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Managing Virtual Teams in the Professional Service Sector: Setting Boundaries 

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In this series TPC Leadership wants to lend a helping hand to Professional Service organisations and dive into discussions surrounding virtual teams. In this eighth blog, we consider the responsibilities team leader’s have to create and model a work culture with healthy boundaries.

Why is it important to set boundaries?

“Setting boundaries is essential for mental health and wellbeing,” says Frouke Horstmann, Managing Partner at TPC Leadership. In today’s technologically advanced, global business environment, work demands are high — people can spend 12-14 hours behind a screen which can lead to burnout. A 2016 report conducted by Kronos and Future Workspace revealed that employee burnout was responsible for a striking 20-50% of their annual employee turnover.

How do you set boundaries?

“As a team leader, you have a huge amount of responsibility and power to set boundaries that protect your team,” says Charles Brook, Founder and Managing Partner at TPC Leadership. “First, take a step back and review what you’re doing. Look at what’s working and what isn’t and then do a reset.” The aim is to become more effective, efficient and healthy.

Charles explains the boundaries he sets for himself. “I don’t start work early and I have a rigid routine with a clear finish time. I eat a healthy breakfast and for the first half hour of each day, I block ‘creative time’ in my diary, when I focus on creative development of one area of responsibility.” 

Frouke recalls a client who models admirable rules of engagement. The company has quiet Friday afternoons when there are no meetings. Meetings are only held between 9-5 and always set for just 50 minutes. Employees are encouraged to take time to rest and exercise. “Because boundaries are clear,” says Frouke, “people feel safe to sustain a work / life balance.”

What is the ROI on setting boundaries?

Any change is difficult and takes energy, but the advantages of setting boundaries are huge.

“Research shows that our brains are too active nowadays,” says Frouke. “When we work all the time, we only use one part of our brain. Doing other things activates different parts of the brain, stimulating ideas, innovation and improving decision-making.”

Boundaries increase employee engagement. “If people can feel multidimensional,” explains Frouke, “if they have leisure time to be themselves and are allowed to take on deeper work as well as the to-do list, there is a much stronger sense of belonging, a willingness to contribute and an intrinsic motivation to be wholly engaged and productive when at work.”

Setting boundaries has a positive impact on retention, recruitment and marketing. Leaders who model boundaries show the younger generation that it’s possible to be a high achiever with huge responsibilities as well as enjoy a healthy, rewarding life outside work.

Promoting a culture of work / life balance reduces employee burnout at all levels. “It raises aspirations and makes people proud to be a part of your organisation,” says Frouke. “And the best marketing is what your employees say.”

Your weekly challenge

  •       Reconnect with your team – what’s working, what’s not working?
  •       Check-in with yourself – what is your belief system around work, how is that helping or not helping?

Looking to create a sustainable high performing team? Get in touch with us to find out how we can help.

 

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