No one needs a “yes man” in their lives, and you don’t need to be one. Constantly saying “yes” to people may be affecting you in ways that you don’t even know. As coronavirus continues to affect work culture in the UK, and working from home blurs the boundaries between working space and living space, it is becoming increasingly important to identify what your boundaries are, and start putting things in place to protect your wellbeing.
Firstly, it’s important to establish what a boundary actually is. According to Google Definitions, a boundary is “a limit of something abstract, especially a subject or sphere of activity.” This means that there must be a clear threshold between what you are willing to accept and what you are not. In order to establish healthy boundaries, it’s primarily important that you know what these rules and parameters actually are, and what any exceptions might be, so that you can communicate them clearly to those around you.
A violated boundary can be anything from someone asking you questions that feel too personal, to coworkers reaching out to you at inappropriate times. Being in these situations can be incredibly uncomfortable and can stop work from being a safe space. Having boundaries with coworkers helps everyone to communicate in an effective and comfortable way while never feeling isolated or shut out. If you are particularly private, then it can support you in still having a good working relationship with your coworkers without them feeling like you are standoffish or cold – which ultimately affects your working relationships.
It’s important to remember that setting up boundaries is not disrespectful or a rejection of anyone's companionship, but they are necessary tools for keeping you happy and healthy. Your emotional boundaries are just as important as the physical one’s around you. You wouldn’t invite your colleagues to your house and let them do whatever they want in the space, and so you need to have the same relationship with them in your professional life.
Be Upfront and Honest
If a current working situation is not working for you, it’s so important to communicate honestly with your team. You don’t need to have a solution or a perfect alternative; in a healthy work environment you should be able to express your concerns and get support in coming up with a plan to help you.
Being upfront is the best way to help you establish boundaries, because the boundaries themselves have to be clear.
Actually Know What They Are
It can be quite unhelpful to hear that you have violated someone's boundaries, without actually knowing what they are. As previously mentioned, knowing what you can accept and what you can’t will be incredibly helpful for anyone you are establishing boundaries with. We’re quite sure they will have many questions, and will want to start a dialogue with you, so having a strong idea of what’s okay and what isn’t will help this person to engage with you and preemptively understand you boundaries better.
Stay Positive Throughout
We know that someone violating a boundary can really grind your teeth but remember that if it is a healthy relationship that you want then you must start with healthy communication. Avoid accusatory or defensive language, but don’t forget rule number one is to be honest and upfront.
Remember that you are in control and that you have every right to have and express what your boundaries are. Ultimately, in doing this, you will have a more satisfying work life that doesn’t disrupt