The co-workers, workload, hours, and tasks you’re expected to handle can become overwhelming on their own. After all, most jobs come with their fair share of stressors. But in some cases those stressors can veer into a territory that’s harder to handle. A hostile work environment can make it difficult to get your work done, and can even push you out of a position.
There may be legal remedies for a hostile work environment, but if you plan to stay at your job, you will need to protect yourself, conserve your energy and find support. Here are some tips that could help you make the intervening days more manageable:
- Find an escape: A way to shield yourself for the negativity is to escape it. First, take a break outside the office to relieve your stress in a more open and freeing space. If the noise in your workspace is too overbearing, try wearing headphones playing relaxing tones and unclutter your surroundings. In even the most peaceful environment, your personal space can affect your day-to-day emotional state.
- Find allies: Find coworkers who may have witnessed or experienced the same distressing behavior you have, and have a conversation. This conversation can lighten the load on your mind and theirs and help you feel less isolated.
- Protect yourself: Familiarize yourself with company policy regarding appropriate behavior, and document examples where co-workers or managers may have stepped over the line. Be sure to keep specific records of the interactions to avoid gossip and he-said/she-said rebuttals of what you report.
- Seek help: If your boss is not the one who is the problem, it may help to speak to them to apprise them of the situation. The key is to present your problem without sounding petty or being unwilling to be a team-player, which can shine a positive light on the hostile co-worker and leave you with the blame.
If you feel your employee rights were taken advantage of, or experienced any discrimination or abuse in the workplace, don’t be afraid to contact an attorney. Their job is to represent you and fight for your case.