A bad work environment can be detrimental to your team's productivity and overall well-being.
It's up to HR and key stakeholders to prevent a negative working environment, so here are 10 tell-tale signs that your workplace might be toxic and what to do about it.
1. Employees feel stressed and overwhelmed
Employees might feel like they are constantly under pressure and stressed out. They may feel like they can never catch a break.
If your work environment is constantly putting teams under pressure, it's no wonder individuals feel overwhelmed and stressed out all the time. Constant deadlines, high expectations, and little support can take its toll on mental health.
If a job is causing stress, it's important to take steps to support individuals to help reduce and manage that stress.
Helping change an employee's workload or finding ways to reduce stress levels can help with mental health and reduce burnout.
2. Colleagues are hostile and unsupportive
When colleagues are hostile and unsupportive, it can make working at a job unbearable. This type of bad work environment can cause employees to feel stressed and unmotivated. It's important to take action to improve the situation.
HR should try to encourage communication between managers and employees - let them know what's going on and ask for their help in resolving the issue.
3. Employees don't feel valued or appreciated
Feeling unvalued and unappreciated at work can be a major source of stress.
In a bad work environment, employees can feel like their efforts are going unnoticed. This can lead to a sense of devaluation and frustration, which can impact both work productivity and overall team happiness.
HR should encourage managers to facilitate a supportive environment, where employees are given feedback regularly. Once again, communication is key here.
Managers can also try to help teams focus on the positives and remind individuals that they are valued and appreciated, even if their current work situation doesn't reflect that.
4. Tasks are monotonous and unfulfilling
In some workplaces, the work is monotonous and unfulfilling.
In these cases, the worker may feel belittled or disregarded. The worker may also feel that their skills are not being used in the best way possible.
One tell-tale sign is a lack of productivity, particularly for manual tasks like administration.
Some ways to avoid such issues is to find ways to motivate teams with a reward, or listen to suggestions on how things could be automated.
The time investment could be worth it so the worker can spend time providing value elsewhere.
5. Negative teams and drama
If HR is constantly dealing with negativity and drama then this is another sign the workplace is toxic. The Leadership team and HR can work together in improving culture by upskilling and training staff in communication and leadership skills.
Negativity is best ignored, but persistent negativity needs resolving. Team away days and activities that encourage positive, optimistic thinking can help with this.
6. The workload is excessive and unrealistic
The workload in many workplaces can be excessive and unrealistic. This can lead to a toxic work environment. When the workload is too much, it can be difficult to complete tasks on time and meet deadlines.
When people are stressed, they may lash out at co-workers or become hostile. The workload should be manageable so that everyone can work together harmoniously. Having clear objectives and priorities is key.
7. There's a lack of communication and transparency
A lack of communication and transparency in the workplace can lead to employees feeling left out and uninformed. This can cause them to feel distrustful and resentful. In some cases, this may even lead to employees leaving the company.
It is therefore important for employers to ensure that there is a good flow of communication and that employees are kept up-to-date on what is happening. This will help to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated.
8. People don't feel safe or respected
In an organization where people don't feel safe or respected, individuals feel like they are constantly walking on eggshells, afraid to say or do anything that might upset their boss.
When people try to speak up and are dismissed or ignored this is a clear sign things need to change.
If people feel safe, they are not afraid to share ideas which can inspire creativity and increase productivity.
Key stakeholders and HR teams should work together to help foster a safe and respectful place for everyone to work.
9. The company culture is unhealthy and oppressive
There is a reason why people often say 'work isn't all it's cracked up to be.' Many times, work can be a toxic and oppressive environment. This can be especially true for women and marginalized groups.
Workplaces across the country are plagued with these types of problems. These problems can include a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and discrimination.
Companies need to start by recognizing that these problems exist and employees must not be afraid to speak out against them.
Training and awareness programs can help prevent such things from occurring as well as a thorough hiring process.
10. There is a fear of failure
Workplaces that cultivate a culture of blame and consequences as a result of failure is bad for productivity.
Some of the best organizations do not punish employees for failing, in-fact they encourage it.
Ensure that your company culture encourages failures and helps support employees when mistakes are made. This is the sign of a great company culture.