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Finding yourself trapped in a toxic work environment can be a stressful experience. You cannot even fake a smile as you need to struggle and survive when working under negative atmosphere at work. As stifling as it might be, leaving the job is not an option as well, given that you might be working with certain contract system that makes you unable to leave any time or you find it difficult to land a new job in today’s tough economic conditions. At the end of the day, you have no choice but to brace yourself and stay in the company until you can find better solution .

Maintaining professionalism in the toxic workplace is a challenge. Cheri Torres, a business leadership coach and an author, says that employees cannot work at their best in a distasteful workplace, while their mental health and wellbeing is at risk as well. So how to minimise such risk and stay productive in a toxic work environment?

Here are some tips to help you cope with a stressful life at the workplace:

01 Set boundaries

Limit yourself when interacting with the toxic people or environment around you. You might not realise it but if you still find yourself hanging around in an environment with negative vibes, eventually you will turn to be one of them as the environment you are living in can shape your personality and behaviour.

Of course, you don’t want to change who you truly are, let alone becoming one of those toxic employees. In this case, you should surround yourself with positive energy and if possible, stay far away from or limit your interaction with negative environment as well as the people who create it.

02 Don’t expect people to be nice

You cannot control what people say or do to you. You can, however, control how you react to such action. You should find a way out of that situation by accepting people’s behaviour around you. The sooner you accept that, then the better you can adapt and know where you should stand within the setting. This realisation will help empower you to improve your wellbeing at work. The point is, if you cannot control people, then learn how to control yourself because anger cannot solve anything, it will only give you regret.

03 Self-talk to yourself

Have you ever tried to talk to yourself?

Well, many people already did this and the impact is amazing. Self-talk can be either good or bad for your mental health because the source of this talk is yourself. Doing a self-talk can increase your mental well-being as you can try to spend few hours motivating yourself and let the positive attitudes come in your way. You can also take a walk around the office space and observe the good things by yourself; this will regain the positive energy in your mind. Besides, this simple practice can affect your daily life and can be your mood booster at work.

04 Reach out for help

Another thing you can do when stuck in a toxic work environment is to reach out for help. You might feel embarrassed to admit that but by asking for other’s opinion, you can find another way out from someone else’s perspective. It is good to talk to trusted colleague or friends even though they aren’t working in the same company as you. You can either get solutions for your problem or at least get someone to listen to your problems.

05 Take it as a lesson  

See your current condition as a part of learning experience. If you cannot deal with the toxic environment anymore, you can take it as a good learning experience. People say “the struggle you are in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow”, meaning that personal strength can be built from difficult situations. Pay close attention to the situation, for instance you can learn from the bad management that you never want to do twice or your leader’s behaviour that you don’t want to imitate when you become a leader someday. Take as much necessary as the lesson you can and utilise it to achieve your own self-growth.

Next read: Got an Interview? Get Rid of These 9 Behaviours

First discovered in Africa in the 1950s, Zika virus has spread rapidly to the whole world. Based on the latest report by WHO (World Health Organisation), there are 69 countries or territories reporting Zika virus transmission since January 2015.

While in South-east Asia, Singapore is one of the most infected countries according to the MoH (Ministry of Health) reporting hundreds of citizens being infected by Zika virus in August 2016. Seeing this increasingly alarming pandemic, employers are urged to initiate programs to prevent Zika virus from spreading wider at the workplace.

Generally speaking, Zika virus is mosquito-borne disease transmitted by the bites of an Aedes mosquito, just like Chikungunya and dengue. Based on MoH report, there are some visible symptoms to tell if someone is infected with this virus.

The symptoms include fever, skin rashes, joint and muscle pains, headache, and red eyes. If you notice your employees or co-workers experiencing these indications within 4 to 7 days, you should be more cautious because there is a high possibility that they had been infected by Zika virus.

Given the massive spread of the Aedes mosquito, it is not surprising that outdoor workers such as healthcare and laboratory workers, as well as business travellers are at most risk of being exposed to Zika virus. Additionally, Zika is also dangerous for pregnant women because it might affect foetus development in the womb and cause microcephaly when they are born.

In order to stay safe from virus attacks, here are some ways on how you can protect the workplace from Zika virus:

Use mosquito repellent. Even if you work indoors, you still need to apply mosquito repellent for better protection. Use branded repellents that have been legally tested and those which contain active ingredients such as oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, or para-menthane-diol. Follow the usage instructions as enlisted on the package. Bear in mind to apply only as necessary and avoid using it excessively, since it could be risky instead.

Wear long and covered clothing. If you work outdoor, wear long clothing that covers your arms, neck, and legs such that your body will not be bitten easily by mosquitoes. Avoid dark-coloured clothes like black and brown because it will attract mosquitoes. Instead, wear bright-coloured clothing such as white or yellow as mosquitoes hate them.

Unless you are required to work in outdoor areas, it will be better if you keep yourself hidden in a shaded area with wire-mesh screens and air conditioner to keep out mosquitoes.

Clear out standing water. Even a small pool of standing water could be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes use a puddle of water to lay their eggs, which then develop into larvae and eventually become adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed very quickly and they infect the surrounding area quickly as well.

That is why Zika virus can spread in the entire environment rapidly, especially after someone is infected. Therefore, you need to prevent the virus from spreading out, by clearing any standing water as well as areas that allow mosquitoes to swarm, such as pile of hangers and abandoned trash such as cups and soda cans.

Mosquito fogging. If necessary, you can call the health department to conduct fogging in the workplace. The health workers would know mosquito breeding grounds and spray across the areas for mosquitoes to suffocate. Although you may need to invest some money into this clearing exercise, it would only ensure better safety net for your employees.

Read also: How to Keep Personal and Professional Life Separate?