Two Asian women discussing work.

A healthy work culture is one of the hallmarks of a successful, inclusive, modern-day business. Job advertisements calling for applicants who “thrive in a fast-paced environment” are made fun of, and rightfully so because, usually, that’s just code for “we’re .” Thankfully, not all companies are this way, and more bosses are trying to make the office (virtual or IRL) a safer, less toxic space for employees. Here are two women who are making this happen.

Toxic Work Culture Is the Prevalence of Fear and Anxiety

For Angela Contreras, head of people and culture at a digital agency, a toxic work culture is an environment wrapped in fear and anxiety. “It is usually characterized by lack of trust and transparency, , bullying or harassment, resistance to change, favoritism, lack of boundaries, and poor communication,” she says.

Having worked in human resources and people management for 14 years, Angela has seen first-hand how these feelings start to consume employees and keep them from being their best at work. “It usually stems from poor leadership, lack of clear values and direction, and entrenched negative behaviors. These can lead to conflict and the failure to arrive at a resolution out of fear of retaliation from superiors,” she explains.

The good thing is Angela’s position allows her to instigate change. When trying to repair a toxic work culture, she recommends doing the following:

Cultivate self-expression.

“I try to cultivate an environment where my team can and explore their curiosity where they can make mistakes and won’t be judged,” she shares. “It is also important to practice what psychologist Harriet Lerner teaches, which is ‘to listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard.’”

Connect with people on a personal level.

“It’s important to connect with your team on a personal level when they are comfortable. Sometimes the performance of employees is affected by external factors, and that’s worth knowing so you can support them better. My goal when someone has a problem is to be there for them even more during their lowest and help them as much as I can .” She adds, “They need to be reassured that I will be with them during bad times.”

Build camaraderie.

“In the previous companies I’ve worked at, I implemented Thirsty Thursday, where employees can gather over drinks, snacks, and games. It’s not about the food or beverages, but about building camaraderie so that when conflict arises, they have that built-in relationship that can help prevent drama.

Extend help in challenging times.

“Make sure your team has enough resources to perform their jobs and always have a pool of freelancers on standby to provide them with extra support.” She adds, “We send our employees medicine kits and fruit baskets during health emergencies. We send their families food every day for 14 days, so they don’t need to worry about shopping and cooking. More importantly, we reassure them that it’s okay not to think about work when you’re sick.”

Toxic Work Culture Makes It Difficult for People to Love Their Job

The saying goes, do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Michelle del Rosario, co-founder and CEO of an end-to-end communications firm, believes it’s difficult for employees to love their jobs when the processes, people, and tasks themselves are flawed. “This happens when management doesn’t think, adapt, and listen to what their team needs and feels,” Michelle says.

Still, even with the best managers, occasional feelings of dissatisfaction are inevitable. “To address this, we offer wellness programs at the office. We engage with a wellness coach, allot three mental health day leaves on top of and sick leave, and organize team bonding activities outside of work,” she shares.

“Everyone we work with has feelings and encounters challenges. The world is stressful enough, so our goal is to make work life pleasant and enjoyable. When people enjoy what they do, it gets them through the toughest times at work. When we take good care of our team, they will eventually take care of our business without being asked,” she adds.

Feeling weighed down by a stressful work environment? Stay cool even during challenging times with a beauty regimen that keeps you looking composed and professional. Smooth your hair with TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Serum, which gives you that glossy, professional blow-dry look. Keep your skin fresh and hydrated for up to 24 hours with Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Body Wash, and prevent body odor while brightening your underarms with Rexona Dry Serum Deodorant Vit C + Anti-Stain.

A healthy work culture is not something that Human Resources can magically hand to employees – you build it together patiently. However, those in positions of authority have a bigger responsibility to make sure programs that promote well-being are implemented. Does your boss or HR take care of you? Don’t be afraid to share your suggestions with them. If they take it the wrong way, maybe it’s time to move somewhere less, well, toxic.