A toxic work environment can be said to one that is defective and harmful; it can be a result of a self-centred boss, resentful colleagues, absence of rules etc. it can also be seen as any work where the environment, workers, or anything can cause major disorder during the course of your work life. Also, a toxic work environment can have negative damage or impact on your physical and mental health.
Are you are confused, and you don’t know if you are in a toxic work environment?
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Characteristics of a Toxic Work Environment
1. Bad or poor communication
For any organization or relationship to thrive, communication is key. For the success of any organization, communication skill is essential. You may feel neglected, not given proper or sufficient information like the rest of your colleagues; and can’t communicate without getting spotted which includes receiving cruel or negative feedback from colleagues and employers when you ask for assistance or a feedback.
2. Dictatorial boss
This is one reason why most people leave their workplace, not because their work is bad but because of some cruel and tyrannical bosses. Leadership has a lot of impact on a business or organization. If the top is bad, it spreads to the rest of the organization. Do you have a boss looking for the thinnest opportunity for you to make a mistake, so he/she can yell or sack you? Most people have oppressors and tyrants as bosses. Such bosses cause a work environment to be toxic and uncomfortable for its workers.
3. High-level turnover
Getting a job today is not easy. There are millions and billions of people today in the world who are jobless and seriously looking for a job. Hence, if you secure a job today, you would do anything to keep it, right? But, if you get a job and discover that lots of people keep leaving or quitting that job, then it’s a sign of a toxic work environment. A high level of employee turnover portrays a dysfunctional organization, bad leadership, and any other negative vibe from a toxic work environment.
We have seen some of the signs of a toxic work environment, now let’s dive into some of the effects of being in a toxic work environment;
Effects of being in a toxic work environment
Many employees tend to fall ill in a toxic work environment, where there is a lot of stress and fatigue, which can increase the risk of hypertension, high blood pressure, stroke, and other heart diseases. With consistent stress, your immune systems break down, making it vulnerable to illness. Fatigue doesn’t only limit you to physical sickness but also emotional and psychological breakdown.
Stress is another effect of working in a toxic environment; secondly, tension results from extreme negative physical, emotional, and mental activities. Thirdly, Stress can affect your body, behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. Continues stress without relaxation can lead to mental problems.
In a toxic work environment where you constantly worry or panic, you can have anxiety, which would pose a big problem to an employee because it has to do with your mind. As an employee, you need your mind to be stable and function properly to be effective at work, but it affects your overall productivity when anxiety comes due to frequent panic. The physical effects of anxiety may include headache, insomnia, fatigue, shortness of breath, trembling, etc. Anxiety in a toxic environment can lead to absence from work, negative thoughts, and inability to do your job or duty.
Workers normally experience this effect in a toxic work environment. You see yourself always feeling tired. Fatigue mostly affects workers in their performance, whether it is physical or cognitive. Some of the side effects of fatigue may include psychological and mental disorders, tiredness, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Depression is one of the most common problems employees experience. Most times, one might not notice that you are falling into depression. Emotions like sadness, guilt, dissatisfaction, regret, fear, etc., often cause depression. These emotions often result in physical illnesses like headaches, stomach pain, etc.
We are done with the signs and negative effects of a toxic work environment; now, let’s talk about how we can manage a stressful work environment. Our aim in this article is to tell you what the problems are and, most importantly, to help to get solutions. Here are some ways you can manage a stressful work environment;
How to Manage a Toxic Work Environment
Relaxation helps reduces the effect of stress. If you find yourself in a toxic environment and have no plans to exit the work soon, relaxation is a way you can manage yourself in a toxic work environment. It helps increase your strength. It keeps your body and minds clear and calm to support you in concentrating, makes good decisions, has a positive mindset, and reduces the risk of being susceptible to illness. Try engaging in things that can help you reduce stress and relax, such as acquiring a new skill, going for an outing with friends and family, visiting the gym, listening to music, etc.
2. See a doctor
Don’t wait till you start experiencing any symptoms or negative/side effects of any physical or mental illness. Once you know you are in a toxic environment, your physical and mental health should be your top priority. Endeavour to visit a doctor for regular checkups and a therapist for any mental or psychological challenges you might be experiencing. This would reduce the risk of you experiencing any physical or psychological effects.
3. Have a plan of action for your exit
Prevention, they say, is better than cure. Don’t wait till you get affected by your work environment. Once you’ve spotted a toxic environment, have a contingency plan to exit. Things might likely change in your work environment, but don’t confine yourself to only that job. Start the search for a job that would be safe and give you that satisfaction.