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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Getahead » 5 Tips To Set Boundaries At Work

5 Tips To Set Boundaries At Work

May 03, 2023 09:59 IST
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Be clear about when you're working and when you're off the clock, and stick to the boundaries you have set around when you're willing to respond to messages or calls, suggests Amanda Day, Director of People Enablement at Remote.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/

Even before the pandemic, many people felt overworked and overwhelmed, leading to rising numbers of depression and burnout worldwide.

With the sudden transition to remote work, the lines between work time and personal time became blurred like never before.

Today, many people and companies are settling into hybrid and permanently remote roles, with 44% of businesses worldwide reporting growth in the number of full-time employees working from abroad in a new study by Remote (external link).

These roles have given employees more freedom over their schedules, but they have also made it much harder for some people to switch off and stop working.

Whether you're working remotely or not, it's increasingly common to feel unsure about the point where work ends, and personal life begins.

Here are a few tips that can help:

1. Embrace asynchronous work

One of the biggest benefits of remote work is that you can work when it suits you best.

However, this can also lead to a culture of always-on communication, with emails, messages, and notifications coming in at all hours of the day.

A strategy to combat this is shifting to asynchronous work, meaning working in a way that does not require all team members to be online simultaneously.

When writing a message, provide all the information proactively so they can understand the situation when they see it and respond effectively.

Rather than expecting an immediate response, give your colleagues time to respond on their own schedule.

Write down your processes and knowledge, and ensure that others know where to find it.

Consider if meetings are really needed - if the purpose is simply to distribute information, put the update in writing instead.

Asynchronous work requires teamwork and strong communication, but it can go a long way to reduce the pressure on everyone on the team.


2. Set a stopping point for the day

When working in a physical office, project deadlines often coincide with the end of the day.

Working remotely, though, makes it difficult for some people to let go of projects that could always be just a little bit better.

Plan ahead of time for a stopping point and stick to it. Whether you're in the office or not, create a routine that signals the end of your workday.

This might include shutting down your computer, turning off your work phone, or going for a walk outside.


3. Work from a separate space

When working remotely, whenever possible, find a physical space to do your work that is separate from where you spend most of your time away from work.

Having a defined workspace can help you mentally separate work from personal time.

Make sure your workspace is comfortable, well-lit, and free from distractions.

Invest in a good chair and desk setup, and make sure you have all the tools and equipment you need to do your job.

When you're done for the day, shut down your computer and leave your workspace, so you can mentally switch it off and relax.


4. Remember that it's okay not to perform at 110% all the time

Modern 'hustle culture' has taught us to strive to perform at our ultimate best, all the time. This is not realistic for anyone.

Instead, aim to function at 90% on a continuous basis (sometimes you will need that extra 10%!).

The pressure to always be productive can be overwhelming, but it's important to remember that you're only human.

Set realistic expectations for yourself and communicate these to your boss and colleagues. If you're feeling overwhelmed, speak up and ask for help.

Remember, your mental health is just as important as your work.


5. Communicate and be transparent

When teams are able to maintain a steady culture of communication that is respectful and transparent, it creates an environment where everyone feels okay communicating their boundaries.

Let your colleagues know your availability and preferred methods of communication.

Be clear about when you're working and when you're off the clock, and stick to the boundaries you have set around when you're willing to respond to messages or calls.

In conclusion, managing your time and setting boundaries is essential to avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

With these tips, you can enjoy all the benefits of remote work while taking care of your well-being.

Amanda is the Director of People Enablement at Remote where she leads the People Partner and Learning & Development teams.
She is passionate about balancing empathetic and strategic, remote-first approaches that enable employees to be their best selves in and outside of work.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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