Firstly, it is necessary to note that LC circuit is not a conservative system - while the current in the inductor is brought to a steady level some energy is necessarily dissipated in the resistance. Moreover, with a steady current in the inductor the energy continues to be dissipated.
Textbooks would normally distinguish work done by the system and work done on the system, which have opposite signs. Thus, one usually discusses only one of these (which @Dale refers to as positive/negative sign conventions - his/her answer is certainly correct). This is rather general in energy discussions - e.g., in thermodynamics one similarly distinguishes the work done by/on the gas.
Thus, if we adopt the point of view of the battery - it spends energy, which goes into building the current in the inductor and producing Joule's heat in the resistance. Thus, teh battery is doing positive work, while the resistor and the inductor is doing negative work on the battery.
Conversely, if we look from the point of view of the inductor, its energy increases, i.e., it has a work done on it, which means that the inductor itself is doing negative work.
To summarize: the sign of the work is a matter of prospective: we do not say that work is positive/negative, but rather that A does positive/negative work on B, which means that A transfers energy to B. When the work is called simply positive/negative, it means that there is an agree convention about who does the work.