10 Signs You’re in a Toxic Work Environment
If you wake up every morning with a deep feeling of dread at the thought of going to work, you’re not alone. One report found that 53% of all Americans are unhappy at work. And considering that you spend so much of your life at your place of employment – around 92,000 hours total, assuming you start working at 18 and retire at 68 – that’s a sobering fact.
Sometimes you have no choice but to continue working in a less-than-ideal situation. But once you determine that your work life is contributing to your stress levels, you can take specific steps to correct the problem. Ahead, check out the signs you’re in a toxic work environment.
10. Your boss isn’t happy
Whether you realize it or not, your leader at work has a huge effect on morale. If your superior is constantly complaining or responding negatively to everything, then it’s natural that you and the rest of your team will start to mimic the same outlook. If your boss’s bad attitude keeps up, you may consider making a report to HR.
9. You feel pressured into socializing with coworkers
Whether it’s eating lunch with your team or going out after work for bowling, feeling like you need to get together with coworkers when you’re not on the clock can be stressful. It’s important to maintain good communication at work, but the expectation that those relationships should always extend past the office isn’t realistic – or good for your mental health.
8. You’re always searching job boards
Do you catch yourself perusing job boards any time you have a spare moment? It might be a sign you’re very invested in finding something new. People who are happy with their jobs and who aren’t working in a toxic environment don’t waste time trying to find a new job.
7. Layoffs are regular occurrence
Most major companies experience layoffs at some point – it’s just an unfortunate side effect of doing business. But if you notice layoffs are happening more frequently, it can become stressful to always wonder if you’re up next. Layoffs every year or worse, every quarter, also signifies a bigger issue with the company.
6. People keep quitting
You’re rarely the only one experiencing a toxic work environment – your fellow coworkers are most likely feeling the same stress you are. If you notice a mass exodus of people and can’t make it through the week without seeing another announcement that someone has quit, it could be an indication that your work environment isn’t healthy.
5. There’s nonstop gossip
Almost every office has some amount of gossip, but that doesn’t mean you need to participate. Gossip leads to false rumors and creates an atmosphere of exclusion. The best way to combat this? Don’t stoop to their level. Instead of engaging in gossip conversations, try changing the subject or simply walking away. Your behavior can help set an example for everyone.
4. You notice bullying or harassment in the office
It doesn’t matter if you’re the victim or a bystander – observing bullying or harassment tactics at work affects everyone. You may notice things such as name-calling, bad attitudes toward certain individuals, or outright aggression and abuse. Even if you aren’t getting abused yourself, you may subconsciously realize that it could happen to you, too.
If you notice these behaviors, it’s important to talk to someone in human resources about what you’re seeing. The only way to fix the problem is to make it know.
3. You exhibit symptoms of anxiety at work
Stomachaches, headaches, appetite changes, panic attacks – anxiety has many different causes and your work environment could be one of them. The physical responses you experience are your body’s natural way of telling you that something is wrong. If these symptoms persist as you’re getting ready to go to work, it’s an indication that your workplace is at least part of the problem.
2. You’re expected to work overtime without compensation
Working overtime can be a lucrative way to supplement your paycheck – but only if you choose to do so, and only if you’re properly compensated for the extra hours you put in. If you’re constantly expected to work longer than 8-hour shifts and you never get paid for it, that’s a sign of a toxic work environment.
1. Your workload is unreasonable
Lots of people joke that they are expected to do the work of five people. But this common complaint is no joke – in fact, constantly being behind on work and never feeling like you can accomplish what’s expected of you in the allotted time can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
If you find yourself staying late to catch up on projects every single week, then your workload is too much.