A successful company always relies on its human resources. Without loyal employees, solid work ethics and a visionary, any company in the world no matter how great is bound to fail. However, there are a million other reasons for the collapse of huge companies other than the decline of the economy. On top of them is a toxic work environment. Before you jump into conclusions and question the very notion of a toxic work environment, learn more about what it actually means and what you can do about it.
Define the Toxic Work Environment
The definition is extracted from the word “toxic”. A toxic work environment is hazardous to the health. It results in constant stress and many stress-related diseases like hypertension, heart diseases and depression. It leads to poor decision-making resulting from ongoing chaos and irrationality. Toxic work environments drive employees away, no matter how lucrative the payment is due to the constant mayhem of backstabbing, fighting and lack of support. You can easily detect whether you are in a toxic work environment or not through reading about its signs and precipitating factors.
Signs of a Toxic Work Environment:
1) The Formation of Cliques
A healthy work environment relies on its human power. An air of unity and support is what drives the job forward. Superiors encourage teamwork and treat everybody equally. There is no discrimination against anybody based on their gender, religion or race. In a toxic work environment, employees are either insiders or outsiders with cliques forming and battles ensuing. Instead of competing together to create the best outcome, people compete against each other.
2) The Human Resources Department is intimidated by Bully Leaders
Human Resources (HR) professionals are responsible for setting order in the company. They increase employees’ commitment to the company, build mutual trust between coworkers and solve work-related problems. In case of a toxic work environment, you can find the HR department intimidated by leaders who bully their subordinates (whether by sexual harassment, misogyny, racism or emotional abuse) and won’t stand up to them. Instead of dealing with workplace bullying in a practical way, things get out of hand and due to the company being run by fear, the atmosphere is laden with blaming, scapegoating and belittling of the employees.
3) Constant Interruptions and Lack of Privacy
There’s no denying that a healthy workplace is also a place where you have your own desk, cubicle or office. When you are constantly interrupted by fellow coworkers from other departments or you come to work one day to find two people invading your desk with their drinks and breakfast, this is a trigger for an upcoming catastrophe. Constant interruptions lead to lack of concentration, lack of motivation and overall disappointment.
You’re doing the work of two and only paid half of what you deserve. The management team disappears when they are most needed. Despite working hard, you are yet met with unrealistic expectations. Your superiors are hypocrites who say what they don’t mean. Your bosses steal your ideas and claim as yours, when you report to the HR they do nothing about it. Sounds like Hell? This is how a toxic work environment is run.
5) You Constantly Feel Physically and Emotionally Ill
Every employee would need the occasional sick day. However, when your “sick days” start piling up even beyond the assigned limit, understand that there’s an underlying cause other than needing to recharge your batteries. When the sick days are taken off because you are physically or emotionally ill, and the process is repetitive, know that you’re in trouble. Everybody gets stressed from work once or twice a year but not everybody goes to see a therapist for work-related issues. If you were healthy and your job leads to your first heart attack, you’re in a toxic work environment.
What Can You Do about a Toxic Work Environment?
Having a job is great way, but sometimes you have to ask yourself, “How far can I go just to keep this job?”
If your position in the company doesn’t allow you the influence to make a change, quit this job. Run as fast as you can. Staying employed and miserable is not worth it, especially if your health is at stake. Before you become too involved into the mess that is your workplace, you should detach yourself from it completely.
However, that doesn’t mean you should quit your job before trying to fix things. Maybe it is time you stood up for yourself and let your superiors know how you feel about their mistreatment.