For most of us, boundaries are an issue that primarily exist in our personal lives. However, boundaries also have a place in business; and all the more so if you run your own business.
Boundaries are inherently healthy. Humans respond well to limits; we like to know what we can and can’t do, and what is and isn’t acceptable. While pop culture may tell us to ‘go with the flow’, the reality is that boundaries are incredibly positive, helping to establish a pattern of behavior or a set of limitations that we can work within. Below, we’ve put together three different types of boundaries that all business owners should seek to establish so that their business is always able to thrive within its neatly-defined parameters…
The boss and employee boundary
Every business owner wants to be a great boss, perhaps even to the point of being friends with their employees – but this is an idea that doesn’t always pan out well when put into practice.
While there’s no harm in developing a good relationship with your employees, they are – at the end of the day – your employees. The power balance will always be tipped in your favor, so most business owners find it’s best to keep things cordial and friendly, but not to cross into actual friendship. There may be times when you have to make decisions regarding that employee’s performance or status in your business, after all; a situation that will be hugely complicated if you see them as a friend as well as a member of staff.
Physical property boundaries
This type of boundary is a very literal one: the perimeter of your premises. Disputes over premises boundaries can cause a tremendous amount of tension between business owners, so it’s vital you know the exact boundaries of your property, and that you seek to ensure your operations remain inside these boundaries at all times.
Unfortunately, many boundaries are not particularly well-defined, which can lead to lengthy disputes. When you move into new premises, ensure you know exactly where the boundaries are, with specific measurements; a rough idea is insufficient. Furthermore, if you plan to extend your premises in future, ensure you have taken the step of securing a land surveyor to help establish the existing boundaries and ensure all future construction is well within these limits. Land boundaries can be a surprisingly contentious issue, so take the aforementioned extra steps to prevent any future issues in this regard.
Boundaries between employees
Some business owners do not permit employees to develop romantic relationships with one another. On first inspection, this rule appears Draconian, but it’s actually for the good of the business, helping to ensure that all employees are always focusing 100% on their work rather than their relationships. It may well be worth introducing such a policy in your business, or at least insisting that if two employees do become involved, their relationship should not be acknowledged while at work.
Also, consider literal boundaries, looking at installing dividers between work desks and ensuring every employee has a locker and their own key. These little touches allow employees to feel more secure in their working environment, ensuring they can always access their own personal space throughout the working day.
Boundaries are incredibly important for people, for property, and ultimately for your business as a whole. By examining the three types of boundaries as mentioned above, you can ensure that your business is always able to run at its best, while also avoiding any boundary-related issues in the future.