42% of the UK workforce have seen their mental health affected by toxic workplace culture

Two in five employees across the UK have experienced problematic behaviour, such as bullying, harassment or discrimination at work; with 42% confirming toxic workplace culture has impacted their mental health, according to recent research from Culture Shift.

The research from the impact software developer also uncovered over one third have felt silenced on issues that matter to them in the workplace, while 29% have taken time off due to an incident that happened at work, such as bullying, harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct. A further 41% confirmed bad workplace culture has impacted their productivity and 42% have previously left a job due to negative workplace culture.

This comes off the back of a study by instantprint, which revealed that 70% of the 1,000 Brits that were surveyed had worked in a toxic work environment at some stage of their career.

“It’s common knowledge that organisations renowned for treating their employees fairly and those focused on creating a safe and supportive environment, typically thrive and are more successful.

“A problematic workplace culture can have an incredibly damaging effect on employee retention, often leading to high levels of attrition, resulting in organisations with a deep-rooted negative culture losing great talent,” comments Gemma McCall, CEO, Culture Shift.

On how experiencing problematic behaviour at work impacted employees, the research uncovered:

  • 64% said it negatively impacted their mental health
  • Two thirds confirmed it affected their confidence and ability to find a new job
  • 67% suffered from anxiety as a direct result of workplace bullying
  • 71% have had to have therapy due to an issue they experienced at work
  • Almost three quarters have called in sick due to not wanting to see somebody they have a negative relationship with at work

On how toxic cultures are affecting the UK’s workforce, the research revealed:

  • 34% have been less engaged with their job due to the company having a bad culture
  • 31% wouldn’t share their concerns in annual employee surveys
  • 44% have witnessed problematic behaviour (such as bullying, harassment or discrimination) at work
  • 62% would be much more likely to report an instance of bullying/harassment if their workplace had an anonymous platform to do so
  • 27% have called in sick due to problematic behaviour they’ve witnessed/ experienced at work
  • 36% confirmed an incident, such as bullying, harassment or discrimination, at work has led to them not trusting their employer

Incidents that have hit the news agenda are also resulting in more survivors having the courage to speak up. In fact, 39% of those surveyed say seeing media coverage of the alleged bullying and harassment taking place on shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has made them feel more confident to report workplace bullying if they saw it.

“Not tackling toxic cultures and problematic behaviours within an organisation can have a harmful impact on the people at the heart of those instances and leaders should absolutely have the safety and wellbeing of their employees at the top of their agenda. Not only can these issues have a devastating impact on the victims, but this sentiment can often filter through to external stakeholders, impacting the organisation’s reputation and ultimately their bottom line,” concludes Gemma.

Last month, Culture Shift secured £1.5m as part of a plan to improve workplace culture. Building and maintaining positive habits can help to relieve the negative effects resulting from negative work environments, but for anyone interested in how to avoid a toxic workplace culture, Michael Cruz from Summer Friday recently revealed how to do this in an exclusive interview with Business Leader.