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URMC / Employee Assistance Program / News & Events / UR Medicine EAP Blog / September 2018 / Respecting Personal Boundaries at Work

Respecting Personal Boundaries at Work

Respect in the workplace brings to mind words like tolerance, diversity awareness, and bias. But disrespect has a broader brush of issues that can impact productivity. One of them is not respecting the personal boundaries of a coworker.

Do you walk through a coworker’s door unannounced, call after hours when he or she is at home, or sit in a chair close by while the coworker is on the phone, waiting your turn to speak with him? Employees who appreciate the importance of honoring personal boundaries will get along better.

Here’s why: When you disregard personal boundaries, you send this nonverbal message: “I’m more important than you, so I don’t need to respect your space.” All of us teach each other what our personal boundaries are and how we want to be treated. Making them known is a combination of assertiveness, diplomacy, and immediacy. “I would love to speak with you right now, but I need to take this phone call in private,” combines all three elements of how to establish a personal boundary. The most important rule in maintaining personal boundaries is to practice what you preach. If you don’t want people phoning after 8 p.m. to discuss a work issue, don’t phone them after 8 p.m.

Keith Stein | 9/13/2018

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