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How to Deal with Toxic Workspaces by Dianamofa

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Whenever the discussions about toxic Workspaces is popped, almost everyone has something to say about their experiences. However dissimilar these stories are, one thing is common with them all, these people all found themselves in A SUFFOCATING WORKPLACE.

According to Wikipedia, a “toxic workplace” is a colloquial term used to describe a place of work, usually an office environment that is marked by significant personal conflicts between those who work there which in the long run affects individual as well as collective productivity.
Recently, there was a thread on twitter where someone shared why he left his last job, he wrote; “of all the things that happened to me at my last place of work, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when N3,000 was deducted from my salary for eating puff-puff in the office space before resumption…” I carefully went through the comments and trust me, people have seen a lot in the hands of employers, and I’m not exempted.

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So here are a few things you should know about toxic work spaces;
BAD LEADERSHIP. I had to write that in caps because this is the number one cause of a toxic workspace. Having worked with an entitled boss, an ignorant HR and a Gossipy administrator, I must tell you, Bad leadership can ruin the rhythm of a workspace.

My Boss will always say: NO ASSUMPTIONS, NO EXCUSES, and NO HALF-MEASURES. Guess who gives the most excuses, who hoards important information from his staff and who doesn’t care about staff growth? Yes, you guessed right.

Bad leadership often times leads to low employee retention. It demoralizes and demotivates the employees in the company who irrespective of the enthusiasm at the start, soon begin to do their job with some sort of nonchalance and for the sake of doing it. Leadership conduct is extremely important as it sets the tone for how others behave at work.

Boss Entitled To Your Time And Money: If your boss feels entitled to your time and your finances, you are definitely working in a toxic environment.

Working hours is 9am to 5pm, anything outside that is extra hours and your boss shouldn’t feel entitled to your time whatsoever, it’s not stated in the contract that you work during the weekends so why do you have to work during the weekends?

Technically, this is an extension of bad leadership as it encroaches into your personal time that could have been used for your self-development or personal affairs such as your rest. A mind that lacks adequate rest is hardly productive.

Cliques and Gossips: Office gossips and cliques have you looking over your shoulders, being unsure of your actions or inactions and divided in your opinions, as everything you say could be used in the law court of the next gossip.

Please dears, whenever you find yourself in a work environment where Gossip thrives, shut the door because you’re most likely walking into a danger zone. Stay away from workspace gossips, maintain a healthy boundary, and don’t get trapped in the hearsays.
No Motivation: A toxic workspace leaves you unmotivated, almost ever grumbling and easily frustrated at every turn even when faced with tasks that you would ordinarily had seen as normal or fun to kick.

When you wake up and you don’t feel motivated to go to work, then you’re most likely working in a really toxic space. Unless you’re in a leadership position, this problem is indicative of much larger problems—and it’s unlikely that you are going to learn or grow in this environment.

They say “We are a family here”: This is the reddest flags in all the red flags. It is a passage to encroaching into your personal time and space. The leverage for you to be disrespected while you accept it with a smile because “we are a family”. It’s an avenue for you to be underpaid for your job while being overworked and pushed into tight corners for no justifiable reason except that “we are a family here”.

Your workspace is not a family house. Every action should be carried out professionally and to the best of your ability. Never get so comfortable in an office just because you’re told that we’re family members. Always remember that no one ever sacks their family members.

Stifled Growth: In a toxic workspace, your movements obey the rule of circular motion with centripetal force being your workspace. You keep moving in circles and like the biblical Israelites, a journey of days soon turn into years.

As individuals, you should take little steps every day in an upward way in order to be convinced that you are growing and developing into a better version of yourself. If your job is not providing you with any support in your career growth and development, then they’re not invested in you as an employee.

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Notice how salary or finance wasn’t mentioned as one of the characteristics of a toxic workspace, that’s because you could be well paid but still working in a suffocating workspace. Productivity and Job fulfillment goes beyond the salary package. Human Resource managers and CEO’s must understand this principle; “inasmuch as a good salary package can make your staffs happy and it’s compulsory, it takes a lot more to keep them satisfied“.

In conclusion, if companies want to keep their best hands and experience a higher rate of employee retention, they have to consider these factors and eliminate any form of toxic acts that’s currently occurring in their offices/companies.

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Dianamofa
Image courtesy of Seunmanuel Faleye - ApplesBite International Magazine
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