Have you ever had a bad day at work that just seems to drag on forever?
Maybe you’re dealing with a heavy workload, difficult co-workers, or feeling the pressure of tight deadlines.
Whatever the reason, we’ve all had those days where we can’t wait to go home and forget about work. However, when a bad day at work becomes the norm, you may be dealing with a toxic workplace, the effects of which can be much more severe and long-lasting.
But what is a toxic workplace?
A toxic workplace is more than just a bad day at work and it can be a serious threat to your physical and mental health and well-being.
A toxic workplace is one where there is a constant state of negativity, stress, and conflict. It’s a place where you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells, and like you’re never good enough. It’s where you’re subjected to negative behaviors, such as bullying, harassment, yelling, unfair treatment, or discrimination, to name but a few.
These behaviors can create a hostile environment where you may feel unhappy and undervalued, leading to increased stress, anxiety and depression, and even physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach issues. A toxic work environment can also cause a loss of motivation, lack of productivity and create high levels of employee turnover.
If you’re not sure if your workplace is toxic, there are some red flags that could signal a toxic work environment which you can look out for. Bullying, harassment, and discrimination are blatantly hostile situations that can indicate a toxic work environment, however small acts like micromanagement or intimidation can also make employees feel unsupported and undervalued. Lack of open communication, inadequate resources and high-pressure demands from managers are some other factors that can make a workplace toxic.
It’s important to remember, however, that everyone experiences situations differently. What may be toxic to one person may not be toxic to another.
10 Signs of a toxic workplace
1. High turnover. If there is a high turnover of employees. this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
2. Low morale. If employees seem unhappy or unmotivated, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
3. Conflict. If there is a lot of conflict between co-workers or between employees and management, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
4. Gossip. If there is a lot of gossiping and backstabbing going on, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
5. Micromanagement. If your boss is constantly micromanaging you, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
6. Lack of communication. If there is a lack of communication between employees and management, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
7. No trust. If there is no trust between employees and management, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
8. Unfairness. If employees feel like they are being treated unfairly, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
9. Stress. If employees are constantly stressed out at work, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
10. Depression. If employees are feeling depressed at work, this could be a sign of a toxic workplace.
If you’re still not sure, here are a few things you can personally do to identify if your workplace is toxic and there is a problem that needs to be addressed:
- Pay attention to your emotions. If you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed at work, your workplace could be a toxic workplace.
- Look for signs of bullying or harassment. If you are being subjected to negative behaviors, such as name-calling, insults, or threats, from management or co-workers, your workplace could be a toxic workplace.
- Pay attention to the company culture. If the company culture is negative or hostile, your workplace could be a toxic workplace.
- Talk to your coworkers. If your coworkers are also feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed at work, your workplace could be a toxic workplace..
Here are some specific questions you can ask yourself which could help you determine whether you are trapped in a toxic workplace:
- Is your boss constantly criticising you, micromanaging you or putting you down?
- Do you notice your coworkers are gossiping, spreading rumors or complaining?
- Are you afraid to speak up in meetings or voice your opinions?
- Is your performance at work suffering?
- Do you feel like you can’t trust anyone at work?
- Are you constantly stressed and anxious at work?
- Do you dread going to work?
- Are you having trouble concentrating or sleeping?
- Do you feel depressed or anxious?
- Are you thinking about quitting your job?
- Do you feel like you’re not being heard or valued?
- Are you starting to feel physically ill?
Remember, you deserve to work in a healthy and supportive environment. You are not alone and there are people who can help you. It’s important to recognise the signs of a toxic workplace and take action.
What can you do if you think you may be working in a toxic workplace?
Here are a few things you can do to get a better sense of the situation and address the problem.
- Read your company’s employee handbook. See if there are any policies in place that address bullying, harassment, discrimination or any other behaviour that concerns you.
- Speak with trusted coworkers. Find out if they’re experiencing the same things you are.
- Talk to your boss or supervisor. If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to your boss or supervisor. Let them know that you’re concerned about the workplace environment.
- Contact your HR department. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your boss or supervisor, you can report the problem to HR. They can investigate any concerns you have about the workplace.
- Seek professional help. If you are struggling to cope with the stress of a toxic workplace, you may want to seek professional help.
You are worthy of feeling safe and respected at work. If you’ve tried all of these things and you’re still feeling like your workplace is toxic and there appears to be no resolution available to you, it may be time to start looking for a new job.