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Identifying a Toxic Workplace

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A person’s profession is a significant part of their life, and many may hold their job title as a part of their identity. Despite your client’s occupation, a toxic workplace can heavily influence their day. Toxic work environments can be detrimental to one’s mental and emotional health, introducing unnecessary stress or promoting unhealthy coping strategies such as substance use to cope with its trials. 

Identifying a toxic workplace environment is crucial for creating and balancing a healthy lifestyle. Knowing the traits of a poisonous workspace can empower each individual to maintain their mental and emotional health properly.

Toxicity Can Be Anywhere

There are no professions that are immune to toxicity, and whether one’s workplace is a supportive space or a toxic one depends on work culture, management, and peers. Regardless of the profession, it is essential to be vigilant for signs of toxicity. It is pertinent to maintain a healthy lifestyle, either by creating practical work-life barriers or removing oneself from the environment entirely for mental or emotional health and sobriety. 

Elements of a Toxic Work Environment

There are many ways in which an individual’s work environment can negatively impact their health. Some elements of toxicity may be more overt than others. Knowing the different ways it can manifest beneath the surface is crucial when coping with the stress of professional life. 

Excessive Gossip

Gossip is a telltale sign of toxicity. Work environments ripe with gossip, such as talking behind coworkers’ backs, spreading rumors or stories, or other communications of the like, are incredibly detrimental. Gossip creates an atmosphere filled with hearsay and judgment, ripe with unseen conflict. 

One can feel as if they are under constant scrutiny from peers and management alike, and the continual feeling to watch over one’s shoulder takes a massive emotional toll. Gossip also creates an inherent distrust among peers, making it a challenging environment to navigate, ask for help, or build meaningful work relationships. 

High Turnover Rates

The turnover rate of a particular workplace can also be very telling. While it doesn’t indicate why many may move on from the job, it can highlight that one should be mindful of potential workplace concerns. While this may not apply to all workplaces, especially when it comes to entry-level jobs or seasonal positions, it can indicate mistreatment or disinterest in cultivating skills or talent. Employers who expect a high turnover rate may be less inclined to continue training an individual or see employees more as numbers than people, compromising one’s feelings of self-worth in the workplace. 

Persistent Miscommunication

Communication is vital for any relationship, including the relationships between employees and employers, management, and peers. Miscommunication can lead to avoidable and unfair situations as they often consist of unclear directions or expectations and even unjust disciplinary action due to a lack of clarity. 

Miscommunication can also leave an individual without a place to voice a concern or feel heard in any dialogue, creating a one-sided situation for those trying to navigate the unnecessary muddiness of their workplace responsibilities. 

Disrespected Boundaries

Personal and professional boundaries are essential throughout any kind of work, and toxic work environments may compromise these boundaries frequently. Some may ask an individual to put in overtime consistently or will call an individual on their day off with work-related business. Others may have their lunch breaks compromised or feel they have to jump through hoops to get a bite in or take an earned vacation. 

Suppose workplaces do not respect these boundaries with employees. In that case, it can be tough to escape from the regular stresses of professional life and can even compromise one’s emotional state at home and lead to fatigue and burnout. 

Taking Control of Your Health

Toxic work environments carry many negative impacts. It can make your client’s time on the job even more stressful, introducing feelings that can impact their ability to care for themselves off the clock. Employing various strategies to create barriers is essential. 

Some examples include blackout times for an individual’s work phone while off duty, establishing a rigid work schedule, and learning to say “no” when asked to stay overtime if not practical. Likewise, having social groups outside of the workplace and engaging in other activities such as sports or hobby leagues are beneficial for reinforcing one’s identity outside of the workplace. 

Some toxic work environments may beget more destructive coping strategies due to rampant stress or anxiety. The use of alcohol or drugs to process stress can become prevalent. It may be necessary to distance oneself from the workspace entirely by looking for alternative employment and discussing one’s use of addictive substances if necessary. Professional help on both fronts can be the catalyst for a truly positive and healthy change for your client’s personal and professional future. 

Toxic workspaces can be very detrimental to your mental and emotional health. The use of drugs and alcohol can be a common coping strategy to process the unique stresses of these environments. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, located in Santa Ana, CA, we understand the drastic impact your professional environment can have on your life. We are prepared to help you take control of your own mental and emotional health today. From detox to residential and outpatient programs, we can address your use of addictive substances while helping develop new and personalized coping strategies to manage your mental health, all to create a truly transformative experience. Our small and intimate atmosphere allows us to personalize your time. For more information on how we can make your time with us as individualized as possible, please call us today at (949) 426-7962.

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