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Here’s How You Can Assert Boundaries At Work and Why It Matters

Explore real-life anecdotes showcasing the importance of setting boundaries in professional settings to maintain well-being and work-life balance.
Cover Image Source: Office inside the Westfield shopping center | Getty Images | Photo by Oli Scarff
Cover Image Source: Office inside the Westfield shopping center | Getty Images | Photo by Oli Scarff

In modern workplaces, maintaining personal boundaries is essential for preserving well-being and achieving work-life balance. Through a series of real-life anecdotes, we explore the importance of asserting boundaries in various professional scenarios. From refusing to work weekends to safeguarding privacy rights and delineating work hours, individuals like Whitney Living, an at-home career strategist demonstrate the power of boundary-setting in navigating professional relationships, per YourTango

Unsplash | Photo by Arlington Research
Unsplash | Photo by Arlington Research

Weekends are cherished for unwinding and connecting with loved ones, especially after a taxing workweek. When faced with unreasonable work demands, Living stood firm in her boundaries. Despite pursuing a coveted job for three years, her boss expected seven-day workweeks, disregarding the office's weekend closure. Living boldly declared, "I don't work weekends," prompting her boss to retract the demand. Though initially feeling like an outlier, Living stressed the significance of setting boundaries to avoid exploitation. By communicating her need for weekend respite upfront, Living exemplified the importance of safeguarding work-life balance. Her experience underscores the value of asserting boundaries to uphold personal well-being and prevent overwork.

Living, a seasoned remote worker, firmly asserts her boundary against traveling for work despite pressure from employers. With over 15 years of experience working from home, Living values the flexibility, cost savings, and reduced distractions that remote work offers. She emphasizes that her decision to work from home is intentional and she prioritizes being present in her own space. Despite facing pushback from employers who insist on in-person meetings or travel, Living remains resolute in her stance. Her experience underscores the importance of advocating for work-from-home arrangements if they align with personal preferences and needs. Workers in similar positions are encouraged to assert their boundaries and communicate their preference for remote work to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Unsplash | Photo by Headway
Unsplash | Photo by Headway

Living values her privacy in an era where technological advancements often challenge personal boundaries. Preferring to remain in the background, she adamantly opposes the use of her last name and refrains from sharing personal information publicly with employers or clients. Despite her clear boundaries, only one employer respected her wishes. Living recounted an incident where a boss demanded a selfie for a social media post, disregarding her privacy concerns. Undeterred, Living stood her ground and refused to comply with the intrusive request. Her experience highlights the importance of asserting boundaries to safeguard personal privacy, even in professional settings. In an age where digital presence is ubiquitous, individuals like Living serve as a reminder of the need to uphold privacy rights and maintain control over one's identity.

Employers bear a legal and ethical obligation to prioritize the well-being and fair treatment of their employees. Living's experience underscores the importance of employers having their team members' backs, particularly when it comes to enforcing policies. Despite facing pushback from customers unhappy with policies, Living's boss failed to support her, often capitulating to customer demands. Fed up with the lack of backing, Living confronted her boss, stating she would no longer enforce policies without his support. Recognizing the importance of self-preservation, Living's firm stance prompted her boss to reluctantly adjust his approach. Her experience serves as a reminder for employees to assert boundaries and protect themselves in instances where employer support is lacking. Upholding boundaries is crucial in maintaining a healthy work environment, especially when faced with unsupportive leadership.

Unsplash | Photo by Brooke Cagle
Unsplash | Photo by Brooke Cagle

Boundaries surrounding work hours are crucial for preserving work-life balance, yet some employers may blur the lines between professional and personal time. Living recounted an experience where her boss frequently called her after hours, even during the night. Determined to establish a healthy boundary, Living firmly communicated that she would not answer calls outside of work hours. While her boss initially struggled to adjust, he ultimately understood her stance, albeit with frustration. Living's experience highlights the importance of setting clear boundaries to protect personal time and well-being. By asserting her right to disconnect after work hours, Living exemplifies the need for employees to advocate for their work-life balance and prioritize self-care in today's constantly connected world.