Being able to detect a toxic workplace would save you a lot of stress and emotional troubles. But the question is, can you detect one?
When you are seeking a job and searching all over – the internet, asking friends and other connections, filling applications – for a job, you would be happy to even get an interview. So, let’s say you got an interview and eventually the job. It is safe to say you would be so eager to start out at your new workplace.
If anyone is making findings of a new workplace, it is mostly to know what their pay package is. The only thing a jobseeker cares about is getting a job.
Whether the place is conducive to be at in terms of workers’ mental health and welfare is hardly a concern till they get in the job.
If at your workplace, the work, atmosphere, people, or any combination of these could cause serious negative disruptions in your life, such a workplace is said to be toxic.
If you become unhappy, thinking about resuming at work on a Monday after having a peaceful weekend, because of your colleagues or manager, then your workplace is toxic.
There are some important things you can check out to determine if your workplace is toxic or not. This article will serve as a guide for you to know these things before it is too late.
Before we start, let us look at what being in a toxic workplace could cause to you.
Effects of a toxic workplace
- It alters your hardly sleeping patterns as you may likely find it difficult getting a good sleep.
- You either do not want to eat or end up overeating. It distorts your eating habit.
- You will find our that you no longer have the kind of confidence and self esteem you used to have around your friends
- You become overtly vigilant. I would not want to use paranoid. That would seem extreme.
- You are hardly interested in those things that you find fun doing.
- And lots more.
Now, there is a distinct difference between having a hard time at work because you are not a good fit for the role and being in a toxic workplace.
So, let us look at some signs or attributes of a toxic workplace and how to detect them.
How to detect a toxic workplace
Look up the company
In this age of the internet, you can find just about any information online. There are some websites that allow users to give a review about companies. These reviews most times, come from former or current employees of that company.
These reviews could come in handy and give you an idea of what to expect from that company.
Sites like Indeed and Glassdoor are perfect examples. They are very popular and have millions of visits every month.
If the company is popular enough, you can also get reviews on Nairaland and Quora.
Research attrition rate
If you chanced to be close to some employees in the organization, try and find out how often people are leaving the company.
Employees would be loyal and hardly quit their jobs if the environment and pay are friendly.
If the company often sack their workers too, it means it may not be good for you.
Also, if you are privy to have your interview in the company physically, take time to read the workers’ demeanor and countenance. This may not say much but I am sure you will feel a happy atmosphere if all things were going well.
What are the signs of a toxic workplace?
There are some indisputable indicators that you may be working in or going to be working in a toxic environment:
Stress: You and/or your colleagues are almost always stressed out. Even though everyone is looking forward to the weekend, even at a wonderful workplace, you and your colleagues crave it.
You will observe that there is rampant burnout within the workforce and everyone is always sick, tired, or stressed at some point.
Being overworked would often lead to feeling stressed. Thing is, you might not know you are stressed. If you want to find out, take this stress quiz from the American Institute of Stress.
Cliques, gossip groups: You remember how it was in secondary or high school? When your classmates form groups and talk about things quietly?
These groups do things together, share information, and other things, and exclude “non-members” from everything.
You will not like to not be in the know of happenings in the workplace.
It is even worse if you are the subject of gossip or discussion. When a group is talking and suddenly stopped as you approach, you will feel very uncomfortable. It becomes worse if you report to HR.
You will be contributing to a toxic workplace if you are engaged in gossips or backroom discussions.
Bullying: Not sure which is worse – being bullied by your boss or by your colleagues. Well, you might want to know what bullying in the workplace is. Pretty much different from that experienced in high school though.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, bullying is “repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees; abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; work sabotage; or verbal abuse.”
Most often, bosses are the bullies, and we have fewer occurrences where your colleagues are the bullies.
Some bosses would bully you because they see you as a threat to their position. Others would do that because you are either ignoring their sexual advances or outrightly turned them down.
Our next post will border on coping and handling a toxic workplace if you can not afford to quit your job.