Surviving A Toxic Workplace

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A toxic work environment is very poisonous and is known to be a significant source of stress to many working people.

In a previous post, we mentioned the signs to look out to know if you are in a toxic work environment. This included; personal drama, disrespectful and abusive bosses, unhealthy competition among colleagues, straining to have a work-life balance, stifled growth and rapid employee turnover.

If you are in a Toxic Work Environment, it will not be long before it weighs you down and starts affecting your health, wellness and productivity.

Removing yourself from a toxic work environment is advisable but this might not be an easy fix. Considering the challenges surrounding the job market such as the difficulty in securing a job and other challenges in relation to the policies in your workplace, removing yourself is not always easy.

If you are in a toxic workplace, you can always do something to get through and survive the toxicity especially if quitting immediately is not an option for you. These tips will make your work life in a toxic environment a little bit easier and bearable. 

  1. Plan an Exit Strategy.

A company with a toxic work environment culture is likely going to keep up with that culture.

You have to come up with a plan to help you leave the company.

If you are in a toxic work environment it’s time for you to look for greener pasture. There is always something and somewhere better out there, you just need to find it. Look for a company that has a good and nourishing work environment culture.

Do your research well, so that you do not leave a hot pan to deep yourself in another one.

  1. Stay Positive.

Positivity can help you through any tough situation in life and a toxic work environment is not excluded.

A toxic work environment affects your mental health, especially your thoughts and this will eventually increase your stress levels. When your stress levels are high, your productivity levels are low.

You have to look for the good in bad situations and focus on that good and add to the good. It might be a good colleague whom you get along pretty great, or even your salary or one boss who is great compared to the rest.

Focus on every positive thing you can point out or write down.

  1. Create A Positive Work Space For Yourself.

To survive a toxic/negative work environment, you have to create a positive working space for yourself. This works best if you have a personal office desk just for yourself and you don’t share it with another colleague.

Create a work space that is of an aesthetic that you love and puts your head in a good peaceful and motivating mode.

Decorate your work space with positive messages, posters, notes that remind you to stay positive. Have pictures of people who love you and who mean the world to you, it can be family or friends.

Affirm yourself that you are great, smart and you are not the negative things your boss tells you.

  1. Have a List To Help You Stay Focused.

It is difficult to focus and keep your head together in a toxic work environment.

 It is easy to lose motivation, to do shoddy work and sometimes to leave some tasks not done. 

You are already dealing with the whole shebang that comes with a toxic work environment. You do not want to be dealing with losing focus, not getting work done and not completing your tasks.

Have a list of all the tasks you need to do at work written down somewhere. Is it a report you need to write before noon or a meeting you need to schedule with a client? Whatever the task and the time, have a list and a reminder too.

This will help you stay focused during the day as you know what assignment to do and when to do. Your time will be well managed and your mind will be organized, reducing the shebang you need to deal with.

  1. Take Breaks.

Staying on your desk the whole time in a toxic work environment can be draining, you need a break.

The 15 Minutes break to the coffee shop or a walk to the street down the office block will help you unwind and refocus.

Have few minutes spaced through-out your work day for breaks and don’t have your lunch on your desk. Go have your lunch somewhere away from the office. You will come back relaxed and refreshed. This is good for your physical and mental health before you lose it.                   

  1. Stay Away from Drama.

Dramas are very prone in a toxic work environment. So all you can do is to just stay away from them as much as you can.

Avoid participating in conversations that are based on rumors and gossip. You already know cliques or colleagues in your office who start rumors and disagreements, stay away from them and thank yourself later. For the sake of peace and your sanity.

Avoid having baseless arguments with colleagues or your superiors. Just stay out of trouble.

Toxic people tend to manipulate people and situations and they are very provocative.  But, know and remember who you are and the values you hold on to as an individual. This will keep you grounded and help you react wisely to heated situations in the office.

  1. Hangout with Positive Minded Colleagues.

Positivity breeds positivity. Hangout with colleagues who are positive over coffee or during happy hour. This will boost your positivity and even help you somehow forget the office drama and your bad boss.

This does not mean you should not interact with toxic colleagues. Interact with them when need be and be kind and nice to them.

The positivity, the good laughter and reminder that not all the people surrounding you are toxic will be a boost to your days and interactions in the office.

  1. Separate Work and Your Life.

This might be difficult for some employees but when practiced can really come in handy with you surviving a toxic work environment.

Let work be work at the office and don’t include it in the other important parts of your life or let it put you family and social life at a standstill.

Let work time be work time and social time be social time. Be strict on the amount of time you spend in the office and whether you will work during the weekend and the holidays or not.

Have time set aside to spend with family and friends. Take a vacation or a leave from work and focus on other issues not related to work.

Learn to find a balance between your work and your life.

  1. Disassociate Your Self-Worth with Your Job.

Your job should not dictate your happiness and your self-worth. It should not be the thing that determines how your life should be.

Your career and work life is important but it should not define your worth or who you are.

There are other more important things in your life that contribute to who you are and can highly influence your happiness. Things like your home, your family, friends, your health, and your role in the community.

Just because things are not going well at work, don’t let that make you feel like a failure and think less of yourself.

  1. Document Everything That Happens.

This is a wise way to protect yourself. Life is unpredictable and things might one day get out of hand.

Track and keep records of communications that you have in the office, a meeting with your boss or another colleague, an email thread.

These records will help you if anything serious occurs and needs evidence of a previous conversation or written communication.

This is also a way to deal with problems in the office professionally.

Working in a toxic environment and having to deal with toxic colleagues and toxic bosses, supervisors and managers, and having to deal with the loads of tasks daily is not easy. And as mentioned, this can really take a toll on you with time. This will affect your mental health, your social life and your work life too.

But, it doesn’t have to weigh you down completely. The tips we have mentioned will make your day to day work life in a toxic environment a little bit easier and bearable.