Christianna Silva has written an insightful blog post on the topic of self-care and why it is such an important factor for millennials. I happen to be in the age bracket considered a millennial and her insights are spot on – I really do enjoy avocado on toast and don’t even get me started on my obsession with Harry Potter! It made me laugh to think that our generation can be defined by a few simple things, yet we have so much more to give! Go read her post on why millennials are so obsessed with self-care.
In my previous blog post, I spoke on the topic of creating a culture of care within workplaces and how this will benefit both the employees and the business! The contention comes in where if we go about this in a sort of lackadaisical fashion, we could be caught building overly sensitive workplace systems where employees bring all their personal matters to work with little to no boundaries around when and where it is suitable to delve into the stressors they are facing.
In my previous post, we looked at the factors that make up a care culture and how to work at creating one. Going hand in hand with that we would also need to look at boundaries to instill within the workplace to ensure that the aim of the workday is still being accomplished. Another important reason for establishing workplace boundaries is that it affords one the opportunity to engage in self-care – work can be seen as a break from pressing personal matters and a chance to connect with different groups of people.So, we might understand why boundaries within the workplace are important, but we don’t necessarily know what they could look like…
It is important for us and our colleagues to have established boundaries to optimize our time spent working (whether that is in a physical or online setting) as well as to increase our productivity. We learnt in the previous post that creating a care culture can assist us in being more productive because we have the space to share with others; this builds cohesion within the workplace and allows stronger teams to pursue their goals for the day. In my opinion, this needs to be on an all-or-nothing basis. It would not be helpful for a care culture to be created if there are no boundaries, and in the same breath we could create a hostile work environment if we establish rigid boundaries with no space for people to connect on a slightly deeper level than just “work”.
Establishing personal boundaries within the workplace aids us in establishing a healthy work-life balance. This could be setting a time that you will stop answering work emails or even having a work phone separate from your personal phone. Another aspect is utilizing your annual leave – it is important for employees to use their annual leave as this can assist in the prevention of burnout (ongoing maintenance rather than a remedy).
Interpersonal boundaries are more to do with the actual workplace and interactions with colleagues and team members. Some of these boundaries could be having a staff connect on a monthly or quarterly basis where the environment is more relaxed. These work well in smaller teams/groups where conversation can be structured in such a way that staff are welcome to share on a more personal level rather than keeping conversation work based.
Some other boundaries could include how team members engage with one another and what attitudes are encouraged within the workplace.
By identifying appropriate, helpful boundaries and communicating them clearly with your colleagues, one can focus on the creation of a care-culture without fear of the workplace/team becoming overly sensitive toward life stressors. Rather, one can create an environment where the genuine curiosity and interest in the well-being of your fellow colleagues’ aids in strengthening the workplace and improving the outcome of the team.
I think one of the most important aspects that I have not mentioned yet is that workplaces are made up of people. This means there will be times where boundaries are breached, and people feel overwhelmed.In this case, communication is key!
If we can communicate about it, we can work on it.