Many of us have heard the term “toxic work environment” but how many of us would be able to identify one? Would we be able to do anything about it if we were able to recognise it? And is it possible for that toxic environment to follow you to Work From Home? How can we save ourselves from this type of environment?
A toxic work environment is more than just a job you hate, or that makes you unhappy. The characteristics of a toxic work environment are:
- Bullying of coworkers, or by managers to those who work under them
- Gossip and rumours run rampant
- Unfair policies, or enforced for some and not for others
- Continuous communication issues, or breakdowns in communication
- Your input is ignored or disregarded by managers and coworkers
- Low Morale
- Rapid Turnover
- Poor Management – either micromanaging or completely uninterested managers
- Lack of boundaries and poor work/life balance
- High levels of burnout, in every level
Toxic work environments breed unrest, competition, and are constant stressors. They can cause negativity, sickness, high turnover, and even bullying. What’s worse is toxic workplaces rarely stay at work. When you’re constantly stressed from work, or being ignored or talked over of course you will bring that home, to air your frustrations with your partner or your family. This can turn your home into another area ruined by a toxic environment. If you’re stressed, it can affect your sleep and our appetite, which in turn can have a negative effect on your overall health.
And how does this change when you are working from home? How can you escape a toxic work environment when it comes with you?
Obviously, as the stress and negativity can already follow you home, and working from home often means the lines between work and home blur, there is even more opportunity for a toxic work environment following you out of work hours. The same toxic behaviours from your managers or co-workers will remain.
How can you handle a toxic work environment?
- Find people who feel the same way you do. Develop friendships with people who feel the same way as you. The hope is that you’ll watch each other’s back and will share any news with the group.
- Do something after work that can help relieve stress. Go to the gym, do home repairs, or learn a new skill. The key is to make sure you’re living a fulfilling life outside of work to combat the drama of your 9 to 5.
- Create lists to keep yourself busy. A list can help you stay focused on your tasks instead of the toxic atmosphere and gives you a reason to keep going every day.
- Document everything you do. Save emails and write down comments and decisions from meetings, phone calls, and every person who interacts with you. If you need to file a complaint, you will need the evidence to back your claim.
- Start your exit strategy. It is possible that things could improve at your job, in which case it might make sense to stay. However, while waiting it out, begin your search for a new job. This will help you stay positive when things get rough. If you needed to leave yesterday, consider a bridge job that will keep you active while you find something in line with your career.
If much of this article is ringing true, and it’s time to work on your exit strategy, we can help. Get in contact today, email firstname.lastname@example.org