5 Signs employees are unhappy at work

A quick summary:

As a leader, are you aware of the various signs of unhappy employees? Do you know the implications of people being unhappy at work?  Below, we’ve listed five of the most common red flags, and how to remedy them. 🚩

Tiredness and exhaustion 😴

Many of us are prone to tiredness and exhaustion, and it signals a well-needed rest — that’s normal. However, for some, especially in the workplace, they feel constantly fatigued by work commitments! 👀

If it’s obvious that a member of your team appears to be struggling with exhaustion, you’ll notice some of the following: 

💤   Falling asleep accidentally

💤   Difficulty with memorising and concentrating 

💤   Bad eating habits

💤   Stressed easily

Unlike other signs on the list of unhappy employees, the line between general tiredness and exhaustion can be hard to distinguish. For this reason, simply asking employees about their sleeping habits is the best approach. 

A toxic attitude towards work 😡

In some cases, employees unhappy at work will make their feelings known through a toxic attitude towards their duties and colleagues. This can quickly deteriorate the performance and productivity of other employees. 

What’s more, some experts believe emotions are contagious, and that counts for both negative and positive emotions. Due to this, a toxic attitude can spread throughout teams and businesses, causing potential long-term damage. 

Although these individuals are causing detrimental issues to business, it doesn’t mean this toxicity isn’t irreversible. Great leaders will listen and take action to support unhappy employees, and other managers will push these employees to one side, allowing for further destruction. 

Signs of toxic attitudes at work:

☢️   Employees gossip with one another

☢️   Disrespect amongst employees is very blatant. 

☢️   Low attention and concentration when others are speaking 

☢️   Arguments erupt at short notice and for little reason

Complaints from co-workers and customers ✋

Closely following a toxic attitude, employees who are vocal with complaints at work towards co-workers and customers are a cause for concern. This is especially worrying when these complaints are aimed at customers, who, with the power of social media, can cause havoc to brand reputation. 

When it’s aimed at other co-workers, staff turnover, general team morale, and job satisfaction sink; not only for the complainer but those around them too. To spot this kind of behaviour amongst unhappy employees at work, look out for these signs: 

💬   Passive-aggressive tone in how they talk

💬   Discriminatory comments and attitude in conversation

💬   Customers regularly raise concerns with particular employees

💬   The attitude amongst other employees becomes toxic 

Lack of participation in social activities outside of work 

A lack of participation in social activities outside of work isn’t all too uncommon. In some cases, people either have other commitments or just don’t feel like it. However, if sociable employees gradually start becoming less and less involved in activities, it may be a sign of being unhappy at work. 

This may be a way to exhibit their unhappiness and a way to be heard. These team members are unlikely to leave, but leaders should see this lack of participation in social activities as an early warning sign and an opportunity to intervene. 

How to spot a lack of participation amongst your team: 

🤚 Declining invitations without consideration

🤚 Unhappy with any and all social activities

🤚 Gradually attending fewer events

Productivity and performance dip substantially 📉

Last but not least, one of the major red flags is a dip in productivity and performance. When people become unhappy at work, the first symptom is diminishing interest in work-related duties and quality of work.

Believe it or not, more than half of UK workers reportedly class themselves as being unhappy at work, according to Personal Group. This highlights just how consequential job satisfaction can be to business; and how necessary it is to maintain productivity and performance. 

This said, a substantial dip, almost instantaneously, can be a big sign of unhappy employees. Yes, people can gradually grow unhappy at work, but an instant shift in attitude should ring alarm bells for leaders. 

Some signs of lacking productivity and performance: 

📊 Employees are suffering from poor time management

📊 Staff experiencing increased stress levels in a tense environment

📊 Constantly missing deadlines

📊 An almost instant disconnect from work duties

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the five red flags you should look out for in the workplace as a leader. Whilst these all have negative implications on customers, other employees, and business as a whole, you should approach these with compassion and empathy. 💚

After all, unhappy employees may be suffering from issues outside of work, some of which might be causing a lot of stress, anxiety, and even depression in their lives. 

Tackling these problems in an effective manner will see much better results. Helping people to go from being unhappy at work to improved job contentment can make all the difference. From lower levels of burnout, happier team members, and a boost in productivity, performance, and team morale. 💪

How Heka helps improve happiness for employees 🧠

Heka is the only wellbeing assistant employees need; learning what does and doesn’t work on an individual basis when it comes to health, fitness, and overall wellbeing. 🧘‍♀️

After a few wellbeing questions, Heka suggests anything from personal trainers, life coaching, financial wellbeing consultations, and healthy food, drinks, and vitamin supplements. 💊


If you’d like to find out more about Heka and how our wellbeing platform can boost your employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, book a demo with our team.