Is an unpleasant work environment causing unneeded stress in your life?
Do you constantly dread Monday mornings? Does the workday leave you emotionally drained?
If you dread going to work for fear of a coworker, a boss or the environment yourself, then you’ve likely found yourself in a hostile workplace. A hostile workplace is generally described as an unwelcome or uncomfortable place of work that has nothing to do with your skill level or work aptitude. A hostile work environment can be the result of a:
- Coworker who drives you up the wall
- Bullying by customers, or one or a group of coworkers, or your manager
- An abusive boss
- Unsupportive Human Resources or Union representation
- An unhealthy environment-which could include undue stress or fear for your wellbeing
- An unsafe work environment-according to Bureau of Labor Statistics and attorneys in Louisiana 5,214 fatal work-related accidents occurred in the state in 2008
We spend the majority of our weekdays at work, so if your workplace is hostile that means you’re spending the large part of your waking hours in a demoralizing atmosphere. Here are XX tips to help you cope with a hostile workplace environment:
- Stand up for your rights: If you are being bullied or abused at work, don’t stay silent and let the abuse continue. Instead, speak up against negative behavior, talk to Human Resources or your union rep and defend your right to a comfortable workplace. Complaints lodged with your union or HR representative are always put on record, so even if you don’t agree with the reaction you get, you are putting what you believe in on record-and possibly opening the way for others to come forward as well.
- Breathe-don’t let stress get to you: I know it might be difficult, but if you need this job you will have to learn to cope until alternative employment presents itself. Use breathing as an internal coping mechanism when things get you stressed. Excuse yourself and go to a private area (like your office or the bathroom) and breathe deeply while you count to 20. And don’t take the stress home with you. After work do a yoga class or meditate-do whatever it takes to leave your hostile work environment at the office.
- Focus on you-not your workplace: Focus on your goals. For instance, ask yourself: “Why am I working at this company?” Is it for money, experience? Use this knowledge to make a list of your own personal objectives. If you need the money; look for another job. If you need the experience; put an end date in place so you have light at the end of the tunnel.
- Remain professional: If your workplace is hostile due to gossip, establish clear boundaries showing co-workers you are above petty rumors and scandal. Draw a thick line between your personal and professional life. Remain pleasant and competent at your job, but cut off socialization with coworkers at the office.
- Learn from mistakes: If your workplace hostility is due to the fact that you got too close to a coworker-then learn from this mistake and move on. Work is a learning experience after all, and the politics of the workplace can provide the best lessons in how to conduct yourself, what to do, what to say and who to trust for your next job.
- Leave for greener pastures: While you learn to cope with your hostile workplace, stay on the job hunt for a better opportunity. This way, if work life gets too unbearable, do yourself and your health a favor and take another job.