What Causes A Negative Work Environment


Work can be positively exciting. Having employment provides one with a sense of purpose, routine and a reason to get out of bed every day.  It generates opportunities to meet new people and connect with others and brings with it a sense of achievement.

Or certain things might cause a negative work environment, disenchanting and detrimental to your well-being. It could be the reason why you can’t have a good night’s rest, don’t want to get out of bed in the morning and why you are feeling stressed out.

All jobs have some level of stress — even on good days. If however, work (or just the thought of going to work) makes you tired, depressed, or even physically ill, that’s more than just general work stress; these are the signs of a negative work environment.

When you dread going to work in the mornings and can never drum up some enthusiasm for any work-related matter, then yes, your workplace is negative.

 A workplace is negative when your workload, your colleagues, the atmosphere or a combination of all three cause major disruptions in the other parts of your life. Negative workplaces can damage everything from your health to your self-esteem and even your relationships.


What causes a negative work environment

What Causes A Negative Work Environment


Let us discuss the factors that can make work negative and how we can get a handle on the situation.


1. Your Workload

Medical and scientific communities have reported that our preoccupation with building a professional life translates into more hours at work and constant stress. According to their research, people who work more hours per week have higher chances of developing coronary heart disease than those with lighter schedules. 

They are also more likely to face burnout as a result of the chronic stress they face as a result of their overarching workload which spills into their home life and family time, the subsequent overwhelming exhaustion and a sense of cynicism. 

Over time, other impacts of excessive workloads such as a shorter social life, decreased productivity and poor performance begin to show up.



Work hours of over 40 hours per week lead to negative physical conditions like:



Musculoskeletal disorders – Spending a long time in the same position can cause lower back pain, neck pain and headache.


High blood pressure – From worrying continuously over work-related problems.


Increased mental health problems – From overthinking certain work-related issues.


Increased predisposition to work-related accidents – Due to a degree of loss of focus.


Problems during pregnancy – Overworking and overstressing can lead to miscarriages, especially in the first trimester.


Gastrointestinal disorders – From not eating properly due to work hyperfocus.


Higher rates of suicide – From work-related depression.


2. Lack Of Proper Communication And Feedback

Lack of proper communication and feedback in your workplace means that easy to solve issues snowball into much larger problems. It also breeds self-doubt and uncertainty in your workplace. Lack of recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty also breeds resentment, dissatisfaction and indifference towards work. They also make work negative and serve as an indication that your workplace is not up to scratch.


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3. Negative Attitudes

You’ll always have one of those ‘bad days at the office’ – no matter how good the company you work for! However, when mutterings of discontent, apathy and complaining start becoming the norm, it could show a bigger issue within your work environment or culture. 

Look around your office. Is anyone happy to be working there? Is anyone smiling? Are conversations upbeat? Is anyone talking at all? A ”no” to these questions equals a toxic or negative workplace.

A little office gossip and the general cynicism about work may not seem like a big deal, but if left unchecked, it leads to more destructive behaviours; including distrust, passing blame, inaction or simply failing to take responsibility for their actions. 

Eventually, these behaviours will cause your people to become withdrawn from responsibilities, stop interacting with others, or leave your business altogether. Once these types of behaviours become commonplace, they become incredibly difficult to combat and may become embedded in your company’s culture and spread like wildfire; harming your employee’s engagement. 


4. Ineffective Leadership

If your leaders and managers who have a huge part to play in the working environment of your business are not living up to your desired values or showing the leadership qualities your organisation needs to succeed, they could be your biggest problem hiding in plain sight.




Ineffective leaders and managers are giant magnets for negativity. These behaviours are pure kryptonite to positive working cultures as they quickly erode trust and can cause teamwork to slowly deteriorate.

What causes a negative work environment

How Do You Overcome Negative Work Environment


From each of the causes of a negative work environment, there are solutions proffered for all of them


Here are ways to overcome a negative work environment

Adopt Employee-Oriented Business Policies 

It is advised to adopt employee-oriented business policies in your workplace and offer private health insurance plans to help your employees prevent the illnesses he or she is likely to suffer from by having a too busy work schedule.


Regular 15-Minute Informal Catch Ups

Ensure that your employees have regular and consistent official 1-1s or even just regular 15-minute informal catch-ups. This gives your people the satisfaction that they are getting the feedback they need to develop in their role and feel more confident in their abilities, too. Making these conversations two-ways empowers your clients to point out hidden problems and improve their working environs.


Simply recognising those who go above and beyond goes a long way in reassuring them that their efforts were seen and appreciated. This makes a lot of difference. When people see that their work makes a difference, they will be more inclined to go that hallowed extra mile.



Review Your Own Company’s Values

Begin by reviewing your company values. They should dictate the ideal behaviours you expect to see from your employees and should also help you reach your vision and goals. 


The values need to impact and be visible in every aspect of your business not just mentioned on your website or stencilled in a meeting room somewhere. 

Positive attitudes should be recognized, commended and rewarded, this will also motivate your employees to exhibit the behaviours you wish to maintain and cultivate, thereby focusing on your business goals.



Make Sure Your Leaders Are Also Included In Keeping Your Company’s Values

Your leaders need to live and breathe your company’s vision and values to help reduce the causes of a negative work environment for your employee’s. 

Their behaviours, attitude and actions can filter from the top down; so, if they’re not displaying the types of behaviours that are conducive to success, then it is time to review whether they’re right for the role or if they’re generating the employee engagement you need.

I hope this was insightful and helpful to you. What other factors do you know that make work and workplaces negative? And what solutions would you suggest for solving them? Do you have any other solution to the factors mentioned above? Comment below and let me know.




Linda Orjiakor is a serial entrepreneur, content writer and professional blogger with years of blogging experience. She's passionate about helping business owners make the most out of their businesses, leveraging their online space and getting the best out of their online platforms, she also helps bloggers scale their blogs into a real business on her new blog, She has written articles also published on authority websites like BellaNaija >>

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