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How To Identify And Deal With Workplace Toxicity That Can Really Affect You Negatively

Posted: October 4, 2020

Workplace toxicity can be overt or covert, but in all situations it can affect not just your career, but also your mental health.

Shreya joined her company two years ago. While it was like a dream come true during the first year, things changed for the worse when her boss changed. She felt underappreciated and her career seemed to stagnate. The rumours and gossip that did the rounds in her office slowly started to have a negative impact on her mental well being. While she knew something wasn’t right, she didn’t know how to deal with it.

Do you think we have written your story in Shreya’s name? Have you been facing unhealthy behaviour at your office? If the answer is a yes or a maybe, then this article is a must-read for you.

With the growth in work from home jobs, toxicity has crept in digital spaces too, and is affecting family relationships, mental health, and career growth of individuals. In this article, we will be focussing on workplace toxicity and different facets related to it.

Read on to have a better understanding of:

  • How to identify signs of a toxic workplace environment
  • How a toxic workplace affects your career growth
  • How you can deal with workplace toxicity

Signs that you are working in a toxic environment

Most of the time, if there is something wrong about your work environment, then your gut will tell you about it. So, the best way to identify a hazardous atmosphere is to listen to your inner voice. However, some common signs can help you in identifying and being sure about the reason behind your discomfort.

Unprofessional colleagues

Working can be difficult if a lot of your fellow employees spread rumours, take credit for other people’s work, prefer gossiping over working, and generally don’t take their jobs seriously. If you are facing a similar situation, then you should raise it with the HR.

Going to work doesn’t excite you anymore

While it is perfectly fine to feel like staying back at home sometimes, it might be an issue if you have been feeling like this for a while now. Not enjoying your job is one of the loudest signs that you either need to switch your career or change your company.

Your work-life balance is out of order

With unrealistic expectations and hyper-competitiveness in every sector, it is almost impossible to have a perfect work-life balance. However, if you always have to compromise your life essentials because of deadlines, then it is probably time to stop and reassess the nature of your job.

Your opinion is not heard, and you don’t feel respected

Your ideas and opinions matter as much as anyone else’s. If your boss doesn’t pay heed to your business plans or ideas when you are putting your whole heart in your work, then it an unhealthy behaviour. In the long term, this leads to you questioning your worth and feeling disrespected.

Digital bullying while working from home

Recently, work has moved from offices to homes, and so has toxicity and harassment. If you feel neglected during video conferences, encounter impolite or harsh language during text conversations, or think that you are being targeted because of your gender or race then you should discuss the issue with a higher authority in your office.

How a toxic workplace negatively affects career growth

An unhealthy environment often overshadows bright futures and prevents people from achieving their full potential. This is how it impedes careers:

Your boss doesn’t support you

Your boss doesn’t have to be your best friend, but if they do not support your dreams and only use you for their ambitions, then you may be missing out on the growth that you deserve. In many cases, a toxic boss may even stop an employee’s promotion and prevent their career from growing.

You begin to dislike your job and question your worth

Over time, a toxic work environment can make you dislike your work. This stops you from learning more about your job, thereby causing you to stagnate in your career. Toxicity in the form of under-appreciation at the workplace can also bring down your morale and make you question your competency and self-worth.

You can’t work at your full capacity

Workplace toxicity wreaks havoc on the mental and physical health of an individual. Over time, it increases the frequency of physical sickness, lack of motivation, and causes mental health to deteriorate. All of this means that one can’t work to their fullest and thus results in low productivity.

How you can deal with workplace toxicity

While you should surely walk away if the toxic behaviour is getting over your nerves, you can use these ways to handle it if it is mild or very subtle.

Develop a post-work stress killing routine

The key to a healthy work-life balance is to lead a fulfilling life outside of your workplace. Going to the gym, learning new skills, joining art classes are activities you can try.

Document everything you do

Write down instructions and comments from meetings, save texts and emails, and note down essential parts from phone calls. This will help your claim in case someone falsely accuses you or takes credit for your work.

Work on an exit strategy

Things may change for the better at your office. However, it is best to start looking for new job opportunities and places to work if your present work environment is toxic.

No one should ever have to work in an environment that makes them anxious. But, the unfortunate reality is that many people put up with unhealthy workplace behaviour because they aren’t sure how to react to it.

A toxic environment is one that makes you feel undervalued, unappreciated, or uncomfortable. Toxicity can be direct and evident in the form of screaming, bullying, and physical abuse. It can also be subtle in the form of poor communication, mismanagement, and setting up of indirect obstacles by your co-workers for your failure. It can be your boss, your juniors, your peers, or even your client who are bringing in the toxicity and making your work a bitter experience.

This article offers general advice and suggestions. In case you feel the toxicity at your workplace is a violation of the law and includes any form of physical and sexual abuse. Kindly seek out the advice of a legal professional.

Image source: RAEng_publications on Pixabay

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Entrepreneur in Digital Marketing Domain. Has done Women Entrepreneurship fellowship from IIT Delhi, WEE. I

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