🔒 Member thread: How do you set boundaries at work?

Share your stories, strategies, successes, and not-so-successes when it comes to setting boundaries at work...
🔒 Member thread: How do you set boundaries at work?
Illustration by Margarida Mouta

This week's members' thread is inspired by a reply I received from a newsletter member about the success she's had nudging her company toward a more async workstyle:

When I started working at my company, I noticed that everyone had the tendency to respond immediately to emails and to often handle tasks that came in through their inbox immediately upon receipt. I was not about to make that my life at work, so I put some really good boundaries in place by setting certain times of day to check my email (i.e., 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm) and with the exception of truly urgent items, not handling tasks until the next business day after they were given to me.
At first some of my coworkers were put off, but when they realized I wasn't going to budge and that I was not only just as productive, but one of the most productive members of my team, they have totally relaxed and they completely trust me to respond and get to tasks when needed. I have a few coworkers that feel like they need to be that responsive and handle incoming tasks ASAP and often complain about working late and not being able to get to certain projects, and a lot of the time they blame it on the company. But through my efforts, I've realized it's not the company. It's up to us as individuals, and through setting routines and boundaries, the company is more than willing to accept a more async way to work (even if it's not fully async!)... I've even had a few coworkers follow in my footsteps!
So, I say all that to say, sometimes setting an example is a great way to change our companies from the inside out. I know it's worked really well for me and I'm excited about the changes I've been able to make at my company.

– Emilia C.

Not everyone is in the enviable position to break with company norms like Emilia. Ultimately, it should be on company leadership — not individuals — to help all employees set guardrails around their work. But the reality is that many companies won't change without individual employees taking a stance, modeling a different way of working, and forcing change from the bottom up.

So this week, I want to hear your stories about setting boundaries at work. What are the successful strategies you've employed? What was the response from your company and coworkers? Conversely, what's held you back from setting the boundaries you'd like to have around work?

Let's help each other to lead by example in our own workplaces...

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