For many employees, the workplace is their second home, which makes it more important to have healthy habits to boost productivity and keep yourself emotionally balanced throughout the day and year. However, suppose you’re working in an environment with toxic coworkers or an unethical boss. In that case, you may experience challenges balancing these healthy habits with the stress and anxiety that comes with your job.
Are you also struggling to stay productive? Feeling like you’re stuck in a toxic work environment? You’re not alone. According to a recent study, 62 percent of employees say they don’t have the tools or resources they need to do their jobs effectively. And that’s just one of many reasons that can lead to a toxic work environment.
If you’re looking for ways to avoid toxic productivity and get more done, read the blog to know the ten most valuable strategies that have been tested and proven effective.
Follow-up question: What is toxic productivity?
Interested in knowing the answer? Keep on reading.
What do you mean by Toxic Productivity?
Toxic productivity is a term used to describe a state of working where you are so overwhelmed and stressed that you become toxic to yourself and those around you. It can be characterized by feelings of intense pressure, anxiety, and guilt.
Toxic productivity often stems from perfectionism and a fear of failure. When we feel like we’re not good enough, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform at our best. This can lead to anxiety and stress, which leads to decreased productivity. To be effective and productive, we need to feel safe and comfortable in our environment. When we’re stressed out or feeling guilty, it’s difficult to focus on our work.
Signs that can tell you are suffering from toxic productivity
Toxic productivity may be difficult to detect, particularly as employees adapt to more flexible schedules that combine work from the office with work from home. These are some of the most common indicators of toxic productivity:
- Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out
- Struggling to concentrate or focus
- Feeling tired, drained, and burned-out
- Struggling with motivation and productivity
- Constantly feeling sick or having headaches, chest pains, or stomach problems
- Declining quality of work
- More errors and mistakes
If this describes your situation, here are ten strategies that can help you combat the negative aspects of your workplace and increase your overall productivity.
Top 10 Ways To Avoid Toxic Productivity
1) Set boundaries
Many workplaces have a toxic culture where employees are overworked and underappreciated. If you’re feeling less than motivated and feel like your work is suffering, it may be time to set some boundaries. Set limits on how many hours you’ll be working each week (including overtime) so that your performance isn’t hampered by stress or exhaustion. Also, try actively avoiding people who consistently undermine your ability to do good work; simply cut off their access.
And remember that it’s not just your boss who can hinder a productive environment; if you can shift out of a group project mindset, you may find that projects will run more smoothly with less frustration.
Although it’s essential to be a team player, no one should feel they can’t get their fair share of the credit. Even when you’re part of a group project, take some time to fine-tune your part so that it has added value; if you complete 90% of your work for someone else to clean up, don’t be afraid to ask for more credit or recognition.
2) Practice self-care
Learning how to care for yourself is important for avoiding toxic workplace culture. Practice self-care by blocking out an hour every morning and evening where you allow yourself time for meditation, yoga, or quiet reflection. Avoiding toxic productivity means spending more time doing your job, so you must prioritize taking care of yourself and getting work done.
When it comes to avoiding toxic workplace culture, understanding that your mental health is just as important as managing your projects and clients, to avoid toxic productivity, you should establish clear limits in place for yourself so you don’t feel overworked or overstressed. In cases where you have a clearly defined project with a set deadline, consider determining what other areas of life are off-limits for working. Then, try scheduling out time for hobbies, family obligations, and other tasks during specific hours each day.
3) Be honest with your boss
Toxic workplace culture is created when people are afraid of being honest because they feel their honesty will be used against them. You need to understand that your boss is not out to get you; he or she probably wants what’s best for everyone involved in terms of job satisfaction. So, if a particular project or assignment isn’t your strong suit, let him or her know it may not be worth your time.
You don’t have to feel sorry about it— just calmly explain why you can’t execute something as well as someone else would. If other people can do certain things better than you, make sure everyone knows about it.
4) Talk it out
One way toxic workplace behaviour can be avoided is by talking things out with your coworkers. Calling out issues early can help you establish a more productive work culture, even if it’s not possible for you to change your entire workplace. Many people are afraid of doing so for fear of being seen as aggressive, but those who don’t speak up risk becoming complicit in toxic workplaces.
You must focus on communicating with your coworkers and not about them, as gossiping can quickly get out of hand. It’s also a good idea to take time in advance to make a point of listening carefully before responding. This shows your coworkers that you care about their concerns and are willing to work toward creating positive change together.
Another way toxic workplace behaviour can be avoided is by branding yourself professionally.
Most toxic workplaces fall apart because they fail to do anything other than make money. While having these types of objectives is fine, it’s more important for companies to focus on growing as businesses while still maintaining good relationships with their clients and partners outside of work, which is where branding comes into play.
5) Recognize Toxic Behaviour in Others
One of your first steps toward avoiding toxic productivity is recognizing when others engage in toxic behaviour. This could include a variety of behaviours like blatant disrespect or taking credit for other people’s work. If you see one or more of these problems from your boss, coworkers, and team members, it might be best to avoid them or even consider looking for another job. After all, if you aren’t appreciated and respected at work, how productive can you be?
As you try to avoid toxic productivity, be wary of situations where your boss or coworkers attempt to micromanage. Micromanagement can also lead directly to bullying and abuse, which should also send a clear signal that there’s an underlying problem you need to fix before it gets worse. If you feel pressure from other people in your workplace, don’t feel pressured to put up with it. Instead, focus on growing your talents, so you have more room for improvement.
6) Find a different environment if necessary
There’s a certain point where any job can become too toxic. It’s not the same for everyone, but when you find yourself putting more effort into avoiding drama than your actual work or when you notice that working at home is more productive than going into work, it may be time to look for a new environment. It might mean going freelance or leaving that company altogether, but many people have discovered they’re happier and more productive after removing themselves from toxic workplace cultures. You are not required to quit your job, but you can learn how to manage without being miserable by learning what not to tolerate in your workplace culture.
If you find yourself being pushed into working more than you would like, or if it seems like nobody is watching out for bad behaviour, it may be time for a change. Keep an eye on where your limits are and protect them from abusive environments.
7) Stand up for yourself
To prevent your team from getting bogged down in toxic workplace behaviours, you need to be comfortable standing up for yourself and stating your needs. Instead of complaining about how you’re doing more work than everyone else and how unfair it is, make a point of articulating your productivity goals clearly. Then, if a colleague tries to take advantage of you or guilt-trips you into taking on extra projects, refer back to these goals. Say something like You know I have these X Y Z deliverables due already—can we discuss my schedule after that?
You may also want to assert yourself when you notice toxic workplace behaviours in action. Toxic work culture often manifests as a way for people who feel insecure or under-appreciated at work to gain power and feel more valued by criticising others behind their backs. It’s important not to let these individuals pull you into their games, which means not taking part in gossiping about other colleagues and addressing toxic behaviour when you witness it going on around you.
8) Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t
It is easy for some people to feel anxiety about situations outside their control. However, if you worry about things you have no power over, it’s time to acknowledge that these worries are toxic. When thoughts like what if I can’t pay my bills next month? And what if my boss doesn’t like me? Start running through your head, redirect your attention toward what you can control (i.e., your actions) rather than what you can’t.
Remind yourself that whatever happens in life won’t be due to a lack of effort on your part. Worrying never solves a problem; action will always overcome inaction.
9) Go for Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Many companies provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a “voluntary, work-based program that provides free and confidential assessments, referrals, short-term counselling, and follow-up services to employees who are having job-related or personal difficulties.” Many workers are unaware that their company offers this sort of program, so it’s worth checking to see whether your firm does and fully utilizes it.
People who have low-quality relationships at work are more likely to experience stress, burnout, emotional exhaustion, and high job-related anxiety. While you might be embarrassed to talk about your relationship problems with a stranger, you must take action before things get worse. When dealing with a toxic colleague or boss, take advantage of an employee assistance program (EAP). An EAP is typically offered through your employer for free and provides counselling for employees facing work-related issues like bullying and relationship difficulties.
Research has found that employees who receive EAP services report greater satisfaction with their jobs. With job satisfaction comes better productivity in your day-to-day tasks—and better performance results from your company as a whole.
10) Define realistic goals
Setting attainable objectives that are realistic, achievable, and flexible may assist you in distinguishing between tasks that must be completed right away versus those that can be finished at a later date. Determine the essential professional objectives and everyday activities to accomplish. Ask your supervisor or manager to assign the most important professional goals and daily duties to complete.
After you’ve set short-term goals, break them down into actionable tasks and responsibilities. A common tactic is to divide larger goals into a series of smaller, bite-sized pieces. This will help reduce feelings of overwhelm, enabling you to conquer daunting challenges in manageable chunks.
Don’t fall into the trap of doing monotonous activities that feel like busywork or become irrelevant over time.
Toxic productivity can have serious consequences for your mental and physical health, not to mention your career. That’s why it’s important to be proactive in avoiding these behaviours and environments. Implementing some of the tips we shared today should help you stay on track and productive without sacrificing your well-being.
Are you looking to promote a toxic-free work culture in your organisation? Try a workforce management system that provides you with real-time workforce analytics for more productivity and less toxicity.
Have you had to deal with toxic productivity in the past? How did you handle it? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!!