I have reached out to my team today to discuss boundaries at work and wanted to share what you should consider setting and putting in place.
You do not have to be the team lead, anyone in the team can make these suggestions.
- Block out at least 30 minutes each day for lunch away from your laptop and phone – Discuss with your project team, where you do not contact each other. I have 12:00 to 13:00. If you do not have a clear period, please change your meetings to fit this in. I recommend getting out for a walk, a change of scene. Please let your managers know, so that we do not contact you.
- Block out a set time during the week to complete regular / admin tasks and Training and Development – block out some time per week rather than it falling outside core hours due to meetings. The work ratio set is 80% of your timesheet on project work. For full time workers, I suggest 2 hours in your diary a week for admin and 2 hours for Personal Development. I do this on a Friday due to being part time but I think it is more effective on a Monday morning and it will set you up for the week.
- Don’t book meetings after 4pm on a Friday – block out the time for yourself
- Try to schedule in breaks between calls (e.g. reduce calls to 45-50 mins if necessary) in order to be able to walk about and stretch every so often.
- Early and late meetings creeping in, so push back on these where you can and don’t book calls that are scheduled after 5pm.
- Internal meeting minutes. Press the record button and document the agenda, making it clear what was discussed when looking back for what you need to listen to.
- If you have a meeting that does not need you to be in front of a screen. Put your headphones in and get out from in front of your desk.
- Practice 5 minutes of mindfulness at the start of each day. I use Headspace, in addition to headspace a number of other mindfulness/mediation apps are available to help people 10% happier, Calm, insight timer and deep meditate (I understand that deep meditate is currently free for the duration of the pandemic via google play).Also Netflix now have headspace on its programmes – worth a look.
- Work, your working hours. If you or anyone in your project team are week on week, going over. Talk to your manager so that you can discuss how to get you back to your contracted hours.
- Say No. If you are asked to carry out something and you know you can’t complete it. If you do not feel comfortable saying No. Review your workload with the person and ask them to suggest what it is that can be dropped to fit this in and if they can approve this.
- Review your workload and see if you can delegate any responsibility.
- Book Annual Leave. With no-where to go, try and take at least 1 day off a month to not work. When you are on leave, make sure to take a break from work: let your wider team know you are on leave and nominate a DoA. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. Try a new online class?
- If you are done with the day. Take the day off! Communicate it, cancel calls and prioritise yourself.
The commitment I made to my team…
- I will try not to set unreasonable deadlines
- I will try to be aware of overall workloads
- I will be here to support you – just reach out
I asked my team to share with there delivery teams. It is so important that we look out for each other. We will only deliver successfully if we are focussed and working at full capacity. This can not happen if we are overworked.
You can have wellbeing policies and initiatives. But how do you change the mindset when we are socially conditioned that we must work hard and long hours to be successful and achieve.
I believe setting personal boundaries for yourself and your team is the place to start.
What are you doing to protect yourself and your team members? Anything that can be added?