Casey Caldwell clinical mental health counselor, Henegar Counseling Center
How to: Establish boundaries.
Establishing healthy boundaries with your co-workers is critical – it can help save you time, resources, and energy. Caldwell recommends first modeling the boundaries you want to set yourself, and being realistic in your expectations of others. Boundaries are established through honest, clear communication. If a co-worker spends 30+ minutes at your desk every morning chatting about the latest TV show, it’s perfectly acceptable to provide them with feedback such as, “I’m actually in the middle of working on something right now. Can we discuss this later?” Or, if a group of co-workers is gossiping about office drama, you can politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
How to: Know when a workplace relationship is NOT healthy.
Signs of a toxic work relationship can include gossip, negativity, lack of respect, and a disregard for personal space. Ask yourself questions like, “Am I being treated differently than others in the workplace? Is my co-worker’s behavior making me feel nervous or uncomfortable?” If the answer is yes, listen to your feelings and take action. Above all, Caldwell advises trusting your gut: “If you feel as if your personal boundaries are being violated, speak up! If you don’t feel comfortable talking directly to your co-worker, arrange a meeting with someone in HR to discuss the issue.”