Tackling Workplace Negativity Head-on

Negativity. On its own, it is a powerful word that conjures images of hushed conversations held by the water cooler at work or the notorious grapevine that can sometimes have roots in the truth. Identifying the cause of negativity in the workplace can lead you down many rabbit holes that can leave you scratching your head as to the reason behind it. Is it stemming from one incident or is it a combination of things that contribute to negativity in the office?


“Identifying the cause of negativity in the workplace can lead you down many rabbit holes that can leave you scratching your head.”

Below, we have identified some common contributing factors to workplace negativity and some tips on how you can reduce them.

  • Autonomy. On its own, autonomy can make one think of self-driving cars. In the workplace, autonomy refers to the amount of freedom employees are given with decision making and planning out their days. Lack of autonomy can be one of the contributing factors to workplace negativity when employees are not provided with the opportunity to provide feedback or input especially about decisions that concern them. Bottom line, give your employees the freedom to control and influence their work.
  • Provide flexibility. Life can sometimes be full of unwanted and unavoidable stressors, which can eventually bleed into work. Providing employees with flexibility in their work day can help employees meet needs that creep up in their personal life and can help to make an employee feel valued.
  • Create an environment that promotes fairness. Perceived lack of fairness creates negativity and can also foster an environment of inequity. Having an employee handbook where all workplace policies and procedures are documented, will help with the application of policies consistently across the organization.
  • Check in to manage workloads. No one enjoys drowning in their work. No one enjoys having to look for work to do or “make work” projects. If an employee is overburdened with a heavy workload or is chomping at the bit for more tasks and projects, your best course of action is to check in with your employees on a weekly basis and discuss their workload. This will help in future planning and will ensure that your employees are swimming, not sinking, and are set up for success.
  • Create opportunities to learn and grow. It can be difficult to feel inspired if you are doing the same tasks every single day. Providing employees with opportunities for cross training allows for skill building and ultimately growth within the company. These learning opportunities are the perfect way to show employees that you are care about them by investing in their future.
  • Recognition for a job well done. Too often, we are quick to correct undesirable action and we forget about simple things such as a simple “thank you” for a job well done. Other ways of showing your appreciation can be: team building events, professional development, having a social committee that can plan both during and after-hours social events and remember to do those workload check-ins!
  • Take time to have some fun. Whether it’s taking time to decorate the office for Halloween to inviting the whole team to have lunch together on a Friday, it’s proven that building social bonds at work will help create engagement, and will enforce a positive and fun atmosphere.

Your Engaged Assignment: Are you feeling some impact of negativity in your workplace? Take a moment to ask yourself how many of these strategies could you implement and see the difference it makes! Remember as well that we can help you get back on track and going in the right direction by facilitating a Appreciation at Work with your team. We are just a phone call away!