What is a toxic work environment? 19 signs of a toxic work environment
Are you afraid of the thought of going to work tomorrow? Or is your workplace filled with disrespect and negativity? Then you can work in a toxic workplace. Whether it’s a heavy workload and abusive co-workers or boss mobbing, a toxic work environment can cause stress, insomnia, and depression, negatively impacting an employee’s mental health. So, how to understand a toxic work environment and how to deal with it? Here’s everything you need to know about this topic…
What is a toxic work environment?
A toxic work environment can be defined as a work environment that makes you feel unhealthy, inadequate, and stressed. Negativity, unhealthy competition, harassment, discrimination and unconstructive criticism reign in such a workplace. However, the authors of a recent study note that the following can happen in a toxic workplace environment:
- narcissistic behavior,
- threatening behavior of managers or colleagues,
- excessive gossip,
- Passive-aggressive boss or colleagues
- unsafe working conditions
- Lack of growth opportunities
- low salary,
- difficult working conditions
- unpredictable work schedule
- unreal workload,
- unconstructive criticism,
- Manager keeps threatening to fire me
- The general atmosphere is negative.
How does a toxic work environment affect mental health?
Most people spend most of their day at work. Spending an average of 8 hours in such a toxic environment can have a negative impact on mental health. The research here shows that a toxic workplace, including harassment, bullying, and isolation, is a major source of psychological pressure on employees, which can lead to high levels of stress and burnout. This toxicity can also contribute to unproductive workplace behaviors, reduce organizational efficiency, cause employee separation, reduce productivity, and hinder creativity and innovation.
Tips for Dealing with a Toxic Work Environment
If you think you have a toxic work environment, the following tips can help you👇
Remember it’s not your fault: Know that the negativity in your work is not your fault. While a positive and collaborative attitude can be helpful in some situations, remember that there is a lot you can do to improve the corporate culture in your workplace.
Spend your lunch break elsewhere: Try to spend your lunch break in different places. If possible, be sure to spend time outdoors.
Set your limits: If you are forced to skip your lunch break or work hours for free, don’t agree. Explain to your employer that you need a break to recharge and get the most out of your job.
Avoid gossip: Stay away from any gossip at work. There will definitely be no positive consequences for you.
Focus on your goals: Do your best to stay positive. Focus on not staying in this job forever and set big goals for yourself.
Create a daily routine after work to cheer yourself up: Do something after work to de-stress and lift your spirits. You can take a walk in nature, take a hot shower or spend time with close friends.
Take up hobbies that help you cope with stress: Take up hobbies like yoga or meditation to help you deal with chronic stress. Exercise will also help you relax mentally and physically.
Plan your exit: If you think your toxic work environment isn’t going to get better anytime soon, you can start looking for work at corporate companies that value their employees.
Are there ways to improve the work environment?
Just like a real toxic substance in the air, a toxic workplace environment can harm a person’s mental and physical health. Staying in such an environment for long periods of time can lead to high levels of stress, low self-esteem, and even depression. So, are there ways to improve a toxic work environment? If workplace toxicity comes from the leader or the corporate culture, there is little that can be done about it. However, if it is a problem caused by one or more people, discussing the issues with a trusted manager can help find solutions.
How long do you stay in such a workplace?
How long you stay should be directly related to the effect the toxicity has on you. If you are facing a toxic work environment, you can ask yourself the following questions to determine if you should stay at work:
How much does this job affect my mental health? If you think about the negativity at work or the thought of going to a company scares you even when you’re trying to sleep, your best bet is to look for another job.
How common is toxicity? Take a good look at whether it has to do with the culture of the company or with a few employees. If you think this is a temporary issue, you can talk to a trusted manager.
Are you being sexually harassed? If you experience sexual harassment at work, your best bet is to document it and contact Human Resources.
If your workplace is dominated by constant negativity, unconstructive criticism, bullying, gossip, or ostracism, you most likely have a toxic work environment.
Emotional toxicity can make you sick, just like a real toxic substance in the air. Lack of a sense of security or recognition at work can lead to insomnia, low self-esteem, extreme stress, and depression.
If you’re still not sure whether to leave your workplace, write down the pros and cons of staying where you are. If the cons prevail, you might consider looking for a new job where your mental health will be a priority.
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