provide an unparalleled, custom, wellness experience for all of your employees. 

Discover the benefits your company will enjoy by fostering an engaged, flourishing workforce, supported by customized services that meet your employee’s unique needs. 

Contact Centered today for your complimentary assessment! Contact information:  phone: 720-417-0879