Setting Boundaries at Work


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A recent article in the Times magazine discusses how establishing expectations for what you will and will not tolerate is key to increasing productivity and wellbeing.

The story is part of an interview with Melody Wilding, a licensed social worker and author of Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work. In the Time interview, Wilding, told “Boundaries are limits or personal rules that protect your time and energy and allow you to perform at your best. Everyone likes certainty and clarity, and that’s what boundaries provide.”

“Sticking up for yourself is particularly essential, when you consider how many people are burned out or plain old fed up at work. According to the American Psychological Association’s latest Work in America survey, 19% of employees say their workplace is very or somewhat toxic, and 22% believe that work has harmed their mental health.”

Amy Cooper Hakim, an industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and author of Working With Difficult People, told Times, “Setting them can be hard. When we can be a bit more pragmatic, we can clearly state to our boss, ‘In order for me to be most productive, I need this; in order for me to accomplish this task, I need that’. Everyone is so afraid of stepping on someone’s toes or making them feel uncomfortable. It’s best to focus on being professional and courteous and clear with what we expect of others, and to treat people the way they want to be treated, but to give ourselves that same level of respect.”

The article includes recommendations for setting boundaries in six workplace scenarios that the Times reportedly discussed with experts.