Employee boundaries: An employee who knows his or her boundaries and clearly indicates them is an asset to a company. Unfortunately, there are few such employees. Most ignore their stress and go on and on. Until it gets all too much and they are at home with a burnout.

That is the last thing you want. An employee who experiences too much stress for too long does not maintain his efficiency. Once they are at home, they are a major expense. And colleagues will have to fill the empty space. As a result, they too experience more stress. A situation that you must prevent at all times.

But how important are boundaries and what are the consequences if employees do not clearly set their borders? As a supervisor, can you help your employees with this? And what happens if you ignore and exceed these boundaries? What are the financial consequences for the company?

Set boundaries or continue to work?

In today’s work culture, it is a challenge for many employees to manage their emotions and clearly state their boundaries. Often things remain undiscussed because there is no time to comment on them. In many companies, there is a “not appointing but working on culture”. Guarding your boundaries is not made easier.

If an employee nevertheless indicates his boundaries, this is often seen as a failure. But it is actually very brave for an employee to ring the bell on time. Of course, he could have walked on until it really didn’t work anymore. But then he is at home. Costing the company money and now it is too late for prevention.

Giving employees the space to indicate their boundaries to managers ensures a healthy working culture.

Allow space for employees’ boundaries

It is precisely by giving employees the space to set their boundaries clearly that leads to more productivity. When an employee experiences stress, he will only notice this after a while. If it lasts longer then the frustrations come. The body will begin to protest, resulting in more sick notifications.

If you only then intervene you are a train too late. Learn to recognize the signals as a manager. Address an employee if you suspect that he or she is blurring the boundaries. It is precisely this conversation that prevents worse complaints and unreliabilities. Together a suitable solution can be found.

By removing the obstacles for your employees in this way, there is room for conversation. A conversation that will largely relieve the stress. Because recognition already provides improvement.
Actively dealing with stress prevention in the workplace is the way to turn negative stress into something positive. Give your employees the space to indicate their boundaries, without having to judge them immediately.

Often it only takes a few minutes a day. Listen to your employee, discuss the problems, take him or her seriously. Prevention is better than cure.

opportunity to indicate boundaries

Set boundaries in the workplace

Respectfully setting borders requires a certain degree of assertiveness. Because sometimes it is necessary to say ‘no’ to a colleague who asks for help. There is already too much work, and an extra job will ensure that all jobs are not finished on time. However necessary it is, many people have difficulty saying ‘no’.

The boundaries are being stretched and pushed. Because they want to be a helpful colleague, or they know that their colleagues will not accept a ‘no’.
But not setting boundaries in the workplace often has major consequences. Your own work is not finished on time. Unnecessary overtime. A deadline that is not met. And the next time the same colleague arrives with extra work again.

A stressful vicious circle has begun. Employees who do not state their boundaries experience unnecessary stress. Unhealthy stress can quickly lead to burnout.

Why setting boundaries is so important

Borders are in fact nothing more or less than a set of rules that make dealing with others easier. Setting clear boundaries offers the other person clarity and gives you personal space.

When clear boundaries are missing, this gives a lot of stress. This can be expressed not only mentally, but also physically. Something as simple as a stiff neck and shoulders is often the result of too much pressure. The body indicates that a boundary has been exceeded. Negative emotions, such as anger, indignation or frustration, are also due to stress and physical problems.

An employee who suffers from stress will never be able to function optimally.

How do employees perform when boundaries are ignored?

More and more employees experience a high workload. Keeping all the balls in the air seems no more than normal. They do not want to be inferior to colleagues or to drop their colleagues by leaving jobs out. Frequent overtime and taking work home ensures that the project is finished anyway.

But the workload continues to rise. Employees start to complain that their goals are not achievable. But you as a manager are also busy with the growing company. The working atmosphere changes from productive to frustrated. The boundaries are indicated but ignored.

A serious signal to think about. Employees who indicate their boundaries have an important message. If you do not intervene on time, the proverbial bomb will burst sooner or later, and it will be too late. Employees end up sitting at home stressed out. The company lacks valuable employees and the work still remains.

Can we help you?

Leave us your information and one of our coaches will contact you.

Take the boundaries of employees seriously

A company can only become successful with good employees. They are the driving force within a company. Therefore, take the boundaries of employees seriously. Identify the consequences for the company. What would happen if one or more employees were left at home with burnout complaints?

Fortunately, it does not just happen like that. It requires chronic stress. It often builds up over several years. Intervening in time when employees indicate that this is no longer possible is therefore important to maintain a healthy corporate culture.

Consequences for the company

Crossing the boundaries of employees certainly has consequences for a company. If nothing is done about years of stress at work, this will be reflected in the level of sick leave.

If one of your employees goes home with burnout, they will not just come back when they feel ok. Recovering from burnout often takes about 6 to 9 months, but sometimes longer. And sick leave is not the answer to this problem. Intensive support is needed to get this employee back to work.

Returning to the workplace as quickly as possible is also not an option. The burnout comes back with a vengeance if the recovery process is rushed or forced. No one benefits when this happens. Major changes are needed. Both in the person, who will have to become assertive, and in the working conditions.

Do not think that it is not too bad in your company that your colleagues wouldn’t suffer burnout. According to the TNO, at least 1 in 7 employees have complaints that indicate a burnout, And these numbers will only increase in the coming years.

Find out how you can teach your employees to be more assertive at work.

Less effective stressed employee

Why don’t employees always set boundaries?

Employees who indicate their boundaries can be difficult for managers. But it does provide clarity. It gives the possibility to tackle the problem before it really becomes a serious issue.

But often employees do not indicate their boundaries. This makes it difficult for you, as a manager, to determine how much work you can still place with someone.

Many people find it difficult to set boundaries on themselves. Employees are often emotionally involved in their work. They ‘must’ finish their work on their own. Because they feel everyone is dependent on them. A great sense of responsibility can underlie this.

Or they are afraid that they will no longer be liked by colleagues and will, therefore, pass themselves by. Others dare not say no to managers, due to fear of losing their job.
They are often allowed to stop work if others determine this for them. For example, a colleague who says “wouldn’t you go home?” Or other requirements such as the children have to be picked from the daycare centre.

Reasons not to set boundaries

Employees do not always see reasons to set boundaries. They simply assume that this is expected of him. Hard work is the norm, they think, and not doing it feels like failure.

So they have to:

  • Work hard
  • Complete the job now
  • Do everything themselves
  • Check the work of others
  • Be liked by everyone
  • Collaborate by taking work from colleagues
  • At least finish their action list, and preferably more…

Consequences of not setting boundaries

That much ‘must’ is not healthy. The lack of boundaries has far-reaching consequences. And not only in the workplace but also in private life. Employees eventually burnout.

They have no more energy for anything. As a result, their self-confidence diminishes. Because no more work is successfully completed by them, which to them feels like failure. In addition, they get all kinds of physical complaints.

Often things also go wrong in their private lives. Tired and irritable as they are, they no longer function properly within the family. Which causes problems with other family members.
Slowly they become despondent and gloomy, they no longer feel valued.

Characteristics of people who have difficulty setting borders:

  • Quickly respond to requests for help from others
  • Respond to help others without being asked
  • Do not want to disappoint others
  • Are afraid of conflicts
  • Want to make everyone happy
  • Want to be everyone’s friend
  • Is very accommodating
  • Attracts work Post
  • Big responsibilities
  • Is not assertive
  • Has a great sense of duty
  • Extremely loyal to others
  • Would like to be liked / like
  • Always there for others type of person
  • Blowing easy with all winds
  • Very involved with others
  • Very empathetic and understanding

Help employees set boundaries

Helping employees to set their boundaries and to guard them is an important step towards a healthy corporate culture. It ensures that colleagues work better together, everyone feels better and is more productive.

Setting boundaries is part of developing assertiveness. Making boundaries clear in a pleasant, respectful way gives every employee the space to stand up for their opinion, interests, and ideas. This gives more confidence and satisfaction. Both from their own work and from contact with colleagues.

In addition, it increases the visibility and influence of, the previously “invisible” employees. They develop the courage to give and receive feedback. As a result, they will also communicate more strongly and strengthen professionalism in their work.

An assertive employee, with clear boundaries, is better able to make choices about his time, energy and goals. They communicate clearly and purposefully during meetings and come across to others in a more professional, calm and clear way.

work limits are healthy

Clear boundaries prevent burnout and unnecessary stress

Employees with clear boundaries take a more firm stand. The risk of burnout is drastically reduced and unnecessary stress on the work floor is prevented.
Prevention is better than the cure, especially with a burnout. An employee who has once had a burnout remains sensitive to this. Effective stress prevention training helps to keep your employees healthy and productive.

‘Prevention is better than the cure, especially with a burnout’


Absenteeism within the organization will decrease if a consistent and result-oriented approach is chosen. Managers and supervisors learn to recognize signs of stress and burnout, and to intervene as needed. This considerably reduces the risk of failure within the organization.

Many organizations know that stress and burnout are a real threat within the company. Yet around 80% do not intervene.

This is often because they do not know how to deal with it. But that is no longer necessary.

Our coaches help employees, managers and the organization out of the downward spiral. In this way, you can take another step forward, instead of backward.

Our motto is every employee with burnout is one too many!

Healthy employees in a healthy workplace

Healthy employees should be the top priority within a company. Because healthy and vital employees have a direct influence on the ROI of a company. Healthy employees perform better, longer and more sustainably. The absence is demonstrably lower. So, all good reasons to keep your staff healthy.

An employee with burnout can easily cost € 70,000. Excluding the falling revenues. Because with fewer employees, less work is done in the workplace. And that’s not all. Because if one employee fails, the next employee/s must take on the absent employees to work, with an increased risk of overloading and stress as a result. A negative vicious circle can arise quickly.

Offer your employees a healthy workplace where human suffering is avoided as much as possible. This is not only good for the working atmosphere but also for the image of the company.

reducing stress

Tackling burnout and stress effectively as a manager

As a manager, you have a lot of influence on the well-being of your employees. If you know how to recognize the signals and intervene on time, much suffering, sickness absence, and stress can be prevented.

Is it not going well in the team and are there mutual tensions? There is a good chance that the workload rises are too high and the stress level of your employees are on the increase.

Get your team moving. Preferably literally. Moving outdoors has proven effective against stress. Do not eat lunch behind the computer, rather, go outside with a colleague. Stand up during a meeting as opposed to sitting, or hold a team meeting outdoors.

Moving into motion brings everything into motion. Suddenly a solution is offered in the stalled situation. The fresh wind and other surroundings stimulate creativity. There is room for new ideas.

Movement promotes peace and health. It lowers blood pressure so that the stress level will drop.

An effective, preventive approach to prevent stress and burnout

Sometimes just moving with the team is not enough, more is needed to ensure that all employees work optimally. The Meulenberg Training and Coaching team has more than 10 years of experience with training and coaching in company burnout.

As a manager, do you dare to enter into an open and honest conversation with your employees? Creating the desired corporate culture together, setting the right boundaries in an effective, preventive approach to prevent stress and burnout?

Conquer burnout and stress

Reducing stress and recovering from burnout can be quite the challenge. With the help of our professional coaches, we are convinced that a full recovery is within reach. Our years of experience has taught us what stepping stones will help you reach your goal more effectively and how to make sure the changes you make will be of help to you for the rest of your life. Let’s turn your burnout or stress into your best life ever.

Similar Posts