Workplace hostility may affect mental health

Nearly every worker remembers a job that affected his or her sense of well-being. It may have started out as a fun, pleasant place to work. Maintaining harmony in the workplace is essential. New managers, employees, or a change in company policies can make or break a work environment.

When an employee wants to quit, that is a sure sign something is wrong. Searching for a new job takes a great deal of energy and time. There are no guarantees that a new office will be any better than the current workplace. Many workers will not leave a job unless they feel miserable there.

Why does a poor work situation suddenly develop?

People know reasonably soon when they become physically ill. Mental illness can develop slowly over a long period. People adjust to their "new normal" with each downward spiral and may not realize their work is hurting their mental health.

Eventually, the adjustments required by a bad work environment become intolerable. The employee can feel intensely overwhelmed without understanding why. It may help to learn the signs of emotional distress caused by a negative work environment.

What are symptoms that a workplace is unhealthy?

It is possible to develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a negative work environment. Symptoms of workplace-induced trauma can include these and many other feelings or behaviors:

  • It seems hard to focus or concentrate.
  • A person has trouble remembering simple things.
  • Driving to work begins to cause feelings of anxiety.
  • Other employees exclude certain people from socializing.
  • It is hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • The worker has nightmares about the job.
  • Another employee or a manager is invariably negative.
  • There is a high turnover of employees at the company. 

How can an unhappy employee regain control? 

People often find that filing complaints with Human Resources can make things worse. The company pays HR personnel. They may view those who complain as troublemakers and take steps to remove them from their jobs.

Employees should keep a small notebook in a purse or pocket so they can note the date, time, people involved and a brief description of any unpleasant or unfair work interaction. An employee can use this information to help decide to leave the company. The facts will justify the employee's decision.

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