Love at Work: Setting Healthy Boundaries

by | Apr 6, 2023

I remember first hearing the phrase, “Love at work.” As someone who worked all of my professional life in a secular job, that sounded like an HR nightmare. But if we are to truly and fully integrate our faith and work, and love is at the foundation of our faith – it only makes sense for it to be at the foundation of our work as well.

We begin with love because Jesus lived a life of love and commands us to follow. “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Love is not optional for leaders who claim to follow Jesus. Don’t misunderstand practicing love at work as being soft and weak. This is not love the emotion. This is not a feeling. This is love the verb. This is love the action.

One way you can show “love the action” at work is by setting healthy boundaries.

Why is healthy boundary-setting important?

Setting healthy boundaries is an often-forgotten way of showing compassion to not only others but also ourselves. It is such a great way to create a work environment that fosters productivity and better time management and can help us avoid potentially toxic environments and avoid burning out.

As a senior leader or executive in the workplace, boundaries are exceptionally important. They help with time management and competing priorities while simultaneously positively influencing those you lead and encouraging them to set healthy boundaries of their own.

What does healthy boundaries look like at work?

Examples of professional boundaries at work may look like taking lunch alone (out of the office or with your door closed), saying no to work on the weekends, taking a sick day when we’re sick or need a mental health day, and not just “working from home,” and even scheduling time in your office with the door closed or blocking out your schedule for focused work time.

Avoiding gossip or other inappropriate workplace topics of conversation and deciding not to go out on social occasions with colleagues are both examples of personal boundaries at work. And though being able to bring our whole selves to work is important, how much you prefer to share or include co-workers in your personal life is a boundary you can set and communicate.

How can I communicate my boundaries?

In order for your boundaries to be helpful to you and those you work with, they must be communicated clearly and with a respectful amount of response time from your team.

Remember to speak clearly, honestly, and gently and be open to conversation as your team adjusts. When we communicate honestly and clearly, we’re leaving no uncertainty behind our intention and our meaning.

This week, take some time to evaluate where you – and your team – could benefit from setting boundaries, both personally and professionally. We cannot live out love the action at work without them.

Learn more about what love at work can look like for you through the Workmatters Institute; our next cohorts for both young professionals and senior leaders will begin in mid-September of 2023.

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Jessica Simms

Jessica joined the Workmatters team in July of 2021. She was born and raised in New Jersey and lived in Louisiana and Texas before finding her home in Arkansas in 2019. Jessica is an avid Razorback fan and has twin daughters, Austin and Kendall. She is also a member of Cross Church-Fayetteville and is a WMI-Arkansas alumna.