When does a workplace shift from the natural stress that comes with a job to something unhealthy? Toxic workplaces are sometimes hard to identify. These environments are both physically and mentally draining. If you’re dreading work every day and leaving defeated, then something isn’t right. We’ve put together a list on the signs of toxic workplaces and we’ll get into what you can do about it. Let’s get started.
Physical Signs of a Toxic Workplace
The thoughts that you’re experiencing often manifest into physical symptoms. Our bodies hold stress, so physical signs can appear before our emotions catch up. Physical signs can include tense or sore muscles, sweating, restless sleep, hair loss, a weakened immune system, and even more. If you’re experiencing these symptoms in any sort of frequency, then there’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
Mental Signs of a Toxic Workplace
Toxic workplaces disrupt our peace of mind. If you’re stressing about your security, happiness, and performance constantly, then that’s not normal. When you’re spending most of your day trying to wrap your mind around what’s going on at work, you’re likely not able to focus on your job. This is both unhealthy for you and bad for your career.
What a Toxic Workplace Looks Like
There’s a difference between a tough job and a toxic workplace. A tough job might have stressful days and disagreements, but they aren’t ever the norm. Toxic workplaces are plagued by poor leadership, a lack of enthusiasm, constant employee burnout and high turnover, and nonexistent communication, and gossip and rumours. Many such places don’t have a well-documented Standard Operating Procedure for the workplace or if they do have, it may not be duly followed. You might face multiple violations of workplace codes and ethics by people to pursue their evil interests. If you are constantly needing to defend yourself or struggling to understand what is required of you or your work, these are clear signs that there are problems.
These problems in a toxic workplace are usually fostered from the top down. When leadership promotes these attitudes, the rest of the company will follow suit. A leader sets the tone for how others act. It’s their responsibility to make sure the workplace is professional and welcoming. If you can’t seek out help from upper management, then things are unlikely to change.
Lack of Enthusiasm
Most people would rather be relaxing on a beach rather than sitting at work, however, there’s a limit to that. If people are actively trying to avoid work, failing to have anything they can get behind, and overall lacking motivation, a toxic workplace is probably to blame. A good workplace should inspire its teams to reach for higher goals and get excited about products.
Toxic workplaces will breed burnout. When motivation is lacking, it’s likely because employees don’t feel appreciated. Burnout is a sign not only that something is wrong but also that this is a long-standing issue. No matter how hard you try to avoid burnout, if everyone else is experiencing then you’re probably going to start feeling the same way pretty soon. A good way to spot this is when you see employees consistently coming and going. Being a veteran after a few months isn’t normal.
Companies fail or succeed based on how they handle communication. As a worker, you should always know what needs to get done and be kept in the loop on things pertinent to your job. When you can’t get insights or responses on projects, then you can’t be expected to do things efficiently. Teams must have procedures in place to make communication seamless. Workplaces that dismiss the importance of that communication certainly fit into the description of a toxic environment.
We saved this one for last because it can seem innocent enough. Gossip is something we’re always told to ignore or to turn the other cheek from. However, gossip isn’t something to be downgraded. It’s abuse and unprofessional. Talking bad about others can have serious ramifications on their physical and mental health, job security, and motivation. When companies do little to nothing to stamp gossip out, they are failing. Don’t take gossip and rumors as something you have to put up with.
What to do About It
Now that you can identify what a toxic workplace looks like, let’s get into what you can do about it.
Seek Out Friends
Everyone needs friends at work. These are the people you can vent to, the people who will help you when times get tough, and the ones who make coming into work something to look forward to. Go to work events, spend time in the break room, and reach out to others. Having friends will turn an unbearable environment into something manageable.
Keep Your Work Life and Home Life Separate
When work bleeds into your personal life, it can seem like you’ll never get away from your stress. Make it a priority to separate work from your off time. Sign up for classes, spend time with loved ones, do anything that’ll get your mind off the stresses of work. Don’t respond to calls and emails after hours (unless you’re on call 24/7). Your time out of the office is your time to recharge.
Consider a New Job
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a job isn’t right for you. In that case, you may want to leave that job immediately. It is advised to be ready for almost every opportunity that might come into your life. If you want to get a job with a lucrative salary and benefits, you can upskill yourself by enrolling in an Online training program. Also, if your work is taking a serious toll on your mental or physical health, you should find a new place to work. Your health takes priority over everything else. The idea of leaving a job for the instabilities of the job market is daunting. Plan an exit strategy to minimize the risk. Furthermore, before finding a new job, it may be a good idea to go through a benefits platform like Thanks Ben to find out more about your rights as an employee and what you might get from joining a new company.
If you want a break from the normal work schedule, you can also try your hand in work from home or remote jobs for a while. It can help with mental and physical peace without hampering your financial conditions. You can designate a room as a home office and get a good internet service provider in your locality. If you are searching online, you can use key phrases like companies for the internet in my area to get available options. Your mental sanity and health are more important than sticking to a toxic workplace and if that means you take a few months to get out of burnout, then be it.
Work is a part of your life, not your whole life. If your job is taking away your stability and causing problems, it’s time to leave. Spot the signs of a toxic workplace and make moves to change things. There’s no nobility in sticking out somewhere that makes you dread every new day.
If you’re ready to find a new job, choose JōbSource to help. We have new job postings all the time and professional recruiters ready to help. Visit our postings online or come into any one of our branches. With JōbSource, finding a job is easy!