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The Effect Negativity Can Have on Employee and Business Health

Natalie Wilson
31st Jul 2019
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We’ve all heard the saying that "one bad apple can spoil the bunch", and this saying is the same when it is applied to business - toxic environments can have a detrimental effect on your profits. On average, the monetary impact that negativity can have on a business is around $36,000 per employee, but what exactly is a toxic trait and how can they affect your business? 


The big toxic traits you should look out for include narcissism, a lack of personal accountability and overconfidence. Employees with this trait often won’t bother themselves with work which they consider to be “beneath them” and they are not team players. 


But, you should also be aware of managers who also hold these traits as they can often create a toxic environment which is unbearable for employees. When it comes to toxic management, there are some warning signs that you should be aware of:

  • Favouritism - they will give particular employees unrivalled attention and neglect others
  • Lack of vision - a toxic manager is never wrong, no matter if they are believing in fact or fantasy, what they say, goes
  • Isolationism - they won’t reply to calls or important emails, meaning that employees struggle to get their attention
  • Infallible - they don’t provide clear steps or goals for the business moving forward


If they are left unchecked, then these traits will contribute highly to a toxic and negative workplace, which will have a huge impact on your business and not just financially, but also when it comes to employee wellbeing and health. 


Businesses Will Suffer When Their Employees Do

The obvious risks when it comes to employee’s health in the workplace are bright florescent lighting and poor furniture choices. But, when there is a toxic office environment, then it isn’t just an employee’s body which suffers, but their mind also. 


Other common stress factors include workplace bullying and gossiping and employees who are coping with these issues can suffer from diabetes and gastrointestinal problems. If, as an employee, you are suffering from these issues, then it is important for you to visit a doctor and make this visit known to your HR department, especially if you are then prescribed medicine or time off. There are things you can do in the meantime to lessen the symptoms, such as fish oil capsules, multivitamins and a healthy diet, but you must remember to tell your doctor about any changes you make to your daily wellbeing. 


An employee’s work motivation will also suffer when they do too and in a recent survey of 14,000 professionals, it was found that a quarter of them who felt mistreated admitted to taking some of their frustration out on customers and 38% said that they had intentionally decreased the quality of their work due to feeling unsupported. 


Toxicity Causes Unnecessary Spending

In the UK, employee disengagement costs businesses on average £340billion each year. But, there are simple steps you can take to combat this by creating a positive workspace. Small things, such as open communication and recognition of success make a huge difference to employee happiness. Keeping your employees happy should be one of your main priorities as unhappy workers are likely to leave and when you factor in the fact that it costs around £30,000 to replace an employee, this should be avoided if possible. 


If you have identified negative employees, then make sure that you take time to address their behaviour before it spreads out into the team and becomes an issue for your other employees. Happy employees are much more engaged in their work and when employees are in a motivational environment, then a business can make around 26% more profit per employee


Neutralising a toxic working environment is dependent on treating your colleagues with both courtesy and respect and ensuring that other employees do the same. If you can make this happen, then they will happily return the favour by working hard. 



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