Is Hybrid working environment backfiring the board of directors?

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Toxicity at work can be caused by various factors, especially in hybrid and remote work settings. Understanding what constitutes a toxic culture and the mechanisms that lead to toxic behaviors is essential in creating a healthier work environment.

Defining Toxicity

Toxicity refers to pervasive and ongoing behavior that is disrespectful, noninclusive, unethical, cutthroat, and abusive. It creates a sense of inescapability, making it painful for employees to experience at work.

Mechanisms of Toxicity in Hybrid Work

1. Remoteness and Disinhibition: Communication through technology can lead to reduced self-monitoring and self-control, increasing the likelihood of hurtful comments or behaviors.

2. Fundamental Imbalance: Different work contexts in a hybrid setup can lead to feelings of exclusion and shunning among remote workers, causing tensions and conflicts.

3. Reduced Cohesion and Trust: Lack of close contact in remote work can reduce connection and trust, impacting the overall healthy culture of the organization.

4. Difficulty in Issue Resolution: Fewer face-to-face interactions can hinder effective resolution of disputes and microaggressions, potentially concealing the problem without resolving it.

Steps for Leaders to Address Toxicity

1. Educate Employees: Help employees understand how toxic behaviors can arise as unintended consequences of hybrid work. Foster self-awareness and a watchful eye for toxic behaviors.

2. Lay a Foundation: Cultivate a culture that promotes empathy and psychological safety, where employees consider the impact of their actions and feel comfortable addressing perceived toxic behaviors.

3. Ongoing Conversations: Encourage regular check-ins to discuss concerns and experiences related to toxicity. Tailor the frequency based on the dynamic nature of the hybrid environment.

4. Swift Intervention: Recognize and address toxic behaviors promptly to prevent escalation and maintain a healthy work environment. Engage in dialogues to reach mutually acceptable solutions.

Winding it up

Addressing potential toxicity in hybrid work is vital for a respectful workplace. Leaders foster empathy, psychological safety, and open communication, ensuring employee well-being and productivity.