Whether you actually are doing something you love or not, paid or unwaged, suited or booted, doing what’s necessary to keep yourself in work is a survival skill.



Surviving Work was created to look realistically at working life and build our capacity to form good relationships with the people around us.



All of our activities are designed for front line workers and managers, taking a jargon-free and practical approach to building good relationships with the people around us.





We run short and long Survival Courses for frontline managers and team leaders.



We offer thematic courses tackling tough issues like bullying at work, and courses designed for specific groups of workers such as the new Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.



We also provide bespoke education – designing courses and curriculum and providing training for key staff and tutors.


An introduction for frontline managers and team leaders to quickly establish team working and tackle immediate workplace problems. This course is made up of two half day workshops with a six week online learning course and supervision.



Core topics include:


  • understanding what stops functioning teams in health and social care settings


  • building teams and spaces where people are able to speak up


  • building relationships with the people around us


  • building our capacities to survive work



An advanced frontline managers course made up of four full day workshops which include surgeries with practitioners on raising concerns, duty of care, managing teams and tackling bullying and racism. The course offers a four month online course and supervision throughout.



In addition to the topics covered in the short course, this Management Course includes:


  • managing group dynamics


  • moving from cultures of blame to ‘just’ cultures


  • strategic campaigning and taking leadership in your organisation


  • creating spaces and groups where innovation can take place






We use the LAUGH approach which uses those practices and techniques from the fields of business management, adult education and psychoanalysis that actually work.


Stage 1: Starting where you are by Listening and Assessing what is going on at work and identifying the real problems


Stage 2: Understanding the real causes of problems at work and what resources you need to survive it


Stage 3: Getting Help from the people around you and working out how to have better relationships with the people around







We engage meaningfully on social media to help you quickly pick up information and tips on how to survive work.



The Surviving Work Library is a free online resource for working people on how to do it. It is filled to the brim with podcasts and top tips about how to survive work from the real experts (people who are actually doing it). We run a Surviving Work Blog and keep you informed on what is going on at work through twitter.



We will not give your details to anyone, at all. When you’re on the site you are anonymous and for that reason we recommend heartily that you use a personal email address. We want you to subscribe to our weekly blog and twitter with the confidence that you are our best kept secret.



We will not make you richer or thinner but we will help you to survive work.










Surviving Work  does not offer individual advice about mental health or therapeutic help. Only you know if you’re on the edge of a psychic cliff so before you start be honest about how you feel. If you are feeling that you can’t cope then you have to talk to a pro. Go to your GP (with our checklist in hand) or just call the Samaritans on 08457909090. These people are genius, put their number in your phone right now. They will not judge you or tell you you’re making a fuss out of nothing. The NHS might well be in a sorry state right now but if you’re in pain you’ve got to call in the professionals.





Dr Elizabeth Cotton is a writer and educator working in the field of mental health at work. She teaches and writes academically about employment relations and precarious work, business and management, adult education, team working and resilience at work. She blogs as www.survivingwork.org and @survivingwk and runs the Surviving Work Library, a free resource for working people on how to do it. She writes a bi-monthly column for theconversation.com Battles on the NHS Frontline – looking at the realities of working life in health and social care sectors such as bullying, the impact of outsourcing and racism in the NHS.