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Team PracUp

Workplace negativity develops rapidly through negative thoughts and undesirable behaviors. These negative emotions affect the performance of employees. We have discussed the main causes of such tasks and ways to overcome them.

Organizations grow through teamwork. When teams fail to work on positive lines they build up a negative workplace culture.

Psychology Behind Negativity​


The human mind has the power to get attracted to behavioral patterns from the surrounding environment without knowing it. It doesn’t involve a thought process to differentiate between negative patterns. These patterns destroy the in-built skillset. On the other hand, positive patterns contribute to self-growth. 

We often refer to these as “learned behaviors” in psychology. This means seeking inputs constantly from experience and the environment. 

Most importantly, this process is involuntary. Often people do not realize most of their thoughts and actions may be learned from others.


Is Workplace Negativity Contagious?​


Yes, it is. The very concept of learning social behaviors from others makes negativity a transferable process. It is quickly fired with the external environment. Without a doubt, it decreases employee morale over a period of time. 

In addition to it, it takes time to translate into a loss for the organization. However, it can lead to huge financial and resource losses if it is not looked into. 

What Causes Workplace Negativity?​


People have different skills, values and attitudes. When these attributes clash with others, not all people have an outlook to admit their ignorance. This is why negativity comes to mind. 

Above all, this happens on the other side of the coin as well. If a person is not understanding to the expected level, they take it to be a result of attitude. All these make people easily fall into the trap of jealousy and other negative emotions. This is what toxic positivity at the workplace is. 

Moreover, they are put to humiliation for their lack of understanding instead of helping them grow.

Furthermore, most of the time these feelings are sudden and not conscious. They shape up negative thoughts like hatred, anger, inferiority complex and insecurity.

It blows up to a very unpleasant environment if experienced by a majority of people. Work becomes sidelined, goals are compromised and people lack stability. 

Subsequently, individuals need to be very careful of their day-to-day conversations and activities.

Negative workplace culture also comes in the form of a restrictive workspace where employees are not allowed to participate or come up with their creative ideas. 

Additionally, This brings down the employees’ self-esteem and destroys responsibility among them. Eventually, they slowly go away from the feeling of passion and commitment. 

Examples of workplace negativity include sarcastic remarks on colleagues, grapevine communication leading to negative feelings, and pointing out the faults of co-workers. In addition to that, it includes destroying or dismissing others’ ideas, lack of free communication, use of abusive words, harassment, rudeness, unethical behavior, gossip, lies, etc.


Consequences of Workplace Negativity​

Workplace negativity has cost companies billions of dollars.  According to a study, such negative thoughts quickly spreads from person to person and saw a 30 per cent decrease in productivity. 

Along with that, Harvard Business Review has stated that 98 percent of employees tolerate the ill effects of negativity at some point in their work span. Following are a few of the impactful consequences of workplace negativity:

  1. Low employee morale
  2. High Absenteeism
  3. Frequent lawsuits
  4. Reduced productivity
  5. Lack of motivation
  6. Lack of consistency
  7. Poor teamwork
  8. Low confidence
  9. Lack of innovation and creativity

More, Workplace negativity not just affects the workplace but also influences the entire personality of an individual. People turn out to be bitter, lack focus and suffer from health problems in the long term. 

Indeed, negative thoughts from the work environment are often carried to home and result in poor personal choices. The individual lacks peace of mind which makes the quality of their personal life come down. Additionally, many people switch jobs to escape this and give up on a good career path. 



How to Minimize workplace negativity:​


Find the root cause​

There will definitely be a root cause for every workplace challenge and that often crops up at the individual level. It is possible to prevent this to grow if we can find this and remove it at the building phase.


Awareness and streamlined communication


Employees should be encouraged to talk openly about their work. In addition to that, managers must discourage them from gossiping. This is why workplace etiquette is important. 

First and foremost, try to prevent workplace negativity. To establish this, avoid unconcerned information, reduce bad gossip, and don’t talk about others’ personal lives. 

Most importantly, it should be made aware that conversations be kept simple, formal, and necessary to avoid and remove negativity from the mind.


Equal treatment of employees​

It is high time that companies put aside concepts like favoritism, gender discrimination and unequal treatment. Furthermore, every employee should receive a fair share of encouragement from their mentors and heads. 

Without a doubt, companies must provide performance-based initiatives like training, motivation, encouragement etc.



Strict code of conduct​

The company must lay down the codes of conduct. The focus of such a code of conduct should be on work and achieving the organizational goal. Also, the company must set rules for healthy teamwork such that they are easily understandable and avoid negative thoughts. Importantly, strict measures should be placed to prevent misconduct and take action against those who engage in such workplace negativity.


Unbiased feedback system​

Every employee should be able to exercise their right to speak on issues that worry them. Organizations should come up with a feedback system where an employee feels secure while expressing their concerns. 

Managers should do the feedback analysis through people who do not come from the same workspace. This process brings out real issues faced at the bottom level.

On that note, companies can appoint mentors from organizations that exclusively work towards employee welfare. Indeed, An unbiased channel of communication throughout different levels can be formed. 



Happiness Surveys​

Companies can also go ahead and conduct happiness surveys. This helps them understand the work environment better. furthermore, It also helps to remove Workplace Negativity from the mind and bring in reforms that promote a happy work culture. 



Group activities​

Most of companies encourage their employees to conduct and participate in cultural events and sports tournaments. Such activities, games, plays, etc. help employees come out of their work mindset, mingle and open up to each other.


Positive Competition​

There should be a system within the organization to encourage the success of every single individual. It can be the entire workspace appreciating the person, talking a few words about their achievements, treating them with small gifts, etc. Especially, this allows people to have a better perspective towards success and gives them motivation. Moreover, it will help them from developing an inferiority complex.


Proper Recognition​

There should be an efficient recognition system open and accessible to every employee. Also, this helps to identify the target performance and ways to achieve that setting aside irrelevant apprehensions. In addition to that, it cuts down the scope for favoritism. 


Tips for individuals that help sail through negativity​

  1. Focus more on work in the office space and ignore anything that may cause unpleasantness. Unquestionably, the Right thought process helps to a great extent. 
  2. Avoid indulging in others’ issues. Indeed, Entangling self in every problem at the office increases the possibility of dealing with workplace negativity.
  3. It is important to establish small and achievable goals which give a taste of success on daily basis. Furthermore, this prevents the build-up of emotions of not being able to achieve that one big milestone.
  4. Frequent but small breaks help regulate stress levels.
  5. Also, Breathing exercises are a great tool to regulate negative emotions.
  6. Have a thought monitoring system for yourself. Keep the negative thoughts at bay and try focusing on more productive thoughts.
  7. Communication works as a tool when properly used to dilute negativity. Also, open and assertive communication enables the free flow of thoughts.
  8. Avoid the blame game, take accountability for work and look for solutions.
  9. Writing down the problem areas will help individuals arrive at the root cause of issues and eliminate unnecessary feelings around them. More, this will help in managing workplace negativity openly.
  10. Lastly, Have a smile and be approachable at all times. 

About Author:

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Team PracUp


Group of talented individuals, passionate to make a difference.

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