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While it’s common to have a bad day at work or differences of opinion with coworkers or supervisors, dealing with a hostile work environment often presents more of a challenge. These work environments are often characterized by unfairness, abuses of power, emotionality, and other types of inappropriate behavior. These unprofessional workplaces lower productivity, increase stress, and can even impact your health. This article offers suggestions on coping with these situations, documenting your experiences, finding allies, and seeking help.
Finding Ways to Cope
1.Control your actions and reactions.
While you can’t control the way your coworkers or supervisors behave, you do have power over your own actions and responses. You don’t want to emulate the bad behavior or negativity exhibited by the people around you.
- If you start to feel upset, don’t lash out. Instead, take a break and a deep breath.
- Think about something positive outside of work that will help get you through the workday.
- Act professionally and with integrity
- Continue to perform the job you are being paid to do to the best of your abilities.
- A supervisor or another company will likely find your admirable behavior under difficult circumstances impressive.
2.Approach this situation as an opportunity for self-growth.
Although it can be difficult to identify positive aspects of a hostile work environment, viewing your work situation with the goal of learning important lessons can help you cope.
- For example, are there specific leadership qualities this experience is teaching you about?
- Is there something you do on a daily basis that makes you feel proud?
3.Separate yourself from the negativity.
If you feel yourself getting frustrated or depressed, it’s a good idea to try to take a few moments and escape the negativity. Here are a few suggestions:
- Take short breaks outside.
- If you can’t leave the office, walk around inside the building.
- Wear headphones, if permitted, and listen to music or something you find relaxing.
4.Improve your surroundings.
When you are dealing with a hostile and unpredictable work environment, it can help you feel more calm and in control to improve your surroundings.
- De-clutter and organize your workspace.
- Bring a family picture, a plant, or something to remind you of home.
- Post quotes that you find positive or encouraging on your desk or walls.
- The changes you make do not have to be drastic or extreme.
5.Treat your time away from work as sacred.
Try not to spend your time away from work worrying about what is occurring at the office or what might occur when you return. This will provide you with some much-needed time to unwind and distance yourself from the negative environment.
- When you are not at work or on the clock, avoid checking work-related emails and voicemails.
- Although it might seem therapeutic to vent about work with friends or family, don’t use all of your free time rehashing what occurred during the day.
Documenting your Experience
1.Research company policies.
Most companies have specific guidelines about harassment, discrimination, and inappropriate workplace behavior and etiquette. It’s a good idea to review these policies so that you can evaluate whether they are being followed.