One joins a job with aspirations and dreams to excel and make a mark. It all comes to naught if one faces a bad work environment. Statistics say, over a third of employees hate their jobs. Most of them they say the reason is their employers. It becomes very difficult to give the job your best shot if the environment is not suitable. It is a task to drag yourself every day to a work place you don`t like. Neither is it easy to find a new job nor is it a good career move to switch jobs frequently. Initially, it is not so difficult to ignore or avoid these unfavorable situations, but being in that rut constantly starts ranking on your nerves and it become impossible to work, bad for your peace of mind and detrimental to your health too. In spite of so much awareness, seminars and books on being a good employer or creating a suitable work environment, some bosses continue to make life hell for their employees.
Here are Some Tips on How to Cope with Bad Work Environment:
1. Be ready to deal with conflicts:
First and foremost, avoid arguments and face-offs at any cost. But if it is unavoidable, be sure not to insult, degrade or abuse. People, who are touchy or spoiling for a fight, look for these responses to start a conflict. It is simpler to back off at the first opportunity and get busy with work.
2. Offer the hand of friendship:
Sometimes an aggressive reaction from a co-worker could be due to his personal problems. It could be work related or something back home. Dealing with such a person patiently, hearing him out or lending a sympathetic ear could resolve the problem and may earn you respect and a friend.
3. Deal with difficult situation/person:
It is not always easy to keep calm in front of an angry and irrational colleague. It is some consolation if he has a reputation for being unreasonable. But before the situation gets out of hand, it is better not to let go of your self control. Show confidence in your ability to deal with such co-workers. As working with difficult people or dealing with difficult people at work is a skill not many possess. Politeness, humor and praise may do the trick to calm down your opponent.
It is not always easy to keep calm in front of an angry and irrational colleague. It is some consolation if he has a reputation for being unreasonable. But before the situation gets out of hand, it is better not to let go of your self control. Show confidence in your ability to deal with such co-workers. Politeness, humor and praise may do the trick to calm down your opponent.
It is not always easy to keep calm in front of an angry and irrational colleague. It is some consolation if he has a reputation for being unreasonable. But before the situation gets out of hand, it is better not to let go of your self-control. Show confidence in your ability to deal with such co-workers. Politeness, humor and praise may do the trick to calm down your opponent.
4. Physically remove yourself:
It also makes sense to leave the spot and end the conversation. You may go back to your work or take a break. It helps diffuse the situation. A cool exterior helps not to aggravate the opponent and you also get time out to calm your nerves before you can get back to work. If possible, avoid that person.
5. Set yourself a limit:
If you cannot avoid being with an aggressive or a complaining co-worker, it is better to spend as little time as possible with him. Limit your interaction to total professionalism. Stop listening to his complaints. Gently put it across to him that you enjoy your job. Keep an eye open for an opportunity to exchange departments. Set yourself a limit as to how long you tolerate that person before you take some strong action.
6. Engross yourself in your work:
Keep busy. It sends across a message that you do not want to be a part of the negative work culture. It improves your work output, for which you are there. It also absolves you from any future between such staff and managers.
7. Find allies in co-workers:
Chances are there are many others like you who have tried to avoid aggressive and unwelcome co-workers. Seek them out and form an alliance with them. This adds to the positivity you are looking for and makes your work place bearable. They will hold in good esteem as you do them, and will stand up for you when faced with the destructive co-worker.
8. Do not be afraid of confrontation:
If the situation finally leads to a confrontation, do not be afraid of it. Be brave enough to boldly stand up to your opponent. Backing down constantly and avoiding the face-off may make an aggressive co-worker more daring. He may also assume you are in the wrong. Let him know in strong words why you avoided a confrontation but how would not tolerate it further.
9. Do not get abusive or personal:
During a confrontation always stick to the issue. Do not get distracted and get into an argument or turn the conversation into personal issues. But also let it be put across that you would not take lightly to such troublesome behavior frequently. Show that you are upset about the situation but do not let it get out of hand.
10. Avoid gossip:
Avoid being part of the gossip brigade as much as possible. Speculation leads to untruth and could get you indirectly involved in a precarious situation. It gives rise to rumors which invariably reach the bosses and they may end up believing in it as truth. See if you can join a group of like-minded co-workers and try to reverse the gossip culture in the office.
11. Form a social inter-active group:
It is not difficult to find like-minded people at work place. If you have some leadership qualities, you could go ahead and form a socially interactive group of co-workers. Plans to go out together for some re-creation or inexpensive outings will strengthen bonds and help to get to know each other better. It might ease the tension at work and bring back the motivation to perform better. It might also make the negative co-workers to change their outlook.
12. Accept the reality:
Finally you may realize that in spite of all the efforts made by you to adjust, it is in vain. In times of recession, you know it is not easy to quit and find a new job. So it is better to convince yourself that till you find a better option, you will not give up. Sometimes when one accepts the reality, it becomes easy to cope with. One has the control over what one thinks. Try to enhance your performance and gain upon experience.
13. Plan to resolve the issue with the boss:
You may be lucky enough to have an understanding boss. If you have issues you can not deal with, on your own, you could finally confront the boss. Without sounding as complaining about the colleague, you may suggest some changes in your position or department. Infer how it would help to enhance your performance and bring more output from you if you could avoid the co-worker.
14. Look for positive points in your job:
Apart from the negative coworkers, look for the points which satisfy you in your work place. The positives of you job will make it easier for you to cope with un-favorable people around you. It could be the facilities, the travelling, the projects, the short commute from home and even the paycheck. The more positive points you tick off, the lesser you will feel stuck up.
15. Learn a new skill:
Many work places have advanced office equipment and opportunities for the staff to learn new skills. Opting for them will help you to distract your attention from troublesome co-workers. It will also be present with a chance to change your work place within the office. If not, then at least it will enhance your resume and prepare you for a better job opportunity.
16. Work exploitation by a bad manager:
Problems at work don’t just arise due to problematic or difficult co-workers only. Most of the time, it is an unreasonable, exploiting and bad tempered boss. It might be easier to deal with aggressive colleagues but dealing with such bosses is nerve wracking. The first thing to do is to get a detailed job description. This should have a detailed list of the things you are expected to do. Do not agree to some vague listing, which covers a broad spectrum of duties, before you sign. Let the job description be specific.
17. Keep your records in order:
It is best to document and record your work. A bad manager may un-necessarily harass you for something you were not required to do or accuse you of not accomplishing certain tasks. The document will serve as proof and support your action. It will help you to show your performance and accomplishments.
18. Keep a back up of all your work:
Always keep a back up of your documents and other important information, on a computer other than the one in your office. It will be safe from anyone choosing to tamper with your documents and will hold you in good stead.
19. Keep calm and remain polite:
It doesn’t help to be rude, sarcastic or argumentative with your boss. He may just be looking for this opportunity to sack you or impede your promotion. He will justify his actions by citing bad behavior. Put a calm exterior to avert the issue and prove your point by your work record.
20. Have an informal chat:
Once in a while, having an honest conversation with the boss is the perfect solution. Have an honest discussion with the boss regarding his expectations from you or the reason for his dissatisfaction with your work. Also let him know how you are open to his advice and suggestions. It may turn out that no other employee had actually tried to give him his due respect. Let him know gently, how it affects your performance if he reacts negatively.
21. Ask for help from his peers:
There may be more managers at his level. A group of co-workers could get together to put the complaint across to them, regarding such negative behavior from your boss. They may be able to let your boss know of his unpopularity among his own staff, and help him change his attitude.
22. Go to your boss`s boss if possible:
If you feel the situation is getting out of control, see if you can seek an appointment with a senior to your boss. Someone has to let his seniors know of the aggressiveness of your boss. This could be risky as your boss may or may not come to know of the complaint against him. So be prepared for the outcome. Hopefully this should be the last resort. It would be better if you collect a group of co-workers who face the same behavior when talking with the senior manager.
23. Try the human resource department:
If there is one in the organization that you work for, you could complain at the HR department about a colleague or about the boss. Or you could also request them for another post in another department. The HR team will discreetly resolve the issue since it is confidential. Remember it will take some time for you to see its effectiveness. On the other hand they may not have been able to resolve.
24. Improve your resume:
Even as you try your utmost to sort out the bad boss or co-worker problem, it is advisable to polish your resume. Learn and achieve sincerely, as much as you can in the work place, in spite of the odds. This will help you in finding a better proposition in terms of work.
25. Re-creation outside of work:
When the workplace environment is not suitable, you cannot quit at the moment and life is becoming very stressful, then one must seek some form of recreational activity outside of work. This relieves stress and refreshes you. It drains out the tension of the job and makes you look forward to do something you enjoy. Then the unhealthy work environment of work doesn’t seem so unbearable.
When you decide it would be better to keep your options open, then you must discreetly and secretly be on the lookout for a new job. You have to make sure that word doesn’t get out that you are seeking a new job. Let your well-wishers and friends know that you would like to switch jobs.
27. Finally, Quit:
When all else fails, it is best to quit. Though, it always makes sense to finally quit once you have another job offer in hand. If the work environment is too repressible, don’t let the stress take a toll on your health and your future. All the aggression by the boss or co-workers and the ensuing depression, could affect your self esteem, your chance of better opportunities, as well as your personal relationships. It is better to be in a lesser paying job, a junior position or a smaller organization than to suffer an unhealthy work environment.