Why People Stay, Why People Go

The Pandemic Shifted Our Work-Life Balance Attitude Even Further Out

The Culturally Toxic Pandemic

No one at the helm of a company or government wants people to say during their time in charge that the work environment “breeds toxicity.” Yet this can be the case for new and old CEOs or commanders because the cultural change in large U.S. corporations and government has been slow.

People often feel this is true even when it may not be, but especially during a crisis like the recent Covid pandemic.

leadership INHERITANCE

The cultural situation or underlying value drivers of our workspace are not always the result of the current leader’s strategy. Attitudes, processes, and ideologies may have been inherited by a leadership that wouldn’t have put them in place but cannot see a way to remove or change. These shadow attitudes, even when changes are afoot, stay with old logic and approaches in a toxic environment.

An unhealthy environment – inherited or not, is as challenging to change as docking a big ship in a tiny port.

toxic situations

Culturally, the hero syndrome, filtered communication, and making people feel their ideas are not worthwhile all create mental toxicity in the workplace. These are systemic attitudes playing out in our nation too.

Too much time in traffic, a crowded and unpleasant workspace, too many personal concessions can add up as well. A sense of entitlement, the deterioration of our nation’s mental health, a lack of patience with each other’s differences, and little concern for the consequence of our actions make one more “thing” at work, too much to take.

Shifting to work-from-home in March of 2020 seemed the answer to those in a toxic culture pre-crisis, but having personal experience with both of these situations I know that’s not a solution. Having no work structure removed toxicity during work entirely and seemed a new way to find happiness and peace.

Unfortunately, being home and still working within a toxic cultural environment via zoom or “teams” meetings accelerates people’s level of anxiety around why the toxicity actually exists. Not collecting a paycheck can quickly dissolve the happiness one has from being with loved ones in an accepting atmosphere, taking a well-deserved break, or doing things they have neglected for a long time.

Both situations naturally lead one toward thinking about how you can make a living in another way – to feel passion and well-being yet avoid harsh judgment and personal inconsideration.

Why are people leaving specific jobs right now in droves? 

There are reasons people stay in toxic environments! Once you begin experiencing working from home or not working at all, these reasons are often gone.

Here are some points that explain why staff leaves post-pandemic, after staying despite toxicity: 

  1. Folks no longer see the people they have come to “like” working with anymore, face to face.
  2. Toxic people use shields to hide behind – to stay in charge, and when teams are working from home these shields are often less effective; this makes the toxic manager more authoritarian than usual to keep their illusion of control intact.
  3. New approaches to control can become the norm for toxic people; you know this is happening when doing a job that was just dull and slow to excite passion and motivation within you becomes a situation that turns demoralizing and overwhelming.
  4. When you experience having time back that used to be spent away from family – which you were constantly upset about – you realize how precious life is, and no matter how brief or unusual family time together is it begins to matter more.
  5. A new perspective often gives us the resolve to never go back to unpleasant circumstances – like missing a precious few moments or enduring uncomfortable situations; people end up no longer able to tolerate toxic attitudes.

motivating solutions

Doing the work you love in an authentic environment that fosters cultural intelligence is intrinsically motivating. Keep your best people on board by empowering them with these characteristics:

  • Embrace authenticity – Lead by example; there is no better way.
  • Encourage innovationSet up consistent agility differentiators to mitigate disruption risk and let people add value.
  • Provide a safe environment – Where people are rewarded for doing the right thing – It’s not who you know but what you do.
  • Deliver the transparent mission & vision statement often and early – Allow everyone to have skin in the game via alignment.

mobileLACE conferences and products embed instructions “How to” Execute the above…


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Robin Gregory

CEO mobileLACE

Lean Agile Enterprise Coach, Business Enterprise Analyst, Digital Transformation Specialist, Writer. 25 years of business and technology experience.

mobileLACE is a team of intelligent advocates with a passion for sharing experiential knowledge about digital transformation. Our intention is to assist leaders in the 21st century marketplace by blending cultural intelligence with technological agility into our products and services.