How to Deal with a Toxic Work Environment

A working environment determines the effectiveness and productivity of an employee.  If an employee is part of a friendly and harmonious working environment, he will be more successful at work; however, not all employees have that kind of privilege at work. A toxic work environment can frustrate you, especially if your co-workers and boss are big factors in that toxicity. To minimize or better deal with a toxic working environment, you can employ some of these tips.


  • Remain optimistic. Your environment should not be the sole factor determining how you deal with work. Try to remain optimistic at work. If your work environment is full of negativity, don’t contribute to it with your own pessimism.

  • Avoid gossip. The workplace is a breeding ground for gossips. People talk about other people; it’s a fact of life. But as much as you can, avoid indulging in this kind of activity. Not only is it disrespectful to other people and their privacy, but gossiping can also start inner-office fighting. Don’t add to the flaming and whispering in your office.
  • Maintain your distance. The surest way to get sucked in to the toxicity is to allow others to trespass over your line. Maintain your distance both literally and figuratively. Avoid unnecessary closed-door meetings with troublesome co-workers, but if you have to have such a meeting you should leave the room the moment the discussion stop being specifically about work. Keep conversation work-related. If you are in a cubicle near others, use headphones to avoid overhearing negative comments or gossip that might ruin your day.
  • Refrain from saying or commenting about anything bad since doing so could start gossip. Bear in mind that anything you say can be used against you later, so make remarks that are positive and helpful only.
  • Choose your battles. At times you might be tempted and pushed to the end of your ripe, but bear in mind it is difficult to have war games at work. Pretending like it didn’t happen is the best way to react to most negative situations. If you have to react, be diplomatic and polite since aggressive behavior implies disagreements that can lead to flared-up debates. An aggressive attitude will only worsen the situation.
  • Recognize you are part of the problem and therefore also part of the solution. As much as you might not want to be, you are part of it and have to figure out how to help alter the situation. Find the key problem, and upon finding it gather solutions that can put an end to the toxicity.

Filed Under: Work & Careers


About the Author: Vanessa Page works a career counselor in one of the leading firms in Los Angeles. She is also a blogger and gives tips on how people can tackle their work and career issues. She has 8 years of experience in this field.

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