Feeling the effects of a poor work environment? Most people spend one-third of most of their days on the job, making it difficult not to feel the effects at home. Career-related stress is associated with more health complaints than any other life stressor, according to St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company.
40% of workers find their jobs to be "very or extremely stressful," according to a survey conducted by Northwestern National Life. On-the-job stress is a leading cause of deterioration to the mental and physical health of workers. Studies have shown an increase in the occurrence of headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety in employees faced with a negative work environment.
So is your career toxic to your health?
A positive or negative work environment can affect both your physical and mental well-being. Recognizing the aspects of a toxic atmosphere and knowing how to cope with them, can drastically improve overall health. Three aspects of a work environment that can lead to stress and deterioration of an employee's overall health are a lack of balance, poor relationships with coworkers, and poor management.
A lack of balance between work and home life can have a negative impact on both the physical and mental health of the worker. Long hours and physically exhausting work contribute to physical injury on the job and also cause mental stress. Irregular hours and being too tired after work to spend quality time with friends and family can lead to depression, isolation and anxiety.
Establishing an active life outside of work is vital for happiness and a positive outlook. Maintaining meaningful relationships and being able to enjoy life helps provide a sense of validation for all the hard work.
So use those vacation days and skip picking up that extra shift once in a while to enjoy some much needed "me time" and achieve a healthy balance between work and home.
Another symptom of a toxic work environment is gossip. People talk about other people. It's human nature, but malicious gossip can adversely affect work relationships and cause tension among employees.
Avoiding water-cooler talk, as well as not getting too personal with co-workers, can help promote a trusting and cooperative atmosphere, enhancing mood and productivity for a more pleasant workday experience.
Most everyone has had to deal with a bad boss at some point in their career. Poor management can also promote the manifestation of an unhealthy work environment, leading to stress and emotional drain. Everyone wants to be acknowledged for a job well done and feel like they have some control over how they do their job. An overbearing and unappreciative manager or supervisor can inhibit an employee's sense of self-worth and the pride they take in their work.
Unfortunately, dealing with a disgruntled and unresponsive manager can sometimes consist of merely making the best of an unfavorable situation. Try empathizing with their position, and offer praise or appreciation when warranted. It may help to remind them of the positive morale a little goodwill can promote.
Recognizing and avoiding elements that promote a toxic atmosphere in the workplace can positively impact a worker's overall health. Finding a balance between work and home life, maintaining positive relationships on the job, and dealing with managerial dissatisfaction with grace, can help create a stress-free, productive, and healthy environment in the workplace.