WORK-LIFE BALANCE / MAY. 02, 2015
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6 Ways to Improve Your Life When Working in a ‘Toxic’ Environment

Working in a toxic environment can negatively impact your work performance, personal development, health and mental outlook. If you cannot leave the toxic work environment, it is important to ascertain ways to effectively deal with the situation. This article will address 6 ways that you can improve your life while working in a toxic environment.

See Also: Top 5 Toxic Environments People Should NOT work in but they DO

1. Evaluate the Cause

If you’re working in a toxic environment, the first step involves evaluating the cause. You must first eliminate yourself as a suspect. It is quite possible that you have become a catalyst for the toxicity to run rampant in the workplace. For example, you may be having a difficult time coming to work each day because you hate your job. This can cause a snowball effect with your negativity affecting your own work performance as well as the entire staff. It is also possible that you may not be the culprit and are dealing with one or more toxic coworkers or managers. It is important to properly ascertain the source of the toxic atmosphere so that you can move on to the other steps with an informed perspective.

2. Stay Neutral in the Office

One of the worst things you can do while working in a toxic environment is to add fuel to the fire by taking sides or fueling the negative atmosphere. If you want to handle the situation while improving your life, you must find a way to stay neutral in the office. This involves not gossiping to colleagues about the source of the toxicity. Do not openly criticize others involved in this situation. If you allow the negative atmosphere to infuse your perspective with a whiny attitude, you will negatively impact your own personal environment even further. For example, it is quite possible that your manager may reprimand you for complaining and furthering the chaos. Additionally, no one likes to listen to a constant complainer. Besides, complaining has never done anything to change a bad situation. The only way to enact positive change is to stop complaining and start finding a solution to the problem.

3. Confide in Someone

Working in a toxic environment and not being able to talk to anyone about it can negatively impact your emotional well-being. You should find a trusted friend, colleague or manager to confide in while remembering to seek a confidant for positive purposes. For example, you should not confide in this person simply to gossip about the work situation. There has to be a redeeming purpose to your actions. Share about the toxic environment as a means of venting your frustrations, but remember not to discuss confidential workplace business with a non-work individual. Also, share for the purposes of seeking a positive solution to this negative workplace issue.

4. Stay One Step Ahead

This is where your investigative and intuitive powers come into play. You’ve already assessed the situation and have figured out the cause of the toxic environment. Now you need to stay one step ahead of the problem. For example, if the cause of the toxic environment is a specific co-worker or manager, try to steer clear of this person. However, if that is not possible and you work in the same department or on the same team, find a way to positively handle your interactions. In order to effectively handle a toxic work situation, you must learn how to respond and not react in the workplace. Study the workplace situation and ascertain when the toxicity is at its highest level and try to avoid being in those places at those times.

5. Decompress Outside Work

Another way to deal with a toxic work environment is to make sure that your personal life is as stress-free as possible. You don’t need any more stress than is absolutely necessary; especially when having to deal with toxicity at work. Start doing yoga or get a membership at the gym. Take up a hobby and find a way to relax when away from work. When you are well-rested and stress-free, you will be better able to effectively deal with the toxic work environment. Make sure to use your personal days and relax outside the office. 

6. Change Your Perspective

This final way to improve your life while working in a toxic environment involves learning how to change your perspective. The first step is to realize that you cannot change another person’s behavior or belief system. Each person is responsible for their own actions and the consequences of them. Secondly, decide to be at peace with your own circumstances and to try to make the best of them. Of course, you are working toward implementing all of the previous steps. You must come to terms with the fact that the toxic workplace situation may never change. However, you need to change your own perspective and find a way to stay positive and productive while working in this toxicity. You’d be surprised how different a negative situation can appear when you step back, take a breath and look at it from a positive perspective.

See Also: TOXIC WORKPLACE - When The Only Way is to Walk Away

If you have completed all six steps in an effort to improve your life while working in a toxic environment, and nothing has changed—it may be time to move on to new employment. Have you worked in a toxic work environment? What steps have you taken to deal with the negative atmosphere?

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