A healthy work environment means a lot for productivity and a sense of accomplishment in the workplace. Unfortunately, many work environments can exhibit toxic traits that affect their workers and cause additional stress. As an employee in these situations, it’s important to know how to react to minimize or remove the toxicity in the workplace or mitigate the effect it has on you. We’ll talk about some of the best methods to deal with a toxic work environment.
Establishing boundaries helps
Many toxic work environments arise when people don’t know how to respect boundaries. While it may be difficult to establish boundaries in a cold and professional setting, it’s critical if you want to avoid toxicity. Whether it’s a coworker or superior, you need to let them know when they are going too far. This goes for professional as well as personal matters. If a superior is asking you to give up your lunch breaks or come in extra early too often, you should discuss this with them thoroughly. Let them know that they must value their time and respect the designated work and break hours. Coworkers that pester you or push your buttons should be called out as well. Have a conversation with them and contact HR if they continue to annoy or distract you from your work.
Avoid the drama
Drama is something you’ll find in a lot of toxic workplaces. Whether you’re working in a restaurant, a bank, or a Fortune 500 company, professional and interpersonal drama is bound to pop up at one point or another. In these situations, coworkers can get caught in the crossfire if they try to get in on the drama. As is the case for most types of conflicts, you should do your best to steer clear of the drama. Even if you have the urge to participate or comment on the situation, there’s no benefit to doing so. Unless it affects you personally or professionally, you should keep your mind on your work and let the drama unfold without participating.
Productive action is key
A toxic work environment will only get worse as time goes on, especially if nothing is done about it. As an employee, it can be challenging to speak up about workplace toxicity, especially if it’s perpetuated by people in higher positions at the company. However, you should always act to minimize a toxic work environment when you have the opportunity to do so. It goes without saying that workplace toxicity affects the company as a whole, and it can reduce productivity for everyone involved. This is why contacting HR is so important, as part of their mission is to improve productivity across the board—And that can mean fighting toxicity as well. Take productive action by documenting toxic behaviour and getting in touch with HR when possible.
Other jobs exist, too
Sometimes, you can’t fight a toxic work environment and come out on top. Whether the HR department can’t or won’t help you doesn’t matter. After enough toxicity, you may start to reach a boiling point—And then it’s time to start looking elsewhere because staying in a toxic work environment isn’t worth the trouble. Depending on your line of work and skills, this may be quite a difficult decision to make. Restaurant staff can often switch from one workplace to another, but this may not be as easy for someone working in highly specialized positions, like medicine. However, there are many options for qualified workers if they know where to look. For example, doctors can find a locum agency when they want to get away from a toxic work environment or look for new positions in the industry. Engineers can look towards competitor companies to see if they require the same positions, etc.
Decorating your workspace helps you manage
Unfortunately, you won’t always be able to influence the work environment itself directly. If you’re stuck in a toxic workplace, you might as well make the best of a bad situation. The best place to start would be your workstation. It’s where you spend most of your time during the workday and making it nicer would go a long way towards improving your day-to-day experience. Decorate your desk with photos and items that help you relax or put a smile on your face. Personalize everything that you can in and around the desk to suit your tastes. While the workplace might have a negative effect on you, you can turn your workstation into a small oasis for yourself when you need it.
Combating workplace toxicity is critical if you want to create a good work-life balance. There are many work environments that feature toxicity, and employees need to know how to deal with it properly. Sometimes, using the proper channels can net positive results, while other times it may be necessary to move on.