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Keeping Emotional Baggage Out of the Workplace

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  • 0:00 Emotional Baggage at Work
  • 1:15 Boundaries & Emotional Health
  • 2:32 Work-Life Balance
  • 4:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Shipley

Rachel has worked with several businesses developing policies on customer experience and administration.

In this lesson, we will discuss what the meaning of emotional baggage is, why it is important and how to keep it out of the workplace to ensure a positive working environment.

Emotional Baggage at Work

It's a beautiful day, the doors to the office are open to let in the spring breeze. All of the sudden, the office is filled with the sound of a woman screaming. Everyone in the office looks out the floor to ceiling windows and sees the sales manager on her cell phone having a complete meltdown outside. There are tears, more screaming, and an angry sales manager stomps back into the office. For the next hour, the tale is recounted (loudly) to every person the sales manager then comes into contact with. This epic tantrum, witnessed by everyone in the office, including clients, is what we'd call 'emotional baggage.'

Emotional baggage is a general expression to describe unresolved emotional problems. It typically has a negative connotation, especially when emotional baggage interferes with work.

Have you had a fight with your significant other? Is your child misbehaving in school? Did you get in a car accident and are fighting with your insurance company? All of these could be root causes of emotional baggage. While stress affects all of us, it's when personal problems are brought to light in an inappropriate way at work that emotional baggage becomes an issue.

Boundaries & Emotional Health

It is vital to keep emotional baggage out of the workplace. Why? It is distracting to other employees and can create an uncomfortable work environment. Not everything is meant to be shared at work, nor reacted to. When an employee continually brings their personal life through the door at work, it can bring down morale and cause relationships to suffer.

If emotions have taken over your workplace, it is imperative to get the situation under control quickly. It can be uncomfortable to speak to someone about their emotional overflow. Let's talk about how to tactfully handle these types of situations.

A proactive start to prevent emotional baggage from affecting the workplace is to implement a 'leave it at the door' policy. It is essential to check unprofessional views or moods at the door to create a harmonious workplace. Simply stating that this is the company's policy will help when it comes time to have a discussion with someone who is allowing their personal struggles to affect the work environment.

Individuals who struggle with emotional baggage may have low self-esteem or are emotionally vulnerable to situations that might not affect someone else. Examining your own emotional health and how you manage stress can be key to minimizing the effect of emotional baggage on your professional life.

Work-Life Balance

One way that you can help yourself to keep baggage out of the workplace is to maintain a balanced work-life balance. With the advances in technology, many people are available by phone, email, text, and chat 24 hours a day, seven day a week. Long gone are the 9-to-5 workdays and this lack of boundaries between a work life and a personal life can seriously hurt your work-life balance. Creating the right work-life balance looks different to everyone. You ultimately have to decide when you're 'on' and when you're 'off.'

Let's talk about some tips to help you navigate a good work-life balance:

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