6 Ways to Set Better Boundaries with Your Employees
As an employer, it is important to be aware of what your employees need and how you can help set better boundaries that will benefit both of you.
Implementing boundaries is vital to ensuring work-life balance. In fact, work-life balance ranked second in JobStreet’s Decoding Global Talent report. This rings true whatever the work set-up be it remote, on-site, or hybrid.
Here are 6 tips for creating work boundaries for employers and team leaders that can help them create a calmer, more productive work atmosphere and ultimately, help you retain talent better.
How to set boundaries at work
1. Define work boundaries and expectations with your team, especially if working from home or in an office-home hybrid work environment.
During work hours, everyone should be focused on their tasks. But after office hours, it’s time to shut down the computer and “go home” to focus on other things such as family and friends. But many workers feel the compulsion to work more from home. Since their work life is now located in two different places, it becomes difficult to see the boundaries between them. Leaders should take the initiative to create boundaries and expectations with the input of their employees or team.
When working from home, it’s easy to forget about things like taking time off or even just getting out of your chair for a nice stretch. While many employers are concerned about distractions at home affecting work productivity, they must also understand that work distractions are also affecting their downtime and work boundaries since employees end up receiving more emails and messages that they feel compelled to answer even after work hours.
Also read: 5 Best Practices to Working from Home
2. Create Routines.
Whether your employees are working remotely, on-site, or hybrid work, accounting for non-work routines can help set better boundaries. These are the cycles of home life that simply need to be accommodated such as cooking, cleaning, caring for dependents and other domestic tasks. Set up employee schedules that allow for such tasks. It is inevitable and employers should keep this in mind.
Another tip is to pencil in meeting-free days wherein employees are able to catch up with their deliverables without being interrupted by multiple meetings. By creating routines employees will be able to devote time to their office-related tasks while managing the daily requirements of their home life.
3. Stay Connected.
One of the biggest losses felt by employees in a work from home environment is social interaction with co-workers. Make time to message or call your employees and see how they’re doing. After all, the human connection should never be lost, whether you’re in the office or working remotely.
Be proactive and look after your team. Many companies have begun making sure that their employees' work boundaries are maintained to reduce stress. Checking in with them and ensuring that their workload isn’t making them burn out improves employee retention and reduces the need for new hires that will need training.
It is useful to note that while interacting with bosses and co-workers is a good thing, interacting in a professional manner is also important. Be aware not to overshare. Workplace codes of conduct should still be observed.
Also read: 5 ways for SMEs to boost employee engagement
4. Try shorter work weeks
Work boundaries are what gives you control over your life, especially on workdays. The boundaries you set are important, not just for your own sake but for the sake of each of your employees or team members. Enter the 4-day work week, or Thri-day or Friday Jr. as it is now being called by US businesses making the switch.
It may seem counterproductive but companies that have been experimenting with 4-day work weeks have reported very positive results. Labor time may be reduced but employers and employees end up with better productivity in the long run. Glorifying work or perceiving work to be a never-ending rat race does neither the employer nor employee any good. Those who are able to shut off during designated downtime become happier and ultimately better employees.
Block off ideal periods of the month or quarter where all employees can have quality downtime.
The majority of workers worry about not being viewed as team players and therefore uncomfortable with setting work boundaries. This is causing immense work stress and an inability to find that elusive work-life balance. Creating work boundaries that benefit everyone is a great way to minimize employee burnout.
Mandating some time off occasionally is a useful strategy to get your employees some much-needed rest and relaxation while also giving them enough time to plan out their “vacation” by scheduling work deliverables etc.
In fact, House Bill 6253 also known as the ‘Mental Wellness Leave Act ws filed in July 2021, with the goal of granting workers five days to focus on their mental health needs.
At the end of the day, It is always appreciated when leaders are sincere in getting their employees to take time off. Coordinating weeks off for your team also ensures that your employees are able to use the vacation days they have banked.
6. Strengthen your team productivity by delegating work to the right people
It is important that employees build upon their skillset, but such things must be cultivated. While leaders who can mentor are essential to creating better, smarter workers, a smart mentor knows that this is the first step in being able to delegate work properly.
Better trained workers mean you will be able to delegate certain jobs to team members who are already adept at the work at hand. Play to each employee’s strength. Employers and team leaders who are able to delegate properly make a huge impact on the productivity of the team, lessening the workload of other workers who may not be as experienced or adept at the task at hand.
The employees who gain knowledge through mentorship are also those who most likely will, in turn, coach and train their direct reports. The leader most employees and potential hires would like to work with are great mentors who listen carefully to their needs and work ambitions and help them come to fruition.