What kind of impact does your workplace have on you, your career and your health?
How would you describe your workplace? Do you feel like it's lifting you up, or trying to bring you down? Whether for better or worse, your work environment can have a significant effect on you both physically and professionally. Below, we feature some of the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy workplaces and outline the ways they could be impacting you.
Healthy workplaces: Inclusivity increases satisfaction
Do you feel included and valued within your workplace? When you speak up about an issue or try to share your expertise, are you heard by the management team? If the answer is no, you might be dealing with a toxic workplace. Feeling undervalued or ignored is certain to get you down and make your job harder.
On the flip side of that, companies that make an active effort to include each of their employees could be onto a winner. Research from Binghamton University suggests that workplaces with high levels of inclusivity among staff could lead to higher employee satisfaction. The underlying theory here is that your boss should encourage you to offer advice, expertise and your professional opinion. The study highlighted the need for such inclusivity across the board ‒ regardless of employees' educational backgrounds or roles.
Should you feel that this is something that's lacking in your current position, why not raise it with the HR department? Of course, you don't want to go in all guns blazing. Instead, you should explain how this small and simple change could improve your job and make you feel ‒ and likely other members of your team ‒ more valued when you are in the workplace.
Unhealthy workplaces: Narcissistic bosses bring people down
Narcissism is a horrible trait. If you've ever worked for an egotistical boss, you will know that it can be hard to get by on a day-to-day basis. These people will likely be rude, arrogant and hot-headed when it comes to dealing with business. Those qualities hardly make for a successful manager, but even more, they could damage their staff's health.
If you feel as though your boss' poor behaviour is bringing you down, you might just be right. Research from the British Psychological Society (BPS) suggests that employees who work under narcissistic bosses are likely to be more depressed than the average worker. That means that your superior could quite literally be making you ill.
To make matters worse, the study also found that these bullied or disrespected staff members are more likely to misbehave at work. Those working for a bad boss may take advantage of their colleagues, be generally aggressive or even take credit for others' work. So, if you're working under an egomaniac, it could also affect how you act and, ultimately, your reputation.
Workplace bullying happens more than you think. A massive 81 per cent of Britons say that they have been bullied by their manager or colleague, according to our recent Talent Inc. survey. If the awful scenario sounds familiar to you, you may want to consider speaking to HR or searching for an entirely new role.
Healthy workplaces: Ethical leadership lowers stress
Of course, not all bosses are bad. If you're lucky enough to work beneath a manager who demonstrates ethical leadership, they could be doing you a world of good. This includes general respect for you, offering two-way communication and giving positive reinforcement. Research from San Diego State University suggests that all of these traits help bosses create healthy, productive workplaces. What's more, if you have a manager who supports you, you are likely to have lower workplace stress levels.
So, is your boss an ethical one? If so, they could be helping your mental health more than you first realise.
Unhealthy workplaces: Task-sharing can be exhausting
We've all been there: You walk into work, sit down and prepare yourself to get started. Out of the blue, your colleague, Jenny, walks over and asks for a 'quick favour'. She needs help with a task that has zero to do with you and wants to borrow you for a minute. While you may think nothing of helping her out, doing so could end up hindering your work.
Research from Michigan State University suggests that task-sharing in the morning can mean that you're mentally exhausted by the afternoon. Plus, since you're drained, you may find that you become more 'self-serving' as the day goes on. That behaviour could hurt your chances when it comes to getting a promotion or recognition.
If you're worried about the 'task-sharing' culture in your workplace, speak up and address the problem head-on. Dealing with this issue can be quite tricky, so you should choose your words wisely. Don't point any fingers. Simply let your teammates know that you need to focus on your core tasks so that you can truly excel at them.
So, is your workplace helping or hindering you? Now that you know the facts, you may want to take a minute to consider that question. If you're in an environment that's supporting you, take a moment to be grateful. Should you decide that you are in an unhealthy workplace, it may be time to consider your options.
Time to get out of your unhealthy workplace? Prepare for your job search with a free CV review that will tell you where you stand.