Mental health & wellbeing

Three questions you should ask yourself if your workplace is getting to you

Martin Kovacs /

If your workplace is getting to you, it may be time to step back, assess your priorities and make a clear decision moving forward.

It may not be an easy process, however taking the time to assess a potentially toxic situation can provide valuable perspective and shape decisions on how to deal with it, according to Stanford University professor of organisational behaviour Bob Sutton.

In a video for Inc., Sutton has shared his top three questions anyone should ask to determine if they are in a “toxic” workplace.

Is your wellbeing suffering?

It may be that your problems in the workplace are affecting your life outside of work, says Sutton, who recommends analysing the situation by asking a series of questions:

  • Are you having trouble sleeping?
  • Are you feeling anxious?
  • Are you having relationship issues?

Is your performance suffering?

The next question to consider is what sort of impact your workplace may be having on your job performance and career progression?

“There’s a lot of evidence that when people feel surrounded by jerks, or have a jerk who is really getting to them, that their performance suffers, they have trouble concentrating, they are less creative, they don’t go the extra mile,” Sutton observes.

Are you at risk of catching the jerk disease?

Sutton’s third sign of a “toxic” workplace is if the damaging culture is in fact rubbing off on you.

Sutton points to the potentially contagious nature of such environments.

“There’s evidence that if you’re around a bunch of jerks: number one, you’re going to catch the disease and turn into a jerk, and, number two, take it out on other people,” he states.

If you or someone you know is living with mental health issues, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636. 

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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