Employees who are placed in environments where their nervous system is chronically dysregulated enter survival mode.
Here are some some signs to look out for, and some unhealthy workplace practices that lead to chronic stress and psychological dysregulation:
1. Chronic urgency culture: ever-present deadlines, crisis situations and an expectation for employees to be robotic (where basic human needs are not met.)
2. No boundaries: an expectation to work overtime or as much time as needed to serve clients. Can look like working 10 to 12 hours per day and an expectation to be available 24/7 or “on call.”
3. A non-livable wage: low pay that leaves employees unable to meet their basic needs. This creates a need for side gigs - leaving little or no time for family-building or emotional health.
4. Bosses who are unable to regulate their emotions: can look like yelling at, humiliating or shaming employees due to low emotional intelligence and poor communication skills.
5. Constant pressure: a “pressure cooker” environment with a constant stress to meet a goal, hit a quota or perform without any rest or time to emotionally recover.
6. Lack of appreciation: employees are seen as robots rather than human and not appreciated for their roles.
7. Micromanaging: a constant watch over employees, their actions, and their productivity that leads to hyper-vigilance and chronic workplace anxiety.
8. Unhealthy competition: pinning employees against each other or directly/indirectly letting employees know they’re replaceable. Rather than feeling safe, or open to collaboration, there's a culture of fear.