3 Ways to Cope with a Toxic Office Culture

Every job comes with its own challenges and occasional stressful situations, but if you find yourself getting a case of the Monday blues every single day of the week, then you may be dealing with a toxic workplace.

While there are accepted cultural differences with office dynamics such as pace, punctuality, and appropriate language, some of them cross the line into promoting a toxic office culture. For instance, Business Insider reveals that Australians tend to accept work even if they already have their hands full, as rejecting additional tasks will make others think you are incapable or lazy. This kind of attitude is detrimental to the physical and mental health of employees, and will only lead to being ineffective and unhappy at work.

If you work in an office where there is bullying, drama, victimisation, manipulation, or favouritism, it can be extremely damaging for your self-image and motivation. Thankfully, there are some tried and tested ways to deal with a toxic office culture — we’ve listed some of them below:

Create a life outside of your job

After another bad day at work, it can be tempting to crack open a bottle of wine and sulk in the dark while recounting the day’s horrible events. However, you should not fall victim to this tendency, as you’re only making it worse for yourself. Instead, try your best to create a life you enjoy outside of your job.

There are many ways to take focus away from work and most of them revolve around doing things you enjoy. For example, you can try out new hobbies like knitting or playing video games. Career Coach Nina Perry recommends distracting yourself on Sundays by hanging out with friends, participating in sports, or going to the beach. These activities outside of work will give you something to look forward to and can make a dreary day at the office more bearable.

Know and prepare your options

When you’ve tried talking to your supervisor to no avail, you may start to feel stuck and helpless at work. Avoid this feeling by discreetly looking for new jobs — even if your heart isn’t set on it yet, it can provide some sense of comfort knowing you can leave if you need to. Try to look for jobs that offer work from home deals, as a study by a Stanford economics professor found that people are happier and more productive when they work from home, away from all the stress that an office environment brings.

Another crucial step is to consider legal options specific to your case. To illustrate, if you’re being bullied on a work chatgroup or even an email thread, there are legal experts that can counsel you about what counts as abuse and what steps you can take. Special Counsel points out how there are eDiscovery specialists that can comb through even the most extensive digital exchanges, whether they are emails, texts, or messages sent on social media. Even if you never actually reach out to these experts, it will give you some peace of mind knowing that you can count on their experience should you ever need it.

Turn it into a learning situation

Unfortunately, you have to be prepared for the reality that you may not be able to immediately leave a toxic workplace. This can be a scary thought, as it means you have to endure bullying or harassment indefinitely, or about 10 weeks of job hunting for Australians. The best thing you can do while figuring things out is to make the best of your time there.

You can do this by turning every day into a learning situation. Try to observe the hurtful interactions between your colleagues and remind yourself never to treat anyone that way. More importantly, focus on yourself and your own tasks to find ways to grow and improve on your own. At the end of the day, remember that you are capable of more than what your co-workers say about you, and that only you can take control of how you act and feel.

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