A toxic work environment can take a serious toll on the mental well-being of your employees. Not only can it negatively impact productivity and safety in the workplace, but it can lead to depression, anxiety, and burnout. Take the time to recognize the signs of toxicity so you can support employees and create a healthier work environment.

Ultimately, it can lead people to leave the work environment in droves. We’ve been seeing it in recent months in the Great Resignation – many employees leaving their jobs for mental health reasons.

It’s one of the biggest reasons why more people are embracing remote work.

If you’re in a leadership position, it’s your responsibility to identify toxicity in the workplace, and understand how you can effectively address it and deal with it. A toxic work environment can quickly spread like a disease. Taking charge now can help to prevent disasters in the future.

Identifying a Toxic Work Environment

You might think a toxic work environment would be easy to recognize right away, but that isn’t always the case. Some of the most common signs include:

A lack of communication
No boundaries
No trust
No encouragement or support for employee growth
Instances of gaslighting
Unhealthy relationships

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Some of the most recognizable companies in the world have been called out as horrible places to work for because of these issues. Tesla, for example, has been in hot water more than once. It’s been called a racist, hostile work environment, and they’ve had to pay millions of dollars in class action lawsuits brought on by former employees. Discrimination and harassment seem to be par for the course at the company.

Promoting a culture that is inclusive and diverse is a great way to avoid those particular issues. It will also lead to growth within your company, and help you to avoid very public PR issues.

Putting a Stop to Toxicity

Identifying signs of toxicity in the workplace is only half the battle. It’s up to you as a business leader to put a stop to it and prevent it from becoming a cancer in your business. Thankfully, there are many ways to improve existing workplace culture and avoid toxicity before it takes over. Here are just a couple of tips to avoid a culture of toxicity:

Give them credit when it’s due, and let them know their work is appreciated.
Give them opportunities for growth within the company
Encourage open communication within the office.
Discourage negative relationships by addressing any that you notice.
Don’t play favorites, and set boundaries with employees that keep everyone on the same page.

Unfortunately, toxic workplaces will continue to cause people to quit their jobs and look for something better. You can foster a work environment that those individuals flock to. By recognizing toxicity for what it is and doing your part to stop it, you’ll create an environment that attracts top talent and boosts employee retention.

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