Toxicity @ Workplace: A critical challenge for organisations and its employees

Imagine you have been going for work every day full of zeal and with a packed work schedule but suddenly one day you become restless, even the thought of work and office makes you stressed, your heartbeat rises, you have sweaty palms and there are plenty of reasons going around in your mind as to how you may avoid going to work. You are not sick yet you are figuring out ways to come with an excuse to avoid going to work. What it could be? Is this avoidance of work caused by your boss? Is it due to politics/gossiping going around in your office? Is it due to the work culture at your office? Are you overworked or not been given projects as per your skills due to favouritism? Are your peers not able to stand your success or knowledge? Are you getting a feeling of exclusion? Basically you are the victim of a negative work environment either created by your supervisor, your co-workers or maybe due to the work culture at your organisation. This has started to affect not only your professional life but it has some serious impact on your personal life as well.

Such disruptions individually or in combination, compel you to believe that there’s too much toxicity at your work place to comply with , which will only aggravate as time passes and the only resort left for you will be to say “I QUIT“.

This stress and anxiety suffered at work badly affects your well being and gives a major setback to your productivity. It may lead to certain serious disruption in life and may even give you serious health issues or stress related diseases like diabetes or hypertension. Moreover quitting ones job is not always easy especially in case of people who are the sole bread earners of their family and cannot dare to challenge such mental torture. Things get worse at work when you are not heard at all and you are on constant watch of a bully boss who would go to all extent to intimidate you at the cost of your job.

These plethora of toxins faced at work also have some serious impact on the organisations. They may increase burnout among employees thereby leading to a substantial rise in employee turnover rate. They may also cause deviant behaviour of employees at work like -absenteeism, long breaks at work, gossiping, intentional loss of productivity, delays in completing projects, breach of conduct, etc. These adverse outcomes of an employee’s behaviour influenced by toxicity at work can cost a company not only financially but also socially. A reduction in the productivity of an employee may result in financial losses on the other hand in case the toxicity is caused by the head of an organisation the employees may take it as a persistent work culture of the organisation and it may influence its market reputation in a bad way. Such organisation may also suffer shortage of skilled manpower.

On an individual perspective when you feel if it’s not easy to quit the job it’s always preferable to look in for some remedies that might help you sustain the toxicity and at the same time safeguard your selfesteem until you find your way out of this mess. A change in the approach towards your wok practice may also help in certain cases; documenting your work and keeping your communication recorded in mails may surely prove relevant for future reference.

One such way could be finding people in your peer group who are facing similar issues at work and try to discuss with them on how they are coping up and what encourages them to come to work every day. It is also a good thought to engage in some stress relieving activities like mediation, music, dance, taking up a good exercise regime or just catching on to your long forgotten hobbies.

Since many a times switching your job could certainly be the best option for you, start working on your exit strategies and completing the projects in your hand. Always remember you have decided to leave your job and not your work ethics that define your personality and show how committed and responsible you are towards your work. However there might situation when you may witness toxicity in the form of an inappropriate behaviour at work, in such scenario the behaviour must be duly reported to the concerned committee or an ombudsman and it should be brought to notice of all the concerned officials. Though you may not receive a response in your favour or the organisation might suppress the matter in fear of bad publicity, the act of coming forward and speak up will always give you confidence to believe that you have done the right thing. In any such case one must always stay away from propagating the matter in social media or going public and always take the legal path to seek justice.

Lastly but not the least keep your work life separate from your personal life and try to spend some good quality time with your loved ones and your family. One of the best ways to keep yourself free from stress is to spend time in the company of your kids and enjoy being a part of their toxic free world. No matter how tough life gets for you, you fight it back with full vigour and positivity cause you are the only one responsible for all your outcomes.

From the perspective of the organisation, seeking regular feedback from employees on the work culture may help tap some serious breakouts at an early stage. A constant check on the turnover rate of the organisation may also help in identifying the impact of toxicity on the employees. Exit interviews help know the loopholes in the system and should be conducted on timely basis. Organisation must strictly disapprove and disregard “Play to win no matter what price it takes”.

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