The above question has been resounding in my head, while I was at work observing the attitudes of persons of whom I work with. The question begs to be answered as I was looking at ways and means to cope with the stress of work and handling co-workers at the same time. So I ask you again the question again: Is your workplace toxic?
Let us look at what the definition of toxic is before we delve down into how the workplace is toxic. Oxford Dictionary online have defined toxic as poisonous, very bad unpleasant or harmful. Now one of those words would resonate within our core as we are brought back to the workplace. As we look at the workplace closely with our inner eyes, we can now answer the question that was posed before: Is your workplace toxic?
The answer of this question lies within the people themselves. Before you answer the question, let me ask you this? Do you feel negative towards your office and going to work out of the normal gripes of getting out of bed to go to work? Do you feel stagnant like you are not making a meaningful contributions towards the growth of the organization? Do you feel like it is you against the whole organization at times (meaning that you feel like an outcasted and ostrasized person)? Do you feel as you are constantly judged and criticized to the point where you feel demoralized? Do you feel disenaged from your activities?
If you answered Yes to most questions that were posed then it seems that from my perspective, you are working in an toxic environment. Toxic environments are everywhere and it is not only in the workplace. There are toxic relationships which can be have between co-workers and sometimes employees and bosses, as well as the relationship we have with persons outside our workplace.
We spend majority of the day within the office whether its in an open floor plan, in a cubicle or in an office itself. We have to deal with persons who are both positive and negative in nature, the boss breathing down our necks for assignments to be completed, phones ringing off the hook, co-workers coming in for one thing or another and our own personal needs. It gets overwhelming at times and yes, from all of this, we can become toxic in our own auras and also start have the feelings of hopelessness as well as stagnation.
Is your workplace toxic? Some would answer this question with a resounding yes while others would inwardly answer this question fearing that if they . Toxic workplaces can be the source of unhappiness, crankiness, draining of energies as well as physical ailments that are found within persons. Persons who are genuinely bubbly will feel their own aura becoming gray and dingy and their personas have become like all the rest. As cited by an article on the website blog.chron.com, Barbara Bailey Reinhold, Ed.D. stated in her book Toxic Work that unhealthy enviornments affects both your psychological and physical health. According to Reinhold, a toxic workplace is “when the demands of your job, and your response to them undercut the quality of your family life and friendships, you are robbed of the very things you need in order to be fully alive and most creative and productive on the job”
In an interview with Mallory Starks Peter Frost, author of the book Toxic Emotions at Work, stated that an organization’s tone tend to flow from the top, from managers down to their employees and thus toxicity flows in this direction. When there is a toxic boss or supervisor, the pain that he or she unleashes on their subordinates can cause them to become anxious and thus creating havoc in their already delicate internal mechanism. As cited by Frost, Smishek stated that if left untreated, toxicity can build up and affect everyone within the organization which can also affects the company’s profit margin.
Toxic workplaces can be detrimental to one’s health where they become literally ill. They may suffer from anxiety attacks, depression, tension headaches, anger and tiredness which would pop up from the mere mention of work or the address of where they work or even persons that they work with. They physically have to drag themselves out of bed to get ready for work, everyday, while wishing the wish of working from home and not having to deal with the people whom they may have deemed unproductive, demotivating and plain old negative and others who just seem like they are just bullies, having you do things in the way they were taught and not listen to way another way of carrying out tasks along with a whole plethora of added stress from the work load itself.
When persons becomes physically ill from their workplace alot of things are taken into consideration and the big important question comes into play which is, do I leave my job that brings me all this negativity or do I stay and suffer alone in silence? Alot of persons chooses the latter because it is the job that help to pay for everyday life. They will leave only when they are able to locate a better job in another industry or even within the same industry, or better yet they may just get promoted to another department where there is not much headaches. But this may not be the case for others and are stuck with a boss who screams at them and co-workers who seem to terrorize them.
There are persons who feel like they are just stuck there for life, becoming stagnant and giving up on that fleeting chance of moving up in the ranks of the organization. Demotivated, disengagement and demoralized which is a result of a toxic work environment. When a workplace does not offer room for growth, development as well as a channel for new and innovating ideas, the worker will feel like they are stuck there for life with no chance of getting to utilize the skills that have been trained in. This can lead to a disengagement of self from the tasks that should be carried out. While they will still work, they will only function at either 40% or sometimes lower. This can be the result of toxic people who have sucked out the energy out of these people leaving them feeling depleted, drained along with waning coping skills.
Apart from working with these “dragons” with negative auras, the physical location of the building or even the building can pose a level of toxicity that can poison the aura of persons. The physical outlook of the building such as chipped paint, broken fixtures, just a poor upkeep of the building and work station can cause a person to be physically depressed, demoralized and feel helpless. They will feel a sense of dread when they come to work and also they will start to feel ailments as was described before. Their state of minds will become droopy as the building is and a sense of heaviness will come over them everytime they enter the building.
While persons may feel demotivated, disengaged and feeling like they are stuck in a rut, workplace toxicity is can be aleviated and somewhat be eliminated. When this is done, staff will be motivated, feeling lighter, becoming more engaged and staff morale will be boosted which can spell big profit margins for the organization