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When Darya Niknamian resigned as the head of communications at an agency in 2021, she was determined to leave the long hours behind.

“I would start my day around 8 a.m. and finish around 11 p.m.,” Ms. Niknamian recalls. “I was very burnt out after that time.”

In early 2022, Ms. Niknamian applied for a position as the director of content at Commit, a Vancouver-based tech start-up.

“In the interview process, I was very forthright that I really wanted work-life balance,” she recalls. “They said, ‘we want to do what’s right for you’.”

Four months into her new role, Ms. Niknamian says she’s working more reasonable hours, from around 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Once you start working late every day, it’s really hard to stop,” she says.

She has also designated Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays before noon as her meeting days, following the lead of her teammates, so that she has ample time in her week for focus work.

“Once a week, I clock off at 3 p.m., knowing that I still have a long to-do list, but I need to make sure to take care of myself.”

Ms. Niknamian spends that time going on a hike, doing an early workout or preparing a good meal.

With remote work now common, the lines are blurring between our work and personal lives, making it difficult to define the boundaries between them. When you get a new job or transition roles within the same company, it’s a great opportunity to hit the reset button on healthy workplace boundaries.

Lyse Cornelius-Biggs, vice-president of people at real estate technology company Properly, encourages new hires and promoted employees to discuss boundary-setting with supervisors and teammates.

“One of the best things that somebody can do when they’re moving into a new role, whether it be a new organization, a new team, or even a new position, is to set expectations,” Ms. Cornelius-Biggs says. “What does success look like? How do we want to work together? How do you like communicating? What are your most productive hours in the day?”

Having realistic boundaries in place is good for the individual worker and the company, Ms. Cornelius-Biggs adds. Companies that encourage healthy boundaries are helping to create “psychological safety” among employees.

“What you’re doing is creating a space in which people feel heard, seen and valued,” she explains.

There are a few ways that this can happen. Properly has designated Wednesdays as ‘no meeting days’ so that employees can prioritize heads-down work. At Commit, employees are encouraged to share their preferred work styles and can list their needs and boundaries.

“We have a readme document that’s attached to our Slack where we fill out what days of the week we work, what hours we work on those days of the week, when we like to take meetings and whether we’re morning or evening people,” Ms. Niknamian says.

Realistic boundaries aren’t just about the hours we work. Ms. Niknamian says that working remotely helps her define the responsibilities she takes on.

“I think it’s easier to get pulled into different projects when you’re in the office,” she says. “People would come up to my desk and say, ‘hey, can you help with this?’. I really didn’t want to, but I felt like I couldn’t say no.”

Neha Khurram, a career coach and talent consultant, says that project management tools like Atlassian and Asana encourage team members to define boundaries around their individual responsibilities.

“It helps everyone stay on track,” Ms. Khurram explains. “All of your tasks are visible, so there’s more accountability as to where the boundaries are. If you’re being asked to do something that wasn’t added to the task manager, you have more of a say as an employee, to showcase that this wasn’t something that was asked of you.”

There are also simpler and cost-effective tech tips that can aid with boundary-setting, Ms. Khurram notes. For example, blocking time off in a Google Calendar for lunches, breaks and heads-down work is especially important when working remotely and in asynchronous work environments where teammates are in different time zones. You can also set calendar reminders for wrapping up work at the end of the day.

It’s important for managers to model healthy workplace boundaries for the culture to be adopted among other employees, Ms. Khurram says.

“I would encourage leaders to be the example and block off a lunch hour on their calendar to show their team it’s an important part of the day,” she says.

While Ms. Niknamian currently only has one direct report, her team will be growing soon and she intends to model realistic boundary setting to them.

“When it comes from the top, you feel a bit more empowered and reassured that you can do the same,” she says. “I think it has a trickle-down effect when it comes from the leadership.”