As its the week of Halloween, we thought we’d touch on something even scarier than ghosts and ghouls – bad company culture and workplace horror stories… With work accounting for a large part of most of our lives, and so many different types of workplaces, its unsurprising that there would be some horror stories – but some of them are still quite shocking! We rounded up a selection of the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) workplace horror stories from askamanager.org.
A co-worker stole my lunch and accused me of poisoning them!
We’ve all heard plenty of workplace horror stories about theft, but this one has to be one of the most shocking we’ve ever read!
Imagine, not only having your lunch stolen…but then also being accused of trying to poison a co-worker! Whilst it didn’t seem like this story would have a good outcome, luckily everything ended up being resolved!
Micromanaging boss from hell!
Sometimes bosses might struggle to trust their employees, but this boss took it to the next level when he started spying on his employees!
“One of the first things that alarmed me was that I learned the company’s CEO has our email system set up so that he is automatically blind copied on every single email that is sent out from a company address. … They also recently installed security cameras that include audio in each of our offices. I am fine with having video surveillance for common areas, but it feels odd to me that my boss could be watching me from his office at any point in the day without my knowing. It isn’t that I have something to hide, but sometimes on my lunch break, I close the door to take a personal call, and now I feel like there is nowhere to get any privacy. … Although my boss repeatedly tells me (almost as if he senses my apprehension) that I am “the very last person” he’d ever be watching or be suspicious of and that I am far from the reason he is taking such precautions, I feel very strange knowing that I have someone invading my space to that degree.”
This workplace horror story is a prime example of terrible company culture. It would be almost impossible to do your job well in this environment!
The dogs are making me ill!
We touched on whether you really need a dog in the office last week. This account from an employee with a severe allergy to dogs and the treatment they received as a result is a complete horror story!
“My first day I walked into the office…and it was full of dogs. They have a dog-friendly office, which was never advertised or communicated during the hiring process.
I’m allergic to dogs, VERY allergic. Within ten minutes of arriving at work, my eyes are red, itchy and watering, my nose stuffs up and I get a headache from my swollen sinuses. This is what happens when I’m on medication! If I skip the meds, I break out in hives, start to wheeze and I run the risk of my throat swelling closed. I went to my doctor who referred me to a specialist. I’m already on the strongest meds they give out, and they said as long as I “expose myself” to allergens, this will keep happening and might get worse over time.
I tried to work with my company to fix this: they put me in the far corner away from the majority of the pooches where I’m near a door I can prop open, they have a company that cleans bi-weekly and they let me work from home one day a week. The nature of my job demands that I be in the office at least four days a week, I really have no wiggle room. Even working from home one day a week has been a stretch and caused some negative feelings on my team, even though they hear me sneezing every 20 minutes when I’m there!”
Furthermore, from this update, it seems as if the issue kept escalating until the employee felt that they had to leave the company!
How can I avoid being a part of a workplace horror story?
Nobody wants to be the reason someone has a workplace horror story! One of the best things you can do to avoid this is to be self aware. Make sure you think about how your actions will come across, and act in ways which are logical and within legislative and company guidelines.
Furthermore, it is important to consider the culture within your company and the environment that this breeds. If you think your company culture is bad for employee engagement and morale – you should think of ways to improve this. As many problems often find their origins in a bad workplace environment. Figuring out what drives your company and motivates your team is a good place to start. This will enable you to foster the positive attributes of your employees and more easily prevent workplace horror stories happening at your company!
If you’re keen to understand what your company’s and employee’s core values are, but don’t know where to start…