5 toxic work habits that could be harming your wellbeing

New research has revealed a surge in the number of people struggling with these harmful behaviours. 

While the pandemic has revolutionised the way we work, it’s also led many of us to adopt some pretty toxic habits. From working excessive amounts of overtime to juggling a million tasks at once, the uncertainty of the last two years has left many people struggling to implement any kind of structure.

And according to new research from Bupa UK, this surge in unhealthy workplace habits shows no signs of going anywhere.

In fact, its analysis of Google search data has revealed that towards the end of 2021, UK employees were turning to the search engine in massive numbers to seek advice about managing these habits, with a 53% rise in searches for ‘chronic procrastination’ between November and January alone. 

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The other toxic habits which were hit by an increase in searches include multitasking (which saw a 50% increase), workplace stress (which saw a 30% increase), signs of burnout at work (which saw a 22% increase) and decision fatigue (which saw a 14% increase).

With all five of these habits likely to have a massive impact on your wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity (all of which contribute to our overall happiness at work), it’s important to address these issues and make changes to unpick some of the harmful habits that have arisen or been made worse during the pandemic. 

Habits such as chronic procrastination and multitasking can take their toll on your mental health and wellbeing.

Indeed, as Bupa’s lead behavioural insights advisor Lauren Gordon explains: “With so much change to our working lives over the past year, our usual work behaviours and routines have been disrupted. This is causing many of us to feel anxious, stressed and underwhelmed in our working lives.

“We’ve found that more of us are searching these toxic workplace habits on Google, and it’s more important than ever to know how to overcome these negative traits. For example, feeling exhausted, making more mistakes, and experiencing brain fog are all symptoms of ‘decision fatigue’ and can lead to lower levels of productivity.”

However, it’s not all bad news. While the research found that workers were worried about these toxic habits, it also revealed that many are actively searching for ways to undo the negative impact of these behaviours.  

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Indeed, some of the positive habits that have seen an increase in searches over the last couple of months include effective teamwork, work balance and mindfulness at work – all of which can help with common problems such as stress and burnout.

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the massive shift in working culture we’ve experienced over the last two years has taken its toll, and that taking the time to realise that – and make positive changes as a result – is more important than ever. 

If adapting to the new world of work is taking its toll on your mental health, you’re not alone. From the isolation of being separated from colleagues while working from home and the stress of relying on technology to struggles with concentration, confidence and setting boundaries, there are a number of reasons why you might find this time particularly challenging.

So, what can we do about it? We’ve got a plan.

Stylist’s Work It Out series aims to give you the tools and resources you need to take care of your mental health at work. From completing your Work 5 A Day to dealing with issues including anxiety, loneliness and stress, we’ll be exploring all aspects of work-related wellbeing.

Images: Getty

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