How to characterize a toxic work environment | The importance of mental health at work
The environment that we work in every day is an integral part of our everyday lives. According to Gettysburg University, an average person spends 1/3rd of our waking life at work. Since an environment that you spend such a massive amount of time on is highly impactful on your overall life, a healthy work environment is a necessity nowadays.
Sometimes toxic work environments are hard to identify, not for the person that looks at it from an outsider’s perspective, but for the one that is tangled up in such an environment. It may be any number of things that lie just under the surface, but these are, inevitably, destructive to the morale and performance of even the best of employees.
Work and the importance of mental health
Daily tasks at work often undermine the importance of mental health. You get used to continuously overtaxing yourself even if it comes at the cost of getting anxiety or depression.
You must understand that the importance of your mental health is paramount, and if you continue to burn the candle at both ends, it will run out sooner than you think! Mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression will take over you and will not be able to deliver at a capacity of which you know you are capable. The feeling will overcome you and lead to even more depression. So, it is advisable to avoid the toxic workplace and bosses and environments altogether.
What happens when you work in a toxic environment?
Do not work in a toxic work environment, or you will just end up losing a significant part of your enthusiasm towards work. That is what goes wrong 99% of the time, and people spend all their lives blaming themselves. Get rid of the toxicity by not working in that toxic workplace and find an employer that does give a damn.
Every solution starts with identifying the problem. here are 10 sure signs that you are working in a toxic work environment.
How to know if you are working in a toxic workplace?
A toxic work environment is easy to identify in some cases but can be just as hard to recognize in others. Here are ten toxic work environment characteristics that are present in almost all toxic workplaces.
1: People discourage others when they excel at work
Typical toxic workplace story. The new employee works hard and long hours, hitting targets and excelling at work. He becomes the boss’ favorite. Co-workers or more precisely, “experienced,” co-workers tell him, “Stop working too hard, you’re making the rest of us look bad.”
As far as competition is concerned, a great worker always wants to do better than last time. Bad employees just don’t make an effort necessary to win; instead, they rely on others to make sure they don’t lose. If this sign is present in your workplace, it is a sure sign of a toxic work environment and, trust me, you do not want to work in such a toxic workplace. It dampens your speed and holds you back from being the best version of yourself at work.
2: You are told to feel lucky to have a job:
If this is a statement you have heard previously from anyone be it HR or your boss, it is a sure sign of a toxic workplace. Toxic bosses and managers use this scare tactic to bully you into staying at a not so good position in the company. It is used to exercise control by bullying and tyranny.
If your office or company exhibits such a behavior, it is a toxic work environment and is harmful to your mental health. It is one of the more apparent toxic work environment characteristics, and you will be able to spot it from a mile away. If you can, look for another office that values your hard work and dedication and will reward you appropriately for your endeavors.
3: Company doesn’t regulate the behaviors of some employees
And by some employees, I mean important ones. Maybe it’s this year’s top salesperson or a manager at work yelling all the time and spitting out unethical retorts at everyone. If the issue isn’t dealt with, it is one of the more bulging toxic work environment characteristics and will immediately stand out to you if you have even half a brain.
My advice? Leave the Toxic workplace and find a company that deserves the dedicated, excellent, and hardworking employee you are.
4: Others take credit for your work due to lack of communication
If you feel like you are left out of the information loop even though you are doing the work of two, three or even four people, your workplace is toxic. Another important toxic work environment characteristic is your colleagues or your boss take credit for your work with ease.
If continuous efforts with HR and management regarding lack of recognition are in vain, you have a very toxic workplace. It may be time to move on in your career.
5: Everyone has a negative attitude
One of the most prominent toxic work environment characteristics that can be spotted on the first day at the office is that no one comes in with a smile on their face and tells you that they love working there.
A high turnover rate is also a sure sign of a toxic workplace.
6: You boss is a “Control Freak”
If your boss is a control freak, i.e., he is always trying to control everything that you do and micromanage your work, he is a Toxic Boss and not to mention a “control freak!”
Some bosses understand your problems and let you have the space that you need to work. Then there are those that expect their employees to show up to work even if they are on their deathbed.
If you have the former boss, congratulations, but if you have the latter, LEAVE! Your boss is a tyrant and considers the office his domain. This Toxic workplace is likely to ruin your career. You are better off in a not so toxic work environment.
7: Toxic Workplace 101: “That’s not my job.”
Smaller the company more is required out of employees. This means that it becomes necessary for employees to do whatever it takes to get things done regardless of their job description.
It may mean that a manager has to help unload a truck, or a CEO needs to attend a customer service line. If a task isn’t unethical or illegal, the employees should be willing to carry it out. Saying That’s not my job is a sure way to diminish the overall performance of the company and create a toxic work environment.
8: Experience alone is valued
Experience is not everything. In fact, it isn’t anything if it doesn’t come, coupled with performance, skills, and achievements. It is, alone, worthless.
If your workplace exhibits signs of valuing experience and experience alone, it is definitely a toxic work environment and you should get out of such a Toxic Workplace.
9: No matter what the problem is, it’s someone else’s fault
Someone complains a vendor feels shortchanged. No matter the problem, it is always someone else’s fault.
If the sentence mentioned above is what you experience from your manager or colleagues on a daily basis, you are working in a toxic workplace. Saying that you’ll have to talk to someone is alternative to saying that all are not in it together.
In all great companies, everyone is in it together.
10: You have that feeling in your gut
And the most essential toxic work environment characteristic is: you have a feeling in your gut.
Never ignore the most primal instinct of the human brain; the sixth sense. If your gut says something’s not right, it probably isn’t. If you are asked to withhold important company information, or if your boss seems shady, chances are, things really are that way. Avoid such a hot mess of toxic work environment and watch out for any other Toxic work environment characteristics. Stop working there and look for another job.