Holiday rushes. Corporate deadlines. Your boss is just having a terrible day. There are days when work is a grind, which is just part of regular 9-to-5 work life. However, if it feels like this is your typical, everyday experience, this may be a sign that you’re working in a toxic work environment.
Toxic jobs wreak havoc on your mental health. The increased stress and irritability can follow you home, damaging professional and personal relationships.
A toxic work environment can also lead to burnout, resulting in less productivity and company morale. These reasons are why you need to know the signs of a toxic workplace, whether you have been working in such a workspace for a long time or you’re entering it.
We cover 5 signs that you are a toxic job and provide ways to improve your work situation.
1. People don’t stay very long at their jobs
People who hate their work don’t typically stay for long. If you’re just entering the position, you likely heard from the recruiter why the role has a high turnover.
However, if it’s your first day and you’ve just learned that the people before you quit in a year, that’s a red flag. That means that the hiring manager withheld this information or that people aren’t aware of their employee turnover.
As a newcomer, now is the time to introduce some changes in the workplace. It can be scary to shake things up as a new person. But you have an outside viewpoint on how the company is running and can offer fresh insights to your colleagues.
Try identifying why there’s high turnover and address this issue head-on and begin developing strategies to address these issues head-on. New energy in the workplace can have a positive and lasting impact.
2. There’s poor communication between employees and leadership.
Poor communication in the workplace is the root cause of many dysfunctional workplaces.
A lack of communication between employees and their leadership can lead to a dysfunctional work environment. Deadlines get missed, people get into trouble, and these failures can be demoralizing.
To address these communication issues, it’s essential to make the leadership aware of how lack of communication impacts your work and identify strategies to keep everyone in sync. Digital tools like Slack can help keep employees in sync and keep people communicating with each other. When taking on projects, try to ensure clear timelines, deadlines for milestones, and check-ins to monitor progress and blockers.
Another communication issue is that people don’t speak up and talk in meetings or group settings. This is a sign that the leadership is not taking everyone’s thoughts and ideas seriously or that speaking up against the administration leads to negative repercussions.
This is more complicated to fix, as it comes from the top. If you are working on getting your voice heard but are still not being listened to, it may be time to start looking for another job.
3. Damaged mental health and burnout
It was your first day, and already you’re dreading going back to work. Building up negative emotions associated with the workplace damages your mental health. It can lead to persistent depression, anxiety, and burnout.
Some factors can contribute to burnout in a toxic work environment. For instance, there may be pressure to deliver results, despite employees feeling overwhelmed. Likewise, a lack of motivation to do well or work because leadership is not acknowledging accomplishments or milestones can also result in burnout.
It is essential to identify strategies that will help you avoid burnout. In cases where there is stress to stay on top of deadlines, it is crucial to keep your managers aware of your progress. Document the work you are doing to address the problem and report to your manager your daily activities. Prioritizing your health with exercise and stress-relieving activities outside of work is important to avoiding burnout.
4. Poor interactions between colleagues
A toxic work environment often starts from the top, but when it makes its way to employees and the workplace, it can be tough to change. Tensions in the office, disengaged employees, gossip, and other nonprofessional behaviors are signs of a toxic work environment.
To deal with toxic colleagues, it’s important to not engage with these nonprofessional behaviors. For dealing with company gossip, you can offer a neutral response or try to pivot to another subject, but it’s important to not reward bad behavior.
With tensions in the office, it is important to confront these issues head-on. Practice these difficult conversations with close friends or co-workers familiar with or who have experienced these situations before.
If the conversation is with your manager or someone higher up on the ladder than you, you may want to consider bringing in Human Resources to mediate the discussion.
5. Stifled growth
If you want to grow in your position or learn new skills, but you’re constantly turned down by your leadership, staying engaged with the work feels challenging and can lead to burnout.
If your workplace is not offering opportunities to advance up the company or provide mentorship and learning opportunities that will advance your career, it’s a sign they are not invested in the growth of their employees.
Outlining your contribution to your organization and how your professional growth can help your company effectively convince your manager and the leadership team to invest in you. Otherwise, if your company is still not convinced to support growing your professional self, it may be time to leave for a company that will support you.
If you’re just entering a toxic job or are just realizing you are in a toxic work environment, now is the time to take action.
So, tell us your story. How did you find out you were working in a toxic workplace, and how did you change your situation?