Cupids Health

The toxic traits holding back your career


Revealed: the toxic traits holding back your career, according to Bupa UK mental health expert.

  • New research by Bupa UK has revealed toxic workplace factors holding you back from career progression
  • Google searches for negative workplace environments are on the rise – 357% increase in searches for mental health condition ‘boreout’
  • UK Employees are actively searching for career development advice and tips, with a recent surge for ‘career development plan’ and ‘job progression’
  • Naomi Humber – Clinical Psychologist and Head of Mental Wellbeing at Bupa UK reveals the toxic workplace traits to avoid, along with advice on how to give your career a boost in 2021 and beyond

Bupa’s new research has identified the four toxic traits that may be holding back your career, so whether you’re feeling stuck or even falling behind, there’s always room for improvement in your career.

Searches for toxic workplace factors are on the rise

Naomi Humber, Clinical Psychologist and Head of Mental Wellbeing at Bupa UK, says “negative working environments have a worrying impact on your wellbeing, job satisfaction and career development prospects.

It is no surprise the uncertainty and change we have faced in our working lives has had such an impact our wellbeing at work.”

Here are the toxic traits to avoid when boosting your career:

  1. 357% increase in Google searches for ‘boreout’

Boreout is a negative workplace condition you experience when you feel as though your work is repetitive or doesn’t challenge your abilities enough and can often leave you feeling anxious, stressed, or fatigued.

With multiple lockdowns and for some decreased working hours it’s no surprise many employees have experienced boreout over the last year.

  1. 180% increase in Google searches for ‘imposter syndrome at work’

Imposter syndrome is a form of self-doubt. Often those who experience imposter syndrome are high achievers and find it difficult to accept their achievements and praise.

It is normal to experience feelings of self-doubt from time to time, especially when starting a new job or taking on a new responsibility. However, with the increase of remote working, national lockdowns and so much change to our working lives, the pressure to perform I all aspects of life have been amplified. As a result, many UK workers will have experienced imposter syndrome.

  1. 89% increase in Google searches for ‘anxiety at work’

Anxiety is a response to stress, stress and can leave you feeling, unsettled or worried about the future. Work anxiety can be caused by multiple factors such as job insecurity or a high workload.

Over the past year we have all faced uncertainty and change in our working lives. Resulting in an increase in those experiencing anxiety in the workplace.

  1. 83% increase in Google searches for ‘presenteeism’

Presenteeism is a workplace phenomenon, where employees continue to work although they may be experiencing poor health. There are lots of things that can cause presenteeism. For example, an employee may not take sick leave as they can’t afford to take the time off work due to illness.

With a global pandemic causing a recession and job insecurity, it’s not surprising that absences for sickness were lower in 2020. However, encouraging them to take the time off to recover when they are ill, results in a healthy, engaged, and productive team.

UK employees are actively seeking career development advice and support

If you’ve found yourself searching for various ways to boost your career, you’re not alone. Bupa research found that employees are looking to progress their careers and develop their skill set:

  • 133% increase in Google searches for ‘positive work environment’
  • 60% increase in Google searches for ‘career development plan’
  • 69% increase in Google searches for ‘personal development goals’
  • 55% increase in Google searches for ‘job progression’

Here, Naomi Humber shares four simple ways to boost your career in 2021 and beyond:

  1. Set your goals and create an action plan

Knowing your end goal can help to create a focus for the future. Remember, it’s okay if your goals or plans change along the way. Having a end goal to focus on can act as a strong motivating factor, and central focus when looking for new opportunities.

  1. Be self-aware

Take the time to work on the areas of your role (or future role you’re aspiring towards) where you may be lacking skills and confidence. Identify the skill you’d like to build upon and spend time working on this each week.

For example, if you’d like to develop your collaboration skills, make your manager aware this is a skill you’d like to develop and ask if there are any upcoming opportunities for you to practise.

Once you’ve mastered one skill repeat this process to continuously develop your skill set.

  1. Try new things

One of the key parts of career development is mastering existing skills and learning new ones. When looking to expand your skillset don’t be afraid to try new things out of your comfort zone. Whether this is suggesting and trialling new ways of doing everyday tasks or relooking at work processes which could be improved, there’s lots of ways to explore new things whilst also developing a range of skills.

Remember, skill development doesn’t always have to be directly linked to your role. Learning a new language or joining a club all count towards developing your skills. The personal growth from exploring something new can also lead you to develop new skills that transfer over to your career progression.

  1. Ask for support

Talk to others about your career goals – this can help to connect you with likeminded individuals you can learn new skills from.

For example, speaking to your manager about your career aspirations can help. They may be able to introduce you to company programs aimed at career growth and skills development. Or share any networking or training sessions they think you would benefit from. Similarly, next time there is a project that involves skills you’d like to develop they may put you forward to help, if they are aware of your interests and goals.

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