EAP Corner

Creating a Non-Toxic Workplace Environment

Employees spend many hours of their lives at their jobs, whether they are working with employees or talking with customers and how they interact and behave towards each other affects their well-being.  Respect is defined as a feeling of deep admiration or consideration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievement.  Lack of respect will certainly cause unwanted problems in the workforce.

Workplace studies are finding that 80% polled say that lack of respect is a serious problem and 60% believe that the problem is getting worse.  Findings from these studies further point out that disrespectful and uncivil behaviors decrease morale, drain productivity, increase turnover, and negatively impact an organization’s bottom line. (Richman, 2015).  Another study found that 60% of employees believe that co-workers’ annoying behavior negatively impact the workplace and, as a result, 40% reported that they are looking for new employment.(Lorman, 2007)  Lack of respect and civility in the workplace is becoming a problem.

Joyce Russell writes in The Washington Post Capital Business Section:  Many people seem to think because they are so busy and stressed, they are allowed to be unpleasant to their colleagues, or show up late to things without apologizing.  “Some see incivility as a lack of manners.”

Treating people with a lack of respect and professionalism is inexcusable.  It starts with each of us on how we treat and act towards each other.  As the saying goes; Actions speak louder than words. Your behavior and actions matter.

The awareness of how we treat people or how we are allowing people to treat us is the first step to changing.   Be the role model in your workplace and it will spread and can have a lasting effect in the workplace and the outside world.

Here are some tips that will help you change the disrespectful work environment.

  1. Before acting, consider the impact of your words and action on others.

Actively listen to the person you are talking to without interrupting them.  Think about what your tone of voice and body language will have on others.

  1. Become a Bridge-Builder and create an inclusive work environment.

Recognize and respect individual’s differences and qualities in the workforce. Look for various ways to have diversity in the work teams and in associations.  Don’t label or stereotype others. Replace that behavior with respect.

  1. Appreciate the value of diverse opinions in developing approaches to varying situations.

Understand by listening it doesn’t equate to agreement, clarify what is said, and ask questions to gain understanding of others opinions.  In situations where you disagree, learn to “agree to disagree” respectfully.

  1. Understand that conflicts will occur in the workplace and take responsibility for your actions and practice self-restraint and anger management skills in responding to potential conflicts.
  2. Adopt a positive and solution-driven approach in resolving conflicts.
  3. Rely on facts rather than assumptions.

Gather relevant facts, especially before acting on assumptions that can damage relationships.

  1. Avoid tendencies to become caught up in gossip, complaining, or other forms of negativity in day-to-day interactions.
  2. View today’s difficult situations from a broader and more realistic perspective by considering what they mean in the overall scheme of things.
  3. Be supportive of your organization in your communications both inside and outside of the workplace.
  4. Be the role-model for respect and civility in your office.  Act in a manner that you respect yourself, demonstrate respect for others, and take advantage of every opportunity to be proactive in promoting civility and respect in your workplace.

If each of us develops an awareness of respectful behaviors and become role-models of change, it can cause a change in your office.  It will provide a good environment for respect and civility to each other with better productivity, loyalty and self-satisfaction.  You can BE THE CHANGE!

Works Cited

Lorman. (2007, April). www.lorman.com. Retrieved from Lorman Education Services: https://www.ars.usde.gov

Richman, B. (2015, March 13). www.legacycultures.com. Retrieved from Legacy Business Cultures.

Russell, J. (2012, June 17). The Washington Post – For Capital Business. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com: www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness

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  • Provisional Licensed Mental Health Practitioner


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