5 Monsters Destroying Your Company Culture

When Halloween rolls around, it’s easy to become so preoccupied with the monsters stalking the sidewalks and TV screens that you forget about the everyday boogeymen plaguing your office year-round. While the pillagers of workplace culture don’t wear fake fur, excessive makeup, or rubber masks, they can be just as terrifying as their fictional counterparts. Here’s a list of monsters to watch for, just in time for collecting candy.

Boredom: The Mummy
Though it often creeps up quietly, few monsters are more damaging to workplace culture than the boredom mummy. If excessive routine has made your office yawn-inducing or has mummified your employees at their desks, a crisis is likely nearby. One CNN article postulated that boredom is “the new stress,” and bored employees are more likely to be unhappy and seek new positions, even if they’re still effective. To keep boredom levels in check, try to automate repetitive tasks, offer new challenges, and encourage communication.

Gossip: The Werewolf
Gossip is like a werewolf. It doesn't show up every day, but, when it does, it wreaks havoc. Rumors quickly destroy morale, erode relationships, and ramp up workplace tension. Worse, they can cause even the most dedicated employees to quit due to what’s often labeled as a “toxic” office culture. Inc. Magazine claims that zero-tolerance policies, regular meetings to air grievances, and one-on-one discussions with loose-lipped personnel are good strategies to keep the werewolf in check.

Overwork: The Vampire
While some employees can handle packed schedules and extra work, overloading your entire team or office can be as ambition-sucking as the thirstiest vampire. Too many tasks can throw off your team’s work-life balance, keeping your employees up all night and inviting angst, sleepiness, and inefficiency. To stake the vampire, encourage your employees to share concerns about their workloads, embrace flextime, and set a good example by keeping reasonable hours yourself.

Absentee Management: The Ghost
An absentee manager can terrorize an office just as effectively as an unhappy ghost. If a manager is there one minute and gone the next, their presence can cause stress for employees, who won’t know them or their expectations well. To keep your managers from causing shrieks and scurries every time they pop in on their charges, ensure they maintain good, consistent relationships with staff and spend regular hours in the office. That way, employees will be more likely to run to them rather than from them.

Misguided Initiatives: Frankenstein’s Monster
Like the scientist Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s tale, it’s all too common for businesses to begin projects with the best of intentions, only to create monsters instead of successes. A project that stems from a good idea but lacks realism or follow-through can turn into a money pit for your company and a time-suck for your employees, rearing its ugly head again and again like Frankenstein’s Monster — and perhaps even bringing your company down. Try preventing the monster’s rise by investigating all eventualities and assigning specific roles to team members before you put the final stitch in a new initiative.