7 Signs of Toxic Work Enviroment: Battling Toxicity in the Workplace

toxicity in the workplace

Battling toxicity in the workplace. Toxic workplaces are wreaking havoc on the well-being of society. An astonishing  53% of workers said their place of employment brings no happiness to their lives. Did you know 58% of managers don’t receive management training. And 58% of employees trust strangers more than their managers?

Calling all HR departments! Addressing signs of toxicity in the workplace starts with knowing what they are. As we raise our awareness on toxic workplaces, we can lift employee morale and productivity.

1. Employees aren’t taking vacation days

54% of employees only take half of their vacation days. 66% of employees reported doing work-related activities on their vacation days.

Technology facilitates remote working, which is great for increasing productivity and meeting strict deadlines, but it hinders workers’ ability to truly relax. Workers fail to take their vacation days because of fear of falling too far behind or that none of their co-workers can take on their workload.

HR departments must assure workers their responsibilities will be taken care of when they take vacation days. Encouraging workers to plan their vacation days ahead of time increases the likelihood the employee will take them.

2. Lack of bonuses and incentives

76% of millennial’s’ will quit if they feel unappreciated. 56% of senior managers think it’s common for employees to quit when they feel unappreciated.

There’s nothing worse than putting in hard work that goes unnoticed. Employers lose talented employees left and right when appreciation isn’t common in the workplace. A sure-fire sign of a toxic work environment is when there’s lack of bonuses and incentives.

HR departments can develop incentive packages to overcome this form of toxicity. Extra paid vacation time and even small bonuses can translate into happy employees. Gifting employees with branded items, like portable speakers and coffee mugs with company logos, has a two-fold benefit: it shows appreciation and serves as an effective way to increase brand awareness.

3. Employees stuck behind a desk all day

The average person spends 9 hours a day sitting down. Sitting 8 to 11 hours a day increases your risk of premature death by 15%.

Productivity and efficiency are increased by 10 percent when standing, so why do we stuff people behind a sit-down desk for eight-plus hours a day? Did you know sitting all day increases a worker’s likelihood of developing diabetes by 25%?

Sprucing up the office with standing desks is a feasible way to encourage workers to stand more often. These desks easily switch back and forth between sitting and standing desks, which makes it simple for workers to stand when they want and sit and relax during downtime. Standing desks are also known to improve employee morale because workers tend to engage with their coworkers more when they don’t feel so tied to their desks.

4. Lack of proper training

40% of workers who don’t receive proper training quit within their first year. Companies with properly trained employees perform 202% better than those without trained workers.

Financial turnover, employee morale, productivity and workplace safety are significantly impacted by a lack of proper training. Engaging employees starts with training them properly. Studies show training employees increases productivity far more than providing them with latest tools and equipment.

No one wants to come to a job each day when they don’t know how to adequately perform their duties. Training employees shows you’re willing to invest in their future and that you’re truly concerned with how they perform. Training should begin when workers are hired and should continue on regular basis.

5. No break room

Water cooler chats increase productivity by as much as 15%. 

Your employees need an area to step away from their desks and simply relax. Ideally, you will have an indoor and outdoor break area. These are the places employees can congregate and talk about the latest twists on their favorite TV shows and which of their kiddos won an award at school.

HR departments should design break rooms carefully. The areas should include comfortable chairs and couches, refrigerators, microwaves, tables and plenty of snacks and healthy beverages.

6. Everyone’s gossiping

86% of gossip is related to corporate challenges. 65 hours a year are attributed to workplace gossip.

No matter the topic, gossip brings no good to the workplace. Still, 21% of employees admit to gossiping on a regular basis. When you’ve got 20% of the workforce gossiping, things can get out of a control very quickly.

Gossip tends to trickle through poor communication channels, and it starts at the top. When senior-level employees engage in gossip, it sets an example to lower-level workers that gossip is tolerated. Did you know gossip is actually form of workplace violence? It’s the HR department’s job to create and enforce a strict no-gossip policy with reasonable consequences to any violations.

7 Weak foundation

In 2017, 84,000+ workplace discrimination charges were filed. Retaliation was the most common type of discrimination charge filed.

A toxic workplace can’t be created unless it has fertile ground to take root in, and the values and ethics of a company’s leaders play a large role in that.

HR departments must regularly assess all employees on an individual basis and look for instances of discriminatory beliefs lack of accountability, hostile leadership styles, retaliation and information guarding. With an infrastructure that doesn’t tolerate these behaviors, it becomes much simpler to steer clear of a toxic workplace environment.


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