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How to recognize and deal with a toxic workplace

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here are many signs that your work environment is not optimal. However, it is easy to rely on personal feelings rather than on objective elements. In this article, we review some clues to help you recognize a toxic work environment, giving you some tips to better cope with the situation.

Psychosocial risks and stress related to the professional sphere have serious consequences both on the health of individuals and on the work of companies.

What is a toxic workplace?


In the past, workplace safety analysis was essentially focused on physical risks. However, the growing awareness of social and mental health has also opened up new issues in the workplace. The attention of the experts has also gradually turned to the psychological aspect and to the repercussions on well-being and productivity. A debate has therefore begun on the recognition of psychosocial risks. In this regard, Nairatalktoday indicate six alarm bells that may portend a less than optimal working climate in Nigeria 

The Six Alarm Bells


Let’s examine these critical signals in more detail.


1. Excessive workloads


It is normal for work overloads to occur from time to time. Sometimes you have to answer calls or messages after set times or you have to finish an assignment outside of the office. As these episodes become more frequent, however, it is possible to feel the sensation of not being able to complete one’s duties, thus experiencing fatigue and discomfort. This feeling can also be due to tasks that are not foreseen in one’s role and which therefore involve an additional level of difficulty.

To cope with this excessive load, you can plan regular breaks and often change the type of activity performed. If, on the other hand, you believe that certain activities do not compete with you, you could talk about it with your superiors, asking that the assigned tasks are in line with your employment contract; alternatively, you may require special training.


2. Conflicting demands and lack of clarity on roles


In some cases, especially in small businesses, you may need to fill multiple roles at the same time. As a result, your responsibilities may not be well defined and you may receive conflicting requests or requests that are not in line with your competencies. The ambiguity of the position and functions assigned can create uncertainty and misunderstandings or fuel situations of conflict with other colleagues and with superiors.

To remedy this situation of uncertainty, you could ask the company to more clearly indicate the activities of your competence. In an efficient company, everyone knows precisely their tasks, their responsibilities and the objectives that they must achieve.


3. Lack of involvement in decision-making processes and working methods


Being able to participate in decisions concerning the way to work, for example rhythms or breaks, stimulates involvement and interest, as well as increasing the sense of autonomy. By controlling and deciding how you plan and carry out your work, you can better manage any problems.

A lack of flexibility and participation can contribute to stress and insecurity, which negatively affect productivity and peace of mind. If so, you may want to be more involved in decisions regarding your job.


4. Inadequate management of organizational changes


Transparency in corporate decisions contributes to maintaining a peaceful climate. If changes are shared, staff feel involved and are able to react. Otherwise, a feeling of uncertainty and job insecurity could emerge, with potential negative consequences.

Inform yourself or request to receive information on ongoing projects. By knowing the company’s plans in advance, you will be able to face the situation with greater peace of mind and feel part of the company.


5. Ineffective communication, lack of support from colleagues or superiors


The circulation of information in the company is important: we must avoid creating misunderstandings or misunderstandings. We may encounter problems in communication when requests are not clearly expressed and therefore are received incorrectly.

Likewise, it is very important to know that you can count on the support of colleagues and superiors: a low level of understanding and collaboration can cause insecurity and stress. You can talk about it with the people you work with and with your managers, trying to raise awareness on the subject.


6. Ambiguous or harassing attitudes


A work environment is healthy when relationships are based on respect. Forms of discrimination aimed at you or colleagues, or favoritism or nepotism, negatively affect the esteem you have towards your managers or the company.

Such conduct can lead to verbal conflicts or other attitudes that are more difficult to intercept, such as isolation in the workplace. If you see this type of situation, do not hesitate to discuss it with colleagues and superiors, or contact Human Resources directly.

How to deal with a toxic workplace


In addition to the measures already listed, you can adopt the following strategies.


Bring out your positive energies


Even if you spend a lot of time with people with negative attitudes, it’s important to be able to see things from another perspective: consider what you like about your job and adopt a proactive attitude. Also try to hang out with more positive people, so as to mitigate the negativity of the office.


Avoid office Aproko


While it is normal to have relationships with colleagues, it is best to avoid gossip, as it promotes toxicity in the workplace. Set “boundaries” with those around you. Avoiding office gossip can protect you from negativity and help you focus on work.


Cultivate self-esteem


A toxic work environment can harm your self-esteem. Consider enrolling in a personal or, better still, professional growth course that will allow you to advance your career. An inspiring project is an antidote to negativity and will offer development opportunities in your future.


Find opportunities to relax


After a long and stressful work day, it’s important to be able to unwind. Whether it’s letting off steam in the gym or relaxing with yoga, relieving stress can make a difference and help improve mood.


Talk to experts


In some regions assistance and listening desks are active on work discomfort and psychosocial stress in the workplace. Check for such facilities in your area and consider consulting experienced professionals.


Look for a new job


If the situation becomes unbearable, consider changing jobs. Make sure you have other opportunities in sight and have thought through your decision thoroughly. 

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