It may be an office. It may be a coworking space. It may be yourown home, which you use as a work area for your freelance projects.
Whatever the workplace is, it’s no good when it’s toxic.
You keep showing up, hoping that things would be better, but nothing changes. You think you’re getting used to the situation, but you’re accumulating massive amounts of stress that negatively affect your work, mood and health.
It’s no joke!
This is what cardiologist Dr. Reena Pande said in an interview for Business Insider: “It’s so obvious to me and to most of us cardiologists the degree to which emotional well-being have an impact on the heart and overall cardiovascular health… I’m really good at telling you to do all these things, eat right, exercise, and take your pills and all that, but I’m really not that good at figuring out how to help you do it. A lot of it is we’re not sufficiently addressing all these other pieces of your life.”
When you’re under too much stress and pressure, your health suffers. It would be easy to go to the doctor and fix everything with a pill, but things don’t work that way. It’s you who needs to take action, and you have to do it ASAP.
The first step is recognition. You have to recognize the signs that indicate a toxic workplace, and you have to do something about it.
Recognize the Signs that Indicate a Toxic Workplace
– Poor Leadership and Management Skills of Your Superiors
If your manager is lousy at communicating his or her ideas and instructions, but expects you to be a mind-reader, then you’re in a toxic environment.
Some managers are bullies, too. They will constantly humiliate you for no reason, and they will keep pushing you above and beyond your limits. Instead of inspiring you to do better at what you do, they drain your energy and make you feel miserable.
If there’s someone who holds an upper level of leadership, you should bring the problem to their attention. If you don’t have that option, then speak up to your leader. Explain that you’re doing your best to achieve good results, but the leader’s behavior is undermining your performance. If you can’t improve the situation this way, it’s time to think about getting another job.
– A Distorted Corporate Philosophy
So you’re working for a company that claims to be environmentally friendly and supposedly aligns its entire marketing campaign with that claim. But you know that the organization is abusing natural resources and causes serious damage to our planet. You’re under contract not to share confidential information, so you have to live in this fake, toxic environment.
This is only one of the many examples of distorted corporate policies. In these organizations, the meetings have a single purpose: listening to superiors and do what they say.
– Lack of Work-Life Balance
If you’re constantly being cornered into spending more time working because you’re moving towards a higher goal, then you have a problem. Yes; you may work extra hours now and then. But if it becomes a regular practice, then you have a serious issue.
You may think you understand the principles of having a work-life balance, but do you actually have that balance?
Antony Moore, HR manager at AU BestEssays, explains that many remote workers have a problem with their work-life balance: “Most of our employees are remote workers, and we’ve been seeing this issue a lot. When someone works from home, they usually face a period of disbalance. The workflow is not stable, and sometimes they have to shift their working hours due to a customer’s requirements for urgency. The result of this lack of balance is a quick burnout.”
If you notice you’ve been working so much that you don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal, exercise and spend time with the people you love, then you should definitely make some changes. You need a schedule that lets you complete all tasks within reasonable working hours.
– Personnel Issues
If you work in an office with cliquey and gossip-prone colleagues, this is another classic sign of a toxic environment. In this environment, you should be able to notice if there are conflicts, misunderstanding and a lack of support among the personnel.
If the people you work with are not efficient, they will transfer that toxic vibe onto you. Instead of becoming just like them, you should firmly stand your ground. Since you work with these people, it’s better to lead by example via your own behavior.
– The Organization is a Bureaucracy Cradle
So you have to work on a report, but the procedure of getting instructions and getting each stage approved is more complex than the report itself. An overly bureaucratic organization is extremely toxic. You’re wasting valuable time and you’re under the constant stress of being supervised.
What can you do? You could suggest your ideas on modernizing and improving the workflow. The manager will probably be willing to listen to you since you’re suggesting changes that would make the organization more effective.
A toxic work environment is a big problem. The trouble is that you can try to change it, but your attempts won’t always work. Will you keep bearing the stress? It’s your choice, but be careful! It’s your health and sanity that you sacrifice when you decide to keep working under chronic stress.