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The Power of a Relational Workplace

This is the kind of conversation I had with a dear friend of mine in Toronto. Her year was full of reflection and emotion as she lost her father in October to cancer. She was sharing her month of October and November, from the planning of the celebration of life (“honestly, it’s like planning a wedding in a week!”) to her return to work as a teacher.

She spoke of how both the teachers with whom she rarely interacts as well as the close colleagues stopped by to offer condolences, hugs, cards and food. She talked about how her administrative leadership checked in with her and made sure she had the time off she needed. She talked about how the kids, in their innocent and loving way, offered her joy. She felt supported, seen, and surrounded by a community that helped her mourn and heal.

Her story is striking in that it really highlights how in today’s world, it is the workplace that can serve as a social safety net for many. Workplaces are unique – they are filled with people who see you all day, almost every day. They have the opportunity to care for you, check on how you are doing, lean in, and help you through a tough personal time.

Contrast that with a workplace that is often considered “toxic”. Not only is it not a place of support, but it impacts all aspects of your mental health and personal life. The negativity consumes you.

Why do we tolerate toxic workplaces? I am not sure, but that is my question for this year. Join me in this exploration as we start off our Campfire Chats for 2023 with Saira Gangji from hrology who is a Licensed Workplace Investigator, a great thinker, and a kind person. We will look at what a world without toxic workplaces might look like…and how do we get there?

Welcome to 2023! Let's not tolerate toxicity...let's embrace humanity!

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