Ask A Human Resources Manager

Setting Boundaries At Work – Ask A Human Resources Manager

In c by Kate J Parker

This article is part of the ‘Ask A Human Resources Manager’ series, which answers real life questions to career and job search related issues.

If you have a question, you can submit it here.


I returned to work six months ago following maternity leave. Prior to taking time off I was on a full-time contract. Since returning I accepted a part-time contract doing the same role.

Even though I am only contracted to do 20 hours a week, I end up doing loads more. Some weeks I am almost working full time hours again. I work remotely with my job and the company provides a laptop, I-Pad, and I-Phone. This makes it really easy for co-workers to contact me anytime – even on my days off.

I receive emails from my boss late in the afternoon saying that he needs a task completed by close of business the next day. The problem is that the next day is my day off so to get the task completed, I have to work on my own time.

I accepted this part-time role so I could spend time with my baby. But I usually spend most of my days off working! It feels like I am working full-time for half the pay.

Help! How can I fix this?


The answer to your problem is in establishing boundaries and managing expectations.

I believe in open communication between Managers and employees. I suggest you talk to your Manager about this issue and explain how it is impacting on your personal life and job satisfaction. It may just be that your Manager is forgetful about your work roster and a gentle reminder may fix this problem.

I also suggest that you send an email to your colleagues letting them know which days you work. You can write the email as a public service announcement so it looks like you are trying to make it easier for them by making your work hours transparent.

Finally, I would set up the ‘out of office’ function on your emails for your days off. You can then switch off your I-Pad and anyone that emails you will know it is your day off.

Also, record a new message on your phone stating what days you don’t work and that you will respond to messages on your next work day. You can then switch your work phone off when you are not working.

I hope this helps.

If you have a career related question then ‘Ask A Human Resources Manager’. Submit your question here

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