Yours, Mine, and Ours: Establishing Workplace Boundaries

Yours, Mine, and Ours: Establishing Workplace Boundaries

When talking about workplace boundaries, it’s not about the old-school traditional mindset of checking your personal life at the office front door. Rather, it’s about how you establish boundaries to work well with others in a respectful, effective, and productive way.

Before we discuss what healthy boundaries look like and how to establish those in the workplace, let’s first identify the symptoms of unhealthy boundaries.

Unhealthy Boundaries

Over the course of the pandemic, unhealthy boundaries have certainly become more noticeable, but they’ve always been there.

As much of the world went virtual, employees were now asked to check in more often than before and even have tracking software installed to see how often they were working.

All-day accessibility without direct visuals of the employees turned into shifting expectations for both managers and employees. From a lack of respect for someone’s time to not knowing when to stop working, these unhealthy boundaries have taken a toll on the mental health of our workforce.

Micro-managing, gossip, lack of respect, lack of communication, and poor mental health can be symptoms of unhealthy boundaries or a complete lack of boundaries.

Healthy Boundaries

On the other hand, healthy boundaries are meant to support both the individual and the company at large.

In a team setting, healthy boundaries look like individuals who can speak freely without fear of judgment, feel their voice is heard and valued, and are able to work together toward common goals. Everyone understands their roles and does not overstep them.

When they get frustrated, they also have a supportive manager to turn to avoid gossip and unproductive behaviors.

Respecting roles, opinions, time, and work styles are all signs of healthy boundaries.

Boundaries and Your Culture

Healthy boundaries are important to the foundation of a strong company culture.

What are the mission and values of your company? Are these modeled within the leadership team, or are these only hanging on a wall to show new employees?

Boundaries = Expectations

When establishing healthy boundaries, the expectations are the core of what needs to be identified and established on a personal, team, and company level. 

What does the organization want, and what does that look like? Reflect on your mission and vision statements and, most importantly, model them. Actions speak louder than words. What you model as a leader will be reflected in your employees’ behavior.

How to Establish Healthy Boundaries 

Follow these three steps when establishing boundaries as a manager:

  1. Be consistent in how you approach your team. This means not oversharing personal information, oversharing with one or two team members only, or being social with only a select few. How you approach one person should be how you approach every person.
  2. Identify what’s best for your team. Be transparent and communicate effectively. Address issues immediately. Set the expectations clearly.
  3. Identify what’s best for your business. What are the expectations from a business perspective? Be clear about these and ensure you’re modeling them for your team.

“Boundaries represent awareness, knowing what the limits are and then respecting those limits.” – David W. Earle

If you’re feeling like you, your team or even your company is struggling from a lack of effective boundaries to produce the business results and respect wanted, let’s connect! Schedule your free 15-minute health assessment where we can discuss your challenges with boundaries to establish healthier workplace habits.

Make sure you don’t miss another blog! Follow me on LinkedIn or subscribe to my newsletter and receive blogs, resources, and freebies on HR and Leadership right to your inbox!