4 important signs you’re in a toxic work environment

Our work environment affects our happiness, productivity, and success. Through my experiences and discussions with colleagues, I understand how different workplaces can affect you positively and negatively.

If you’ve been contemplating whether your work environment is the right place for you, here are some key points that could help you: 

 

1. Low Employee Retention

If you realize most of the employees at a new workplace are new, this can affect how you fit in. Sometimes, for certain start-up environments, the case of low employee retention is prevalent.

The structure in a start-up environment is different. So before you make the decision to join an organization where most of the employees are new, you have to consider what your main goals are and what you hope to achieve at the company.

It’s best for you to take this into consideration before you make a decision. You should be prepared for how you can fit into the role and the organization.

At one of my former jobs, I noticed that a lot of employees were new. I remember a co-worker told me there was a “revolving door” at the organization. As the months rolled by, I understood why.

There was a lot of negativity in the office. After various discussions with my colleagues, I found out that most like myself were unhappy and also seeking other jobs. I eventually left that negative work environment. 

 

If you’re about to take a new job, I suggest you ask (in a subtle way of course) how long the former person held the role you’re about to take. Another option would be to ask generally the amount of time their employees stay with the company.

2. Lack of free speech/ expression of ideas  

One of my favourite work environments was an internship I had back in university. I was an editorial intern for the school magazine.

What I enjoyed most about the internship was my experience with my boss. She created a very open environment where I was encouraged to present my ideas and actively participate. Having an encouraing supervisor who supported my progress enabled me to accomplish quite a lot in that job.

Now, I’ve also been privy to work environments with a rigid structure, where you don’t feel open to discuss your ideas, and your superiors show no interest in your growth or progress.

Though one can still thrive in such an environment, I don’t necessarily believe it helps you be very productive. You may not feel content in your workplace because there’s no good rapport with your colleagues.

One way to fix such issues would be speaking up. You will have to make an effort to express your ideas and opinion. This matters because unless somethings are communicated, not everyone will pick up on whether there is a problem or issue to be addressed. Communication is key in contributing to a positive work environment.

Communication is key in contributing towards a positive work environment Click To Tweet

3. Constant Tension in the Office

In any workplace, there are going to be high-pressure days and low-pressure days. Pressure in the workplace is normal because different situations arise and demands have to be met. However, if you’re in a work environment with constant tension among co-workers, that is definitely not a good sign.

If there is consistent tension in your workplace, it would be best to bring it up to your supervisor or take it to the Human Resources department.

The HR department often addresses the communication issues between the management and staff. They can advise you and your co-workers on how to resolve issues.

4. You Always Leave Work Feeling Emotionally Drained

Yes, work is just a part of our lives and adulting really isn’t a vibe sometimes, but if you always feel terribly sad, drained, or anxious at the thought of going to work – that’s even less of a vibe and a major issue.

This negative work environment can end up seeping into your personal life and take over your mind. If most days at work are causing you depression, you have to consider if that’s the right environment for you. Word of advice: get a new job sis, you can’t come and die just to meet KPIs. Start looking for a new place of work and do intense research on the environments those companies possess, I promise you when you leave and start afresh, you’ll be much happier.

Another option, if the specific work is the problem, communicate with your supervisor about a challenge you might be encountering. They could provide you with some resources to make things efficient. If the negative emotions are due to the people around, also be open to communicate that with a mentor or your HR department. They could best advise you on how to move forward.

Have you had experience with problems in the workplace? What were the signs, and how did you rectify such issues?


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About Isioma Ononye

Isioma Ononye is a Writer and Youtuber. She blogs at reflecteveryday.com where she posts content on personal development. Her writing has been featured on Yahoo Lifestyle News, The Mighty and FindSpark. She cares deeply about feminism, communications, entrepreneurship and all things related to mental wellness.

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