The construction industry has a variety of components that are necessary to get the job done. Mastering complex machinery is not the only potentially dangerous aspect of the job. A toxic culture can threaten the mental health of any employee.
What Is Toxic Culture?
A toxic culture can occur in almost any workplace environment. It is a problem that can be long-lasting and severe – just like problems stemming from faulty equipment. Toxic work culture is primarily due to a lack of trust. When employees become subject to a manipulative work environment, psychological stress can cause health issues.
One of the biggest dangers in the current construction industry is poor mental health. Although the industry has a high rate of suicide, many workers do not speak up about toxic work culture. Dire consequences can result from this.
How Do You Know if Your Workplace Is Toxic?
The structure of a workplace can shape relationships within the business. How employees and employers work together is not the only potentially toxic relationship.
Relationships Inside the Workplace
Communication is at the base of any project. If the communication channel flows in only one direction, this can cause distance between the employer and the employee. It can also cause cliques to form between coworkers.
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It is beneficial to the company if employees would learn to work in groups. A culture that encourages some coworkers to handle unfair workloads causes resentment and tension. Depression is a natural outcome if workers are not respected. Frequent employee turnover usually happens within this type of workplace structure.
Humiliation As Punishment
Bullying behavior can involve unfair punishment from the employer. Conduct that considers threatening, humiliating, or intimidating is not part of a healthy workforce. Humiliation can also occur when a lack of recognition for hard work and effort happens. Unfair workloads can cause cliques to form.
It is unrealistic to be on-call 24/7. Emails and texts are not appropriate for all hours of the day. The expectation to always be ready for work regardless of time can cause insomnia and heightened anxiety. This sense of pressure is difficult to control, even during vacation.
If there is a high turnover rate paired with low employee engagement, this is a good indication something is not right. A toxic workplace can have employees left with workers’ comp.
How Are Employees Affected in Construction Industry?
Employees that face unfair work environments can suffer from depression and panic attacks. They can also make more mistakes on the job. Both physical and mental health risk serious harm.
Employees that do not get enough sleep in the construction industry lose focus. Sleep deprivation is especially dangerous when operating machinery or working from high elevations. A hostile environment erodes trust between workers.
In some cases, this constant stream of distrust is taken home. Thus, both work and family lives are affected by a pervasive sense of mistrust. Internalizing dysfunctional work environments leads to depression and a lack of self-worth. The problem only grows by staying silent.
You May Be Working in a Toxic Environment If
- You receive insults masked as jokes
- Blaming others is normal
- Nobody asks any questions, no matter the situation
- There is a high turnover rate with personnel constantly changing
- The boss is feared
- There is a group hierarchy
- Insomnia is common
- Loud arguments are frequent
- You find difficulty in talking to the boss
- Urgent work texts happen at all hours
Mental Health Issues Can Be Fatal
Mental health issues can result in death if not treated. The profession with the highest rate of suicide is still the construction business. Mental health issues cause phobias, paranoia, and relationship problems. It creates a downward spiral since isolation is common in people experiencing depression.
Depression and panic attacks may not subside even after leaving a toxic environment. Identifying the problem as early as possible is vital for the best results.
Changing Toxic Work Culture
One person may not change a toxic work environment because of group mentality and internal communication. Many employees must be willing to shift their thinking. Employers can help change this culture by evaluating the work situation regularly. They must create a work environment that expresses personal values and strengthens team relations.
However, certain atmospheres may not be able to change fast enough. If an employee continues to work in a toxic environment because it might get better someday, it can be detrimental to their mental health. Work environments that do not provide clear communication are dangerous for construction workers. One should know when to walk away to help you in the long run.