Saturday, November 27, 2021

When the work place becomes toxic

Work places for some people may be toxic or not so good for them. Some people may end up not looking forward to Mondays because they know they will be heading to work on that day, and get excited on Fridays as they go for the weekend.

Thabo Tapela, who had to quit his job at some point said toxic work places are real.  He said he never realised it until he was not looking forward to going to work anymore. 

He said: “I was afraid to air my opinions especially to the supervisor, I felt like he was always looking for an opportunity to criticize me. When I do well, he will not give credit where it is due, despite everyone around me applauding me for the job well done. This went on for some time until I decided I needed to talk to someone, I got a counselor who managed to show me that indeed I was working in a toxic environment,” Tapela noted.

He further added that he managed to get the help he needed, as well as many other employees who were afraid to take the step forward. He said “I guess I helped many people by seeking help, as the management was shown their mistakes and they tried their level best to recur.”

Meiki Letsholo, a counselor at Tshidilong Centre said toxic work places are common in our society. When asked what causes them, Letsholo said “intense pressure to get results may cause that, taboos against speaking up to power, us versus them mentality, dysfunctional competition.”

Moreover, Letsholo opined that these may lead to low employee morale, retention, poor customer service as well as poor performance from employees. 

She further added that toxic work places may have a negative impact on mental health of employees. She said “it may impact on employee’s mental health such as burnout, anxiety and depression that can lead to heavy drinking as well as insomnia.”

Letsholo advised employees to always seek therapy whenever they feel they are working in a toxic environment, especially when they can relate to the causes. She said “employers should now and then organize workplace counselling (for individuals or groups), improve communication to avoid one way flow, introduce wellness committees or peer counsellors.”

When asked how they can assist clients experiencing that who are not able to stand up to the management, Letsholo said: “We normally source out counsellors for work places, empower HR to be able to handle people, encourage employers to regularly hold wellness events.”

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