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

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 offer free online resources for people working in healthcare on www.survivingworkinhealth.org including videos, podcasts and survival guides, developed in partnership with the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust.


Over the last few years we’ve run a number of research projects around mental health work. Our 2017 survey results about the trends in mental health can be read for free at www.thefutureoftherapy.org along with an ebook and infographics. Our current research looks into the future of digitalisation of services under the title UberTherapy and we are currently working with a number of other organisations as Partnership for Counselling and Psychotherapy to lobby against the IAPT model and for quality services.


We run short and long Survival Courses for frontline managers and team leaders in health and other sectors. We offer thematic courses tackling tough issues like bullying at work, group dynamics and building relationships at work. We also provide bespoke education – designing courses and curriculum and providing training for frontline teams in health and other sectors.


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

Our approach is based on principles and practices of adult education and psychodynamic ideas that emphasises learning from experience and building relationality in the workplace.


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 116 123. There’s also a handy list of helplines you can call provided by a bloke called Paul here. These people are genius, put their numbers 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 solidarity at work. She is currently a Reader at the University of Hertfordshire and Editor-in-Chief of Work, Employment & Society. 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 has recently published the results of a large national survey on working conditions in mental health – the results can be found at www.thefutureoftherapy.org. Her current book Surviving Work in Healthcare: Helpful Stuff for People on the Frontline with Routledge in 2017. To buy a copy of the book for £17.50 click here using Code SUR230. You can contact Elizabeth on info@survivingwork.org.