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Respecting boundaries

(name has been changed to protect the identity)


Adrian has been receiving Whatsapp/Call at late hours from his managers lately. They cited that the client wanted the document to be ready for their 7.30 am meeting the next day. The immediate manager told him that he would grant him unofficial time off to make up for the ‘lost’ time. Adrian did not respond to the Whatsapp/calls as it would affect his rest. He had sent the required documentation to the client a few days earlier through another colleague but it was not coordinated internally by the receiving party.


Since the start of the pandemic, Adrian had been working long hours and he needed to draw lines clearly. He did not agree to the make-up lost time as he deemed that the hours after work was his personal time. He didn’t see the need to ‘indulge’ the managers of the ‘luxury’. He also felt that if he agreed to such a request once, there would be more similar occasions. He is setting his boundaries and telling the managers to show respect.


A few questions to ponder:

i) Do the managers have the right to ask Adrian to respond to Whatsapp/calls at late hours and to fulfill clients’ requests?

ii) Since Adrian did not respond to calls/messages and refused the make-up lost time, is it a form of insubordination?

iii) Who do you think is correct – Adrian or managers?

(please share your view in the Comments)


We need to respect people’s boundaries, vice versa. I am speaking to myself too.

i) Minimise calling/message colleagues at late hours for work matters. Leave our questions till next working day;

ii) When our colleagues set ‘out of office’ messages in emails, please follow the dates/times. When you have urgent matters and only the person can provide the answer, have the courtesy to drop a text first. Don’t spy’ on their activity on WhatsApp;

iii) Don’t assume that other people will be the same as us. Each person has his/her own preference. Not everyone wants the makeup lost time;

iv) Take ownership of our decision. Don’t point fingers when things don’t go our way. We make decisions every day of our lives.


By respecting boundaries, we are respecting others and ourselves. Showing respect goes a long way as it helps in building relationships and making the workplace more pleasant. Office politics arises because of the lack of respect which causes strife, etc.


As the Year 2021 is coming to a close, let’s adopt the RESPECT mindset towards the people around us. This will definitely make 2022 a better year



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