4 Tips On How To Set Boundaries At Work

How to Set Boundaries at Work

Tips On How To Set Boundaries At Work

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you have difficulty refusing your boss? Does your boss dump every one of his tasks on you which makes your work schedule unmanageable? If you find yourself agreeing to these questions, you haven’t established any boundaries at work, which has made you feel overwhelmed and out of control.

According to AIS (The American Institute of Stress), it has been found that job stress is one of the common stressors for most American adults. The reasons for high job stress are associated with an unbalanced ratio of less control of the job with packed demands on the heads of the employees, which leads to increased chances of cardiovascular diseases and many other disorders in them.

The primary reason behind this is the advanced technology and interconnectivity that leads the workers to work 24/7 without having any boundaries.

However, do not worry because this article will provide you with comprehensive guidelines on how to set boundaries at work, which will allow you to work smarter and boost your productivity. 

What are the Different Types of Boundaries? 

If you feel confused about the boundaries you need to set, look at the multiple types of boundaries we have differentiated for you. It is undoubtedly some extra work and might make you feel hesitant, but it will answer the question of how to set boundaries at work.  

Physical Boundaries 

Physical boundaries comprise your physical workspace and your body. These boundaries establish the expectations of how people should react to you, your space, and your touch. Following are examples of physical boundaries;

  • Offer a handshake than a hug
  • Avoid attending work events after 7.00 p.m.
  • Do not take any work responsibilities on weekends
  • Make sure you use your sick and mental health days

Emotional Boundaries

These boundaries help you to regulate your emotions at work and allow you to differentiate your feeling from someone else’s without removing the element of empathy. Emotional boundaries are difficult to spot, but necessary to disallow someone else’s unhappiness to affect yours. They include;

  • Have a conversation with your employer about how you would like to give or receive feedback
  • Do not engage in amplifying somebody else’s bad mood or outburst
  • Create an appropriate work-life balance 

Mental Boundaries 

Mental boundaries are essential to driving your focus to work; it is only possible if you save your mental energy from draining. These are the following examples of mental boundaries; 

  • Avoid engaging in conversations about specific topics (religion, personal life, and politics)
  • Say no to the water cooler talk that might lead to gossiping about anybody in the office
  • Establish the set hours of working and stick to them 

How to set Boundaries at Work? 

Establishing boundaries at work is a step-by-step process. The easy way to set boundaries is when it is your first day at work; because that’s when the basics of starting and ending time for the work day, overtime circumstances, and working from home conditions are discussed. But, if you are already employed and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon, then do not worry because our tips on how to set boundaries work will come as your savior.

Do a Self-Assessment to consider your Personal Boundaries

One of the ways on how to set boundaries at work comes with evaluating what your boundaries are, their limitations, and how to set them. Your boundaries will be a product of your life experiences and your core values.

Aside from the job, the boundaries stem from your personal life, relationships, passion, and the personal space to reflect on. 

Consider your workplace’s environment, and assess its advantages and disadvantages. To consider your boundaries, you should know your limitations and how you can handle certain things. Also, pay attention to your feelings, and notice what causes a negative or positive emotion. 

Communicate your Boundaries Upfront 

The next step on how to set boundaries at work entails voicing your boundaries to your co-workers and the boss. The tip for communicating will be evident throughout the article to save yourself from future potential communication errors. So, have an open and honest conversation about your boundaries. 

The wisest action would be not to let all your boundaries come out. Take one step at a time, see what works and what doesn’t, and then form your boundaries accordingly. For instance, it could be as easy as communicating that you don’t answer emails after work or letting your co-workers know that you don’t engage in futile gossip. 

Give a Sign when your Boundary is Violated 

State how you want your boundaries to be maintained so you can support yourself, your team, and your company. When you see your boundary getting violated, bring it up immediately. Voicing your concern at the earliest would aid in maintaining its poignancy, and the person violating would be able to understand its importance better. 

Another tip on how to set boundaries at work would be to focus on being compassionate when telling people about your boundaries.

Delegation is Necessary 

Delegation is crucial to answering how to set boundaries at work. One of the good characteristics of a leader is to delegate tasks when necessary if one feels overwhelmed with the number of projects they have been allotted under tight deadlines. 

So, if you are dumped with many workloads, this tells you that you haven’t done an excellent job delegating. But don’t worry, because you can learn this skill over time, by trusting your team and allocating responsibilities according to their strengths.

This will help you to work on other significant tasks, not overlapping with your daily operations, and help you to maintain effective work practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions workers have when they work on how to set boundaries at work. 

What to do when somebody breaks my boundary? 

Building boundaries does not happen overnight. If somebody breaks it, then use it as a chance to communicate when it is fitting for them to disturb you and plausibly expect from you.

How to say No respectfully? 

Instead of refusing them without reason, focus on explaining why you can’t. Try to explain how it will affect your projects, for instance, ‘If I spend time on project Y, then I won’t get enough time to work on Project X. 

What are some of the responses I can use for boundary breaching?

There are so many sentences or phrases you can use to create boundaries. Saying ‘this doesn’t work for me’ is the most common phrase to address boundary breaching while allowing space to give alternative options. 


Setting boundaries consumes time and energy. There will be times when boundaries will get crossed, and side steps will be taken. But, instead of seeing boundary breaching as negative, learn from it by gaining insights on how you can improve your boundary setting, and how this article can get you started with how to set boundaries at work.


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