5 Red Flags Your Workplace Is Toxic

by | Oct 18, 2021 | Mental Health

Finding a job that checks all your boxes is tough – especially today. People are looking for careers that they are passionate about, comes with a liveable salary, provide good benefits, and are conveniently located. Sometimes these things aren’t always feasible. Once you do find a job, one of the most complicated things you can face is a toxic workplace.

An average person will spend eight hours a day, five days a week at a job. That’s forty hours per week, and 2,800 hours per year, totaling an estimated 90,000 hours at work before retirement. If the average employed person is spending more than one-third of their lifetime at work, is it really that much to ask for a workspace that isn’t toxic?

Toxic workplaces exist in every field – it’s not uncommon for people to feel exhausted after a long work week, but there is a line between a typical workplace and one that is detrimental to your mental health.

How Do I Identify Toxicity in My Workspace?

What is your workplace like? Is it a destructive culture that you observe affecting everyone from the ground up? Okay, maybe not everyone – maybe’s it’s just you or even a few of you, does that make it a toxic work environment?

Have you ever described your workplace or heard others describe it saying any of the following?

  • It’s a stressful environment.
  • There’s a lot of gossip, nepotism, or backstabbing.
  • There’s a huge staff turnover rate.
  • It’s a bad atmosphere.
  • Manager/leads can’t be trusted.
  • The work environment is unfriendly or hostile.
  • Staff frequently admit that they hate their jobs.

Although these don’t always signify that your workplace is toxic, they are definitely signs that you may be working in an unhealthy workspace.

The Red Flags You Want to Avoid

#1. Lack of Positive Feedback. 

Regardless of your position in your workspace, feedback is crucial for growth and morale. When you receive positive feedback, you’re going to want to keep working and growing with that company. Positive feedback helps build confidence and makes healthier workspaces where teams grow together. On the other hand, if the feedback that you’re receiving is constantly negative or only highlights your faults/weaknesses, you’re going to start resenting your manager, the company, and your job.

#2. Does Your Company’s Culture Feel Exclusive?

Hierarchies, favoritism, and nepotism have no place in a workplace. Unfortunately, they do exist. If you are constantly delivering higher quality work than other coworkers, but are not seeing the rewards unfold, such as promotions or even acknowledgment, you may want to consider leaving your job.

#3. Profits Come Before People

Businesses need to make money, and that’s understandable, but the money these businesses need to make is being made by the team they chose to hire. You matter, and you shouldn’t be treated like you don’t. If a business is reminding their staff that they are replaceable or made to feel like the time they invest in that company isn’t appreciated, it might be time to look for other employment.

#4. Lack of Concern for Employee Welfare

Do you ever feel like your manager’s expectations exceed your productivity level? Being expected to cram 10 to 12 hours of work into an eight-hour workday is not considerate nor possible. When an employee’s caseload is excessive, they are not able to perform to their best ability. If you are constantly being told to finish every task that is assigned to you with a timeline that is not feasible, your company does not value your time or efforts.

#5. Unstable Work-Life Balance

Keep in mind, a job is just a job and when you are not there, you should be able to focus on other things such as your family, yourself, and whatever brings you peace. Unfortunately, some employers expect their employees to invest everything into their company. This is not healthy. A job that expects you to be on constant standby, whether it be via email or phone is exhausting. Some jobs expect you to work as many hours as possible, with little or no vacation time, and no benefits for time off, even when you are physically unable to work. If your employer expects you to invest your every waking hour into their company, without giving you space for your own life and mental well-being, chances are you’re going to burn out.

Tips for Handling Toxic Behavior

  • You can’t control how others behave, but you can control how you react.
  • Set boundaries and learn how to say no.
  • Don’t stoop to their level.
  • Leave work stress at the door.
  • Surround yourself with positive co-workers.
  • Leave your job or try changing departments.

Working in a toxic workplace can have serious negative effects on a person’s mental and physical well-being. It is important to be able to identify the red flags that may arise if/when your workplace becomes toxic. Your mental well-being matters, even in your work environment. Having a steady income to support yourself is important, but it should not be at the expense of your mental and physical well-being. Before resigning from your position, there are steps that you can take to help decrease or eliminate a toxic workspace. If you or someone you know is battling with a toxic work environment we encourage you to make your well-being a priority. The Sober Life team understands the importance of a person’s mental and physical well-being and we want to help. Reach out to us today, to learn how you can manage your negative symptoms associated with a toxic workplace. Call Sober Life today at 619-542-9542.

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