Every workplace has its positives and negatives. When the negatives add up they turn the office into a toxic work environment. Thus, it may become unbearable and, ultimately, inefficient. The stress, unhappiness, and discontent of such toxicity often leads to high turnover rates and similar problems affecting both employees and the business as a whole.
What are some ways to tell if the workplace has become toxic? Here is a brief look into a few of the leading symptoms as well as a few steps employers can take to improve conditions.
First, how is a toxic workplace environment defined? A recent analysis of 1.4 million workplace reviews found the five most commonly attributed descriptions include noninclusive, disrespectful, unethical, cutthroat, and abusive. In other words, a toxic workplace environment is one strained by drama, dysfunction, and damaging behaviors. These issues may stem from coworkers but are commonly linked to those in leadership. Often, either for their involvement or inaction.
Specific examples of toxicity at work may include aggressive leadership, bullying, harassment, ostracism, or similar threatening or narcissistic behaviors from either managers or peers. Other symptoms to look out for are high levels of stress, a lack of opportunities or career growth, nonexistent confidence in management, copious amounts of office drama, overall poor communication, and a culture of overwork leading to burnout.
The results of working in these types of environments can be profound. Often, morale and performance are impacted with 38% of employees reporting a decrease in the quality of their work due to a toxic work environment. High levels of stress have also been connected to physical and mental health issues, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health.
How might workplace toxicity be eradicated or at the very least reduced? The first step is to identify the source(s). Generally, there are three areas to investigate. At the company level, it could be a corrupt culture. For teams, it may be the fallout from poor leadership. Lastly, individual employees who are harmful to the entire team could be a major part of the equation.
Problem areas could also be identified through a system of feedback from team members and acting on the information received. Use anonymous surveys or assessments. This way, employees have the opportunity to share their perspectives and shed light on any hidden symptoms. What’s more, providing and asking for feedback is a sign of a healthy workplace culture that employees respond to positively.
Another approach to resolving workplace toxicity is to invest in the right tools and technology. This can help to streamline tasks and take away unnecessary stress. For instance, local, outsourced IT services could better support operations, be tailored to the business’ specific needs, and boost performance by simplifying procedures. These benefits may go a long way in reducing the negatives at work causing toxicity, burnout, and high turnover.
For further information on toxic workplace environments and how to recognize them, please see the accompanying resource.
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