Are You Running a Toxic Workplace?

Every employer must make sure that company offices never become toxic work environments.  Should this happen, you’ll not only lose significant worker productivity, you may also run the risk of having lawsuits brought against you – especially if any serious sort of harassment is being waged against certain, specially protected workers.                                                 

In order to help you fully protect your company and make sure it provides a pleasant work environment for everyone, you need to have your supervisors and managers on the lookout for both obvious and latent signs of toxic behaviors and attitudes.                                     

Some of the most obvious signs that a workplace environment is becoming toxic (or has already become that way) are set forth below.

Common Indicators That There’s a Toxic/Extremely Negative Office Atmosphere

  • Certain employees are regularly overloaded with work. This should be rather obvious and needs to be alleviated. No employee can produce his/her best work when unfairly burdened with more assignments than others -- or when forced to work longer hours on a regular basis than his/her co-workers;

  • Supervisors and bosses aren’t taking responsibility for problems and trying to fix them. The last thing you need are immature people “in charge” who regularly try to scapegoat others. Be very careful about who you promote and conduct regular employee evaluations (at all levels) at least twice a year to be sure you aren’t leaving ineffective or poor managers in charge;

  • Few employees are rarely allowed to share their ideas – or when they do, others take the credit for them. You can quickly kill employee morale if you don’t allow all of your workers some degree of input into various workplace challenges. While you certainly don’t have to act on all or even most suggestions, your employees deserve the respect of being allowed to share their ideas at some staff meetings;

  • Unsafe conditions exist and are putting the employees’ health and safety at risk. Don’t forget to fully comply with the federal government’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines that pertain to worksites like yours. Make sure that employees are allowed to openly share all safety concerns  – and always take quick action to address serious issues;

  • Exhibit fairness when making promotions or providing raises or bonuses to workers. When the same people keep receiving all of the special rewards for working for you, many employees may rightfully claim that a “toxic” work atmosphere has evolved;

  • Sometimes, a high level of stress may be present because you’re providing insufficient staffing in your offices. You need to pay close attention to this problem since employees’ emotional and physical problems can quickly escalate when they’re forced to work under too much stress. Absenteeism and negative attitudes abound where stress is high;

  • Improper relationships are not only tolerated but allowed, preventing some hard workers from succeeding. Inter-office romances need to be conducted in a mature manner, in full compliance with your office’s written policies.  Be sure you maintain a strict policy on dating in your workplace since charges of sexual harassment may be alleged later on;

  • Unending feuds or disagreements are tolerated. Arrange to meet privately with workers who are constantly fighting with each other or undermining office projects. Let them know that one or both of them are in danger of losing their jobs if the negative behavior continues. Be sure to document all that’s going on  in their personnel files;

  • Encourage the use of anonymous suggestions. However you want to make this possible, try to help your workers feel free to leave sincere suggestions for you at the office regarding current “toxic” problems. Be sure to ask during meetings if anyone would like to make a suggestion. If necessary, designate one staff member to collect written concerns in private and present them to your supervisors. Let workers know that your company is aware of certain problems and is doing all it can to address them – while trying hard to develop a pleasant work atmosphere that makes people want to show up on time and do their best work.

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (980) 246-2656.

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