Work can be stressful. You have to meet deadlines and goals, show up on time, day-in and day-out, and do great work. It can take a toll on you sometimes. In times like these, it is easy to let negativity overcome your brain. However, negativity affects the quality of work, makes the work environment toxic, and makes colleagues dislike you.

This article will discuss the harmful effects of having a negative attitude and how to have a positive attitude at work.

The Definition of Attitude

Before we delve into what a positive attitude is, let’s discuss what attitude actually is. According to Merriam Webster, it is “a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state”. So, in this article, we will be talking about the feeling or emotions one has or expresses towards work and how to stay positive at work.

Effects of Negative Attitude in the Workplace

Individuals come together to achieve the objectives of an organization in teams. A negative attitude can lower the morale of the team, diminish the quality of work, and increase absenteeism. A toxic work environment is bad for the mental health of everyone involved.

According to a study by Applied Psychology, negativity can cost companies upwards of $3 billion USD a year. Employees and employers need to work together to ensure that the work environment is as positive as it can be. 

Work attitude with positivity at its center keeps conflicts at bay. Naturally, there will be some friction between employees now and then. A positive workplace can deal with such friction without escalation. A negative attitude increases tension in the workplace. Moreover, things can escalate quickly with negativity in the workplace.

A positive perspective and a good attitude are crucial for productivity and tranquility. 

How to Keep a Positive Mindset at Work 

Surround Yourself with Positivity

In a workplace, there are different kinds of people. Naturally, you will not feel comfortable with all of them. Surrounding yourself with people you feel uncomfortable with can make you feel uneasy. You should surround yourself with people who are positive and welcoming to you. That is not to say that you should not interact with people you do not like. Try to be nice to everyone and contribute to a healthier workplace. 

Stay Healthy Physically and Mentally

Our body is a temple. You must keep your mind and body healthy. If you are not healthy, your brain will not function properly, leading to a negative mindset. Eat healthy food, drink in moderation, and avoid smoking. Moreover, take up any form of exercise.

Exercise does not have to be intense cardio that leaves you gasping for breath. Just try to get in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day. The 30 minutes can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. It reduces stress hormones and stimulates the production of feel-good chemicals like endorphins. 

Don’t Gossip

Talking to colleagues shouldn’t be just gossip about teammates. Although there is a positive correlation between gossip and relationship building, the rumor mill will only hurt the morale of the team.

Unsubstantiated gossip can create a toxic work environment. People who gossip often pass harsh judgments on people. Gossip and rumors can lead to friction between employees and eventually conflict. A negatively charged atmosphere can impact the quality of work.

Although small amounts of gossip may be positive, try to steer clear and focus on work. 

Stick to a Sleep Cycle

Employees working in rotational shifts have sleep restrictions, higher stress, fatigue, and sleepiness levels, which together may be detrimental to their health. One of the key things for any employee is to stick to a healthy sleep cycle. It doesn’t matter if you’re a night owl or an early bird, stick to what works for you and get at least 7-8 hours of work every day. 

Sleeplessness is a disease that can take over our personality. I’m sure all of us have experienced irritability because of lack of sleep. The brain’s rational part, the Prefrontal Cortex cannot function properly if you do not get enough sleep. The primitive part of the brain, Amygdala takes over, and it’s difficult to regulate emotions. This means that you won’t be equipped to deal with the challenges of work.

Hence, it is important to stick to a sleep cycle and get in your sleep quota daily.

Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated

Being nice is not an easy task. With work, there are a number of things that can and do go wrong. There is stress and deadlines to meet. In all that, sometimes we can forget to be kind and empathetic. 

Being nice can break the cycle of negativity and usher in positivity. When you do good, it stimulates the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters promote feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. Kindness also increases self-esteem and boosts confidence. All of this is not to mention the effect that being nice has on other people. It creates a healthy environment.

So, how to demonstrate a positive attitude at work? Positive attitude examples include thanking your colleagues for the good work that they do, handling criticism well, and being nice to others.

Be Kind to Yourself

Sometimes, we are nice to the world but not to ourselves. We condemn ourselves for the mistakes we make and do not take pride in the good we do. This can lead to many mental health issues.

Unhappiness and dissatisfaction suck the energy out of us. To address this, you should try and practice gratitude. Be thankful for the things you have. In your self-talk as well, be good to yourself and forgive yourself for any mistakes. Talk to yourself like you would to a good friend. Show empathy and compassion.

How to be more positive? Be kind and loving to yourself.

Roll with the Punches

Life can be unpredictable at times. With work as well, there are so many factors involved. You will get unpleasant surprises from time to time. However, you have to differentiate between short-term and long-term problems. You have to look at things objectively and roll with the punches. You should not aggravate yourself about things that will be resolved eventually. 

Roll with the punches and come out on top. You can do that with positivity and negativity as well. However, it will be much harder with negativity. Choose positivity and see the difference.

Take Breaks from Work Periodically

Vacations are crucial for your well-being. Many people do not take vacations and get burned out. Think long-term and take your vacations. Forget about work for a week and decompress. When you come back, you will be re-energized and ready to take on anything that comes your way. 

Vacations do not have to be for a long period. There is evidence to suggest that short vacations are just as effective as long vacations. Take a three-day weekend and go out with your friends and family. It will cost you much less and still have the same effect. 

If you have an unlimited time-off policy, splurge on a vacation of a lifetime though!

Find a Hobby

Doing just one type of work day in and day out can be exhausted.

A hobby keeps you interested in things outside work. Even if work gets mundane, you will always have something to look forward to. An interested person is an interesting person. This will help you maintain work friendships as well.

But do make sure that not all hobbies need to be made side hustles. Millennials, in particular, have the habit of making hobbies side hustles. Unfortunately, that is a sure-fire way to make a hobby seem like a chore. Make sure that your multi-generational workforce has the tools to decompress without making everything a monetization opportunity.

Actively Participate in Team-Building Activities 

In this age of remote working, team-building activities are crucial to forming bonds. With HR taking the time to organize them, you should actively participate in this. This will help you connect with your colleagues and find shared interests. Seeing the funny side of your colleagues can change your outlook on them. To develop a positive outlook, you need to invest your time and energy. 

Being positive is a choice, and you need to consciously make the choice every day.

Consult a Mental Health Professional 

Toxic positivity, toxic negativity, and even depression are issues that go beyond just a change in the mindset. They can be symptomatic of a larger mental health issue. Thankfully, with the rise of social media, the stigma around mental health issues has steadily reduced.

But you need to figure out if you need professional help and find resources that are covered by insurance or your employer. HR and friends can help you find these resources and get the help you need. But it’s up to you to ask for it.

How Employers Can Encourage Positivity at Work

Employers play a considerable part in creating the work environment. Being positive at work can be made easy if they take the right steps. Here are some things employers can do to encourage positivity in the workplace:


Employers need to nurture their employees positively. The focus should be on creating a collaborative work environment. Managers should give constructive feedback instead of harshly criticizing employees openly. They should give credit where it’s due and appreciate the work of others. 

Promote Wellness

There are a number of wellness programs that companies can offer to their employees. They can be as simple as offering healthy food alternatives in the company cafeteria to having a fully functional work gym.

A healthy workforce is a happy workforce. Costs associated with wellness will be easily recovered by productivity gains, reduced absenteeism, and employee loyalty. 

Diversity and Inclusion

A diverse and inclusive workforce has a positive effect in the workplace. When people from different ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and ethnicities come together, they bring new ideas and perspectives on things. They can offer unique problem-solving skills. Diversity often leads to social cohesion and well-being. 

With Millenial and Gen-Z employees citing diversity and inclusion as key elements of retention, companies have to do better.

Work-Life Balance

A work-life balance is crucial to maintain a positive attitude towards work. You can encourage that balance by providing flexible working hours, vacation time, work-from-home options, and other flexible work styles. Rigid and long work hours can be stressful for your employees.

Instead of sticking to archaic work styles, keep the work hours short. A 7 or 8-hour workday is as productive as a 10-hour workday. There is strong evidence to suggest that short hours workday can be highly productive. Moreover, it enables employees to have a healthy work-life balance. 

Protect the Mental Health of Employees

First, you will have to destigmatize mental health issues in the workplace. Encourage your managers to openly talk about issues such as depression. Additionally, you should conduct webinars and feature mental health experts to educate your employees on the subject. If someone is taking the help of a mental health professional in your office, encourage them. Fostering a serious work culture about employees’ mental health will lead to positivity in the workplace. 

You can also make changes in your leave policy to include leave types like a mental health day and even bereavement leave.

Thought of the Day for Work

Positivity must be fostered through a multi-channel approach. Offering mental health retreats, wellness initiatives are even mental health time off are great. But reinforcing positivity through quotes and installations across the office can be helpful to drive the point home subconsciously.

Here are some positive attitude quotes that HR can put to good use:

General Positivity Quotes

When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you. – Shannon L. Alder

There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.” Napoleon Hill

Be conscious of your attitude. Work extra hard at keeping your attitude positive in all kinds of weather, through all the challenges of life. – Catherine Pulsifer

The place to start a positive attitude is with the little things. If you can learn to appreciate them and be grateful for them, you’ll appreciate the big things as well as everything in between. – John Maxwell

Being grateful puts you in a positive frame of mind. Psychologists call it the ‘upward spiral. – Deborah Norville

When you get up in the morning, you need to remind yourself of the decision you’ve made to have a positive attitude. You need to manage your thinking and direct your actions so that they are consistent with your decision. – John C. Maxwell

Positivity Quotes Centered Around Work

Virtually nothing on earth can stop a person with a positive attitude who has his goal clearly in sight. – Denis Waitley

Attitude can have a huge impact on one’s career. Thinking positively will prepare you to respond appropriately during trying times. – Jane Aniston

Never forget to smile because a positive attitude will surely motivate you to get back on your feet after you committed a huge mistake. – Norbert Richards

Is a Positive Attitude Getting Out of Hand? 

Positivity has been a buzzword for decades now. So much so, that toxic positivity has begun rearing its ugly head. For instance, Canon had this weird workplace management system that only allows smiling employees to enter the office and book conference rooms. They use “smile-recognition” software to weed out “unhappy employees”. If that doesn’t sound like something straight out of Black Mirror, I don’t know what does.

HR needs to make sure that they walk the link between toxic positivity and positivity carefully. With aggressive vaccination, we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s not make it harder for employees already struggling to do their best in these confusing times.