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Your Guide To Setting Boundaries At Work

Hopefully, the words you don’t end up saying during your final moments on Earth are, "If only I had spent more time at the office.” That would be a unique case, if any, to say the least. What is not unique, however, are the many instances where employees have forgotten to draw the line between their life and work. Establishing a clear boundary between the two starts by setting boundaries, according to an article by Human Workplace CEO and Founder Liz Ryan:

A new muscle all of us are growing is the muscle called Setting Boundaries. You can't set boundaries at work until you have a clear sense of what's reasonable and what's unreasonable when it comes to your commitment to your job.

Ryan enumerates a list of five things employees owe his/her employer as well as the five things they don’t. This may be especially useful to the Filipino workplace, which has shown the ability to blur the lines between personal and work endeavors:

Five things you owe your employer

​1. Your best work every day – Do and give your best at work with what you have, where you are, day in and day out. You owe it to the organization, your boss, teammates, and most importantly, to your valued customers.

​2. Your creative solutions – Don’t forget to bring and utilize your all of your brain and heart in addressing work problems.

​3. The truth – Honesty is the best policy. Live authentically at work by speaking not only the truth but also your truth as well.  Shy types, break out of your shell.

​4. TLC – This doesn’t involve playing the hit songs of a famous girl group but making sure your stakeholders are given the utmost care and concern in all potential and actual dealings.

​5. Your integrity – Lead by positive example. Never badmouth your employer as a tool to make your problems disappear. If it comes down to that, apply somewhere else.

The five things you DON’T owe your employer

​1. Your contacts – Your contacts are not for company consumption. It is not ethical for a company to require their employees to hand over names of your contacts to add to its prospect list.

​2. Your health – On the heels of a high fever and getting an order from your boss to report to work? Time to log on to your favorite job search site. Good health is wealth and a good employer plays a hand in maintaining your well-being.

​3. Your personal life –Your son’s high school graduation coming up in the weekend and your boss asks you to report to work that day? Ryan suggests using the “I wish I could but it’s impossible” script. Make sure that your “personal” agenda, through relationships or projects outside of work that inspire passion and boundless energy, do not stay neglected. Stand your ground.

​4. Unearned loyalty – Beware of organizations that exhibit “entitlement” issues such as “Be loyal to this company since this is where you work.” It means also taking the time to take care of you and your family’s interests, before your employer’s, when a good opportunity presents itself.

​5. Your soul – Work should bring out the best in you, give your life meaning, and contribute to the type of positive person you aspire to be or the constructive values you believe in.

Set boundaries because you can.  Because you owe it to yourself to live a life full of happiness, purpose, and cherished memories not just at work but more importantly, outside of work. Live by the words of American author, journalist, and opinion columnist Anna Quindlen, who said, “Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That's what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first.”

Photo by Zenes M