We are in a new reality when it comes to work.

The increase in work from home, flex time, entrepreneurship, side hustles, and the fact that we never really clock out at work because there’s always an email to be checked or a *ping* from our slack channel beckoning us (even though we’re at the dinner table).

The role that work plays in our life has shifted. We spend one-third of our lives at work, and that’s just what gets logged. It doesn’t consider the mental load that we carry around that never really gets set down. If you’re returning to work once the kids are in bed, or constantly checking for incoming messages, you’re never really shutting down or shutting off. We spend more time with work than we do with friends or family. So when do you get time to recover and rejuvenate for the next day? And what happens when you’re bringing that constant stress and tension with you into the next work day, and the next after that?

This is beyond the era of work-life balance. This is the era of work as life. Work has permeated our existence to the extent that it has become one of the key pillars of our identities. What is the first question you ask someone you’ve just met at a party? It’s “So what do you do?” (That comes right after you hear their name and promptly forget it! Yup, our brains are completely fried). It’s probably no surprise that people are expecting more from their work. We’re all looking for purpose, meaning, and fulfillment at work. More and more employees are talking about the importance of shared value, recognition, enjoyment and genuine engagement with their work. It’s not just a pay check anymore. It’s an experience.

Have you heard of “rage applying”?

First we saw a mass exodus of the workforce. Then we saw silent quitting. And now we’re seeing rage applying: A phenomenon where people are so fed up with their jobs they are desperate to get out. To work anywhere but here. And so they apply to every. single. job, posting. on. linkedIn.


Their work environment has become so uncomfortable that they are saying “Enough is enough. There has got to be more out there.” It’s clear that above and beyond a job description, people are seeking healthy, replenishing social dynamics. In short, people need to have good colleagues and team members.

What are the effects of tense or toxic workplace cultures?

We know that the effects of company culture on our mental health and our psychological wellbeing are well established and people are really prioritizing their wellbeing above and beyond the money coming in. Every day we bring our stress and overwhelm into work (and wow, have we had a lot of stress and overwhelm these past three years). Our lives are way more complicated than they have ever been and people have had to draw a line where health and wellbeing are starting to take precedence over work. Due to inadequate support and lack of training on emotional regulation and conflict management, we’re seeing a lot of increases in people having to leave the workforce and not able to return.

When overload gets this high, we lose our ability to work no matter what skills we have. We’re at capacity. Not because companies aren’t trying, but because poor understanding of what really needs to happen is holding companies back despite continued efforts.

Up until now, we’ve treated work/life as separate silos. The idea is that if we give them each equal attention, we can simply shift our focus between the two. We can manage work with ease, we can manage life with ease. We have what we call balance, and that’s what we were striving for. Using this model, companies provide resources and opportunities for wellbeing and they encourage self-care. Basically, do what you need to do to get well enough to show up at work with the rest of your life content left at the door. The problem is, we are emotional being who may be able to shut down some of our “life stuff”, but it’s always simmering under the surface. And if we can’t manage it, it boils over into work.

What needs to happen is a clear understanding of – and protocol for – how to build self-regulation into the fabric of the company culture itself, and the way work is done. The entire context of an individual and their life, including their inner psychology, their family situation, and any social, emotional, or relationship issues are all worked into how they show up for work, Whether they mean to or not, these factors impact how they engage in work. And we know that this not only affects just the company’s bottom line which relies on these employees, but it also has ripple effects on every other member of the company or team.

The separate silos are no longer working. This means we need to see strategic shifts in our leadership, shifts in how team dynamics are navigated and actively increase our employees’ interpersonal effectiveness skills. What happens when we don’t support people showing up for work with their best capacities, then we suffer huge increases in tension and conflict. Every day there are micro-moments which build and result in mistakes, physical injuries and psychological harm.

People want to work. It is an important part of their identity and their value in life. They just don’t want to work in ways that damage their wellbeing. The time to create stronger foundations of self-regulation for all employees is now. There is no downside to having happier, healthier, and more engaged teams.