The toxic workplace has been one of the most talked about topics in recent months. Especially after employees of the Ellen DeGeneres Show described a toxic work culture in which many claim to have experienced fear, racism and a general disregard for their health and wellbeing.
It’s normal to have some level of stress with work. However, if going to work or just the thought of going to work makes you tired, depressed, or even physically ill – that’s more than just general work stress. Here you can find some of the signs of a toxic work environment.
What makes a toxic workplace?
Lack of communication or negative communication
Are you and your colleagues not always given the necessary information to do your job? Do you feel that you work hard and never get positive feedback – or sometimes no recognition at all? Have you ever been told “You should just be glad you have a job.”? These are all signs of a toxic work environment.
Are you afraid of your boss? There’s a difference between healthy respect for a boss and fear of talking to them. A key sign of bad office culture is if no one but your boss speaks in meetings and if the employees try to avoid them where they can.
Cliques, gossip, rumours
If there’s a lot of infighting and paranoia as well as gossip and rumours. A worst-case scenario could be workplace bullying, in which case you can lose all faith in yourself, feel ill and depressed, and find it hard to motivate yourself to work.
What to do if you are in a toxic workplace?
A bad work environment takes a lot of energy out of you, leaving you sluggish and unproductive. It might also cause irritability, isolation and depression. Working in a bad environment can lead to burn outs and increase the risk of sleeping problems and sick days.
The reality is you won’t be able to change a company culture single-handedly – if at all. Since it takes time to find a new job and you can’t just walk away from this difficult situation immediately, it’s helpful to develop coping mechanisms until you can step into a new job somewhere else. Here are some of our tips on how to handle a toxic work environment.
Find people who feel the same way as you. It’s good to talk with someone who understands the situation. You can watch each other’s back and share any thoughts, news and feelings. Chances are you’re unsure whether you can trust your colleagues. Always be civil with them no matter the circumstances and be cautious what you share. Even if you’re not going to build deep friendships in this company, try to at least make allies of people who feel the same as you.
Find ways to relieve stress
Try to find techniques to switch off from work. Exercise reduces stress levels and is a good way to be more social. Meeting people other than your workmates might be a good way to think and talk about something else than work. Trying a new sport is fun and exciting. For example, yoga and pilates are good ways to recover mentally and physically from stress.
Create a to-do list
It will help you to stay focused on your tasks instead of the toxic atmosphere around you. It also gives you a reason to keep going every day, and ticking off a list of tasks will help you feel one step closer to getting a new job in a comfortable place.
In a positive work environment, the atmosphere should be cheerful and supportive. It’s OK to be different and everyone can be themselves. Issues are discussed together, and everyone dares to talk – even if they disagree.