Everything You Need Know Before Venting in The Workplace

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Everyone can relate to having a bad day at the office. It could be something as small as a computer mouse breaking or as large as a computer crash, causing the loss of a full day's worth of work. You have probably vented to a co-worker - or been on the receiving end.


There is nothing wrong with employees venting their frustrations. Perhaps it should be encouraged, especially if it leads to an improved mood. A happier workforce has been correlated with an increase in productivity. However, certain behaviors employees should avoid and practice to benefit themselves and the business as a whole.


The Pros


Venting Can Forge Bonds


With people working alone at home, businesses have been using the best alternatives to Skype to help employees feel connected. One of the biggest challenges for business leaders at the moment is how to engage remote employees - and allowing venting can help with this.


Everyone has experienced the feeling of shared solidarity when venting to a co-worker about our problems. It can help build connections [as long as it's a reasonable complaint at the right time]. Work-related stress has increased over the last few years, so sharing those feelings with other people in a similar situation can help.


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It Is More Effective Than Bottling It Up


It is commonly known that vocalizing life and work stressors can make someone feel better. Working around with other people provides the opportunity to do just that. Whether in person or on a messaging app, emotional coping methods such as talking about stressors can be more effective than dealing with it on their own.


The Effects Are Immediate


Releasing stress has positive mental and physical effects on the 'venter' [the person ranting about the issue]. In the short term, talking about your problems in as little as 30 minutes can lower heart rate, reduce cortisol in the brain, and help you calm down.


The Cons


Venting Can Be Contagious


Once the ball gets rolling, it is hard to stop. If venting continues for too long, that snowball can pick up everyone else on its way around the office - creating, rather than removing, stress.


Be aware of emotional contagion - the act of subconsciously mimicking the emotions of those around you. If one employee vents too much, the rest might start to vent more without realizing it.


It Can Change Perceptions


It is usual for everyone to be annoyed at one thing, but one person being annoyed at everything can cause them to be perceived negatively by others. This can cause friction in the workplace or make their co-workers want to avoid them, leading to an unpleasant work environment in the long run.


Rather than saying 'don't vent at all, it's more practical to try and do so responsibly. Here are some things to avoid.


Don't Vent To Everyone


Aside from making everyone see someone in a negative light, there is also the issue of secrecy. Employees venting to multiple co-workers could cause word to spread - and minor problems to become major ones. So make sure those free group video conferencing platforms don't turn into 'venting' platforms.


Don't Vent To Just Anyone


Not everyone is equipped to handle venting, and not everyone will actually be helpful. If a co-worker has a similar frustration, they may share their solution or help calm the person down. However, if they don't, it might just put them in a bad mood.


Don't Make It A Common Occurrence


Misery loves company is a famous phrase. People love to vocalize problems, and from the outside, it is clear why. However, make sure it doesn't become a habit. Venting about actual issues is one thing, but venting for the sake of it can lead someone to find annoyances in the smallest of things - toxic behavior.


Luckily, there are ways to turn this behavior into something helpful. Here are a few ways to ensure this standard workplace behavior is practical rather than harmful.


Act Appropriately


If an employee decides to raise the issue to a member of management, take time to assess the situation and consider the most appropriate course of action. As the severity level of problems can vary, it would not be suitable for you to deal with general low job satisfaction the same way you should cyberbullying in the workplace.


Solve Common Issues


Whether you're in the office or working remotely, using one of the many alternatives for Basecamp is a great way to gather shared frustrations. By identifying common issues, you can take steps to fix them - turning venting into a method of improvement.


Use The Letter Technique


The letter technique is a long-standing practice. Employees can write an angry letter listing their issues or write as if they were sending it to the person causing them stress.


The letter does not get sent but can be an effective technique to get stressful lingering thoughts out of someone's head and onto paper. It can also help the writer identify the root cause of their stress and even resolve the issue.


What next?


Venting in the workplace can be therapeutic - if done correctly. Improper venting can cause numerous issues for the business, themselves, and others.


By providing places to complain about problems and then working to resolve them, you can reduce the amount of venting in general. That way, venting can remain small-scale - helping employees bond without building a toxic environment. Encouraging a healthy relationship with venting is far more practical than trying to wipe it out entirely, and you'll soon see the benefits.


Toxic workplaces can cause irreversible damage that affects your team, brand, & bottom line. DH offers on-site & virtual solutions to combat toxic workplaces & create happier, more meaningful lives. 

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About the Author

Elea Andrea Almazora

Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.




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