In 2020, the migration of workers from the office to the home has been massive, however, the question arises whether we have brought the work environment to the home in the same way. The work culture does not remain within the 4 walls of the office, but comes with us wherever we are working. This culture is part of how we communicate, what we communicate, why channels we do it and how we treat each other.
A toxic work environment refers mainly to when power figures within the organization use this power to cause psychological harm to their colleagues or subordinates. Unfortunately, this psychological abuse is not limited to physical space but can travel with us and settle in our homeoffice site.
The following are some examples of how this toxic environment can carry over to homeoffice:
- Gossip or office gossip takes a new form: chats, sms or emails limit our ability to communicate and convert or distort messages almost always in a negative way
- Workers can be overlooked during remote meetings: Opacing, blocking or silencing someone on the team during meetings is one of the worst ways to make someone feel that their opinion is not valid or that they themselves are not valid for the team
- Some managers can “burn” their team remotely: long work sessions, backlogging of tasks, excessive monitoring, invasive monitoring are some of the ways that can burn the team members the most
- Loss of autonomy of some workers: over-monitoring by managers, micro-management and other harmful practices can make people feel like they are losing their autonomy and ability to manage their work.
- In a toxic environment, your allies are a lifesaver: support among colleagues is crucial to cope with toxic work environments, however, physical separation makes you lose complicity and cools these “lifesaver” relationships.
- Physical distance can help, but it can’t fix everything: Putting ground between toxic people in the office can help, however, until these practices change, it is difficult to improve the work environment