View of man at work with arms crossed on table and head bowed because he is stressed about his toxic work environment.
Image: © twinsterphoto/

This is how you deal with a toxic work environment

28 Jun 2019

If your work environment consistently leaves you stressed, drained and depressed, it may be toxic. Here is how you can deal with it.

Is your place of work a ‘toxic work environment’? I’m sure everyone who is reading this has, at one point or another, felt like their workplace was stressful and maybe even considered leaving. Though the term ‘toxic’ may seem a bit overdramatic, and though it may have experienced a kind of concept creep over the years, in the case of the working environment we’re talking about, it is entirely appropriate.

Toxic work environments are distinct. They have many different definitions, but people agree that they are characterised by dysfunction, infighting, poor communication and a lack of distinguishable goals. These are all things that can contribute massively to stress.

If you’re experiencing consistent stress, for whatever reason, it will raise the levels of cortisol in your body. Cortisol can wreak serious havoc, from raising your risk of stroke to crippling your immune system.

So really, being in a negative space is a much more pressing matter than you may have assumed. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to quit, so what can you actually do?

For starters, set clear boundaries with your workplace. It’s enough that your professional life makes you miserable while you’re on the clock, but don’t let it bleed beyond that. Take your full lunch hour and ensure that you start and finish your work at your contracted times. For the sake of your health, you shouldn’t pour more time into the place than absolutely necessary. Ensure that your time off is populated with fun, enriching activities with friends.

Doing the above will help you conserve your energy so you can create a good exit strategy. Walk yourself through a contingency plan in the event things get too stressful and you have to leave. Keep your CV and cover letter updated to make it less likely you’ll procrastinate during the job search.

These tips, and others compiled in this infographic brought to you by, should help you through. For more on how to deal with a toxic work environment, check out the details below.

infographic about toxic work environment.

Click to enlarge. Infographic:

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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