professional boundaries

Maintaining Professional Boundaries

As an employer, how do you maintain professional boundaries while developing working relationships with your employees? This question can be hard to tackle alone. What does “crossing the line” look like, and what is your role as an employer in laying these boundaries out for you and your team? Boundaries with your employees can also vary from boundaries with your managers. One of the best things that can help you determine these boundaries is confidence in understanding the “why” behind them. We’ll share what professional boundaries are, the why, and the how, as well as some of the consequences lurking if boundaries are not established well. It will not be a perfect journey, and it may be a little uncomfortable if this is a first for you. Professional boundaries will help with the dynamics and organization of your team. It’s a great way to build and grow your business.

Setting limits as an employer is vital to the health of your relationship with your team


What are professional boundaries?

Professional boundaries are very different from everyday boundaries. Setting limits as an employer is vital to the health of your relationship with your team and their relationships with one another. Knowing how much time to spend in the office, what to delegate, and saying no are all elements to creating boundaries. Also, knowing how your employees should and should not interact within the workplace is vital. Understanding limits will take time and will happen through trial and error. Give yourself time to figure this out. Developing a system will help you organize these boundaries and give you something to tangibly improve.

Why do you need professional boundaries?

Boundaries are made up of what you create and allow. Setting professional boundaries will help your team perform well and create strong connections. Some examples of professional boundaries as an employer include the following: not disclosing your personal information to a client, spending limited time with employees/managers, and not discussing personal problems with your team. Ultimately, boundaries will help your business flourish and protect the vision of your company. It will keep you focused and on target.

How do you set boundaries?

One of the first things needed to be able to successfully set your professional boundaries at work is to evaluate. Here is a quick boundary assessment that may help you ask yourself the hard questions. Use this as a first step to identify where you may have problems and can enforce better boundaries:

  • Have I clearly communicated what my boundaries are with my employees and colleagues?
  • Am I regularly reinforcing these boundaries, and do I feel they are being respected?
  • How am I reinforcing these boundaries, and how is my team responding to that?
  • How often am I addressing issues within my team?
  • How have I prepared myself for when my boundaries are tested?
  • What is most important and relevant, and how have I defined those terms?
  • How do I ensure that I am focusing on what is important and relevant?
  • What do I do to keep relevant information in front of me?
  • Do my boundaries limit my employees from accessing any tools they need in order to succeed, or do they empower them to be able to complete their jobs?

These are not the easiest questions to ask yourself as an employer. Try improving your professional boundaries with a couple of these questions at a time. Give yourself space to think and not rush through the process.

The key things to remember when creating boundaries


  • Clearly communicate boundaries.
  • Continuously reinforce boundaries.
  • Create a structure for employees to follow so they always know what the boundaries and expectations are.
  • Give concrete reasoning for boundaries.
  • Be prepared to have your boundaries tested.


Consequences if not executed well

We all know that a lack of professional boundaries can be harmful for organizations, which is why we’re emphasizing the importance of this topic. Here are some potential consequences to ignoring boundaries.

  • Lack of clarity and direction, which prevent talent from being properly engaged and focused
  • Confusion among employees
  • Disconnection and fragmentation among the departments or business units
  • Lots of activity but poor results
  • Organizational pessimism and powerlessness
  • Lack of accountability
  • Lack of high performing teams
  • Trust breakdowns
  • Loss of respect and trust in leadership


Outcome of well-set boundaries

Lastly, we wanted to highlight the positive outcomes that result when you have well-set professional boundaries. Signs that you have done well at setting up your boundaries are:

  • Employees are engaged and focused.
  • Their focused energy is producing results.
  • Employees are constantly adapting, learning, and growing.
  • Customers/Clients/Market are aware of the positive energy.

We hope this information has given you more insight into the vital role that you have in setting and maintaining professional boundaries in the workplace. It can be quite the challenge but well worth the fight. As you continue to become aware of your boundaries and set new ones, your business will continue to thrive.


Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.


E4 Health ©2020
10 Ways To Set Healthy Boundaries At Work (2019).

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