Those who have worked in a toxic environment will know that the most enjoyable job on paper can become a living nightmare. With many people spending most of their days in the office, toxic workplaces can really become a living nightmare causing workplace depression and other health issues.

But are there early tell-tale signs that things are amiss before you get in too deep? And if you are a victim of workplace toxicity, what can you do about it?

Why it’s so harmful

For many people, work can almost be like a second home. They might even spend more of their waking hours with their colleagues than they do their family. So if something’s fundamentally wrong at work, it’s affecting a large proportion of their life.

A toxic work culture is hard to escape, even when working from home, and the negative energy feeds through to everyone in a cycle that’s difficult to break. This is awful for mental health, and serious cases might even involve bullying.

It’s bad news for company bosses too, as a toxic working environment will lead to lower productivity, as resentment and helplessness lead staff to put in less effort.
If just the mere thought of going to work makes you depressed, feel ill or intensely stressed it might be more than just general stress – it might be signs that you’re stuck in a toxic work environment that could lead to burnout.

How to clock it early on

There are numerous signs that trouble may be afoot. A good thing to say to your colleagues on your first day is: “The boss seems nice.” You’ll notice your colleagues find it very hard to quash their true feelings!

Otherwise, keep an eye out for how much enthusiasm there is around the place. Does everyone work with a frown, and talk in a negative manner? This is a sure sign of a poor working culture.
Make sure not to let other people’s behavior affect yours: It’s easy to feel responsible for how other people act towards you, but especially in toxic work environments it might not even be anything personal.

Are people clear about their roles? Do you notice confusion about who’s meant to be doing what? Communication issues can be the cause of great anxiety and can lead to whispers. This brings us on to the next sign – gossip. A little is normal, but if it’s rife, and largely negative, then there could be massive problems brewing.

Finally, is everyone new? If so, it could mean there’s a high turnover of staff, which is often a sign that people tend to escape a poor working environment, or that the company doesn’t offer the chance to progress.

How to deal with it

While working in a less ideal place, you need to make especially sure to have a good work-life-balance. It can be hard to set boundaries, but if work is already stressing you out it’s even more unhealthy to let it trickle into other aspects of your life.

Try to talk to close friends outside of your workplace about how you feel. Nothing is worse than isolating yourself and bottling all the issues and worries up. If you’ve already slipped into depression, you should consider professional treatment immediately. Taking ketamine for depression has been one of the most promising treatments in recent times.

You can feel powerless to change anything, but you shouldn’t feel afraid to tell your bosses that there’s a problem. You might fear their response, but if things are this bad already, how much worse could they be? And you may find the boss is unaware of the issues you raise.

If you’re being bullied, or even dealing with unfair dismissal, employment law firms can help if an individual speaks out against toxic work traits.

A toxic working environment isn’t a situation anyone wants to face, but they’re very common. If things are really bad and you’ve tried everything you can to no avail, never rule out quitting. Trying to find a new job can be very energy consuming in a time where you are either way stressed out, but it might also help you keep your sanity and help you keep going. However daunting the idea of finding a new job might be, it won’t be as harmful as working amid bullying and constant negativity.

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