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7 signs of a toxic work environment!

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

A toxic environment can have a serious impact on your health, know these signs to understand that the problem is not you but your workplace.

A lady working in a toxic work environment in her office.

You spend the majority of your day at the office and a dysfunctional workplace will only lead to dissatisfaction that may affect your personal life as well as your health. It is common to have a stressful day at the office but if you dread the thought of going to work everyday then it is probably a sign of a toxic environment. These environments destroy your morale, attitude, performance and may lead to job burnouts or even depression. How do you spot a toxic workplace? Sometimes it's easy to know with an arrogant, micromanaging boss or an office that has total disregard to a healthy work-life balance. On other occasions it may not be so easy to know for the problems lie under the surface. Here are the 7 signs of a toxic work environment - 1. Unhealthy and negative communication.

Communication is essential for healthy functioning of a workplace. The most common sign among toxic workplaces is an unhealthy communication pattern. There may exist problems in communication between employees, supervisors, management and even the customers. You may not get the necessary information to do your job or you may be left out of the loop regarding important information. Apart from these, misleading information or withholding information may also be a common part of a toxic work environment.

2. Lack of policies and procedures.

Policies and procedures may not exist or they have been poorly implemented. In such an environment there is always chaos, inconsistency, confusion and a lack of focus. This dysfunction is further exaggerated when employees do not take ownership of their work citing that this is not their job. Employees may also not be treated fairly and some may be favored over the others. Such dysfunction and favoritism always leads to little or no enthusiasm among employees.

3. Poor leadership.

Toxic leaders and toxic workplaces always go together. Poor leadership skills often result in a high turnover or frequent layoffs. A toxic leader is often characterised as either narcissistic or micromanaging or even a bully. They hurt your self-esteem and undermine your ability to put out good work while they believe themselves to be more talented and deserving than anyone else around. When meetings are called by such leaders, nobody speaks up but they often speak up when these leaders are not around.

A lady stressed out from a toxic workplace burnout in her office.

4. Office drama.

An office where there is plenty of gossips and rumors being spread with no genuine friendships is a sign of unprofessional colleagues and a toxic environment. Gossips take place everywhere but there should be no tolerance for it in the workplace. Listening and contributing to workplace gossip can leave you feeling manipulated and possibly pressured into saying things you may not agree with.

5. Poor work-life balance.

You may be suffering from a poor work-life balance due to an unreasonable workload. A toxic work environment does not respect your time boundaries and expects you to be available any time. Besides, they may ask you to work long hours and overtime without any compensation. This often leads to a burnout, fatigue or illness from the high levels of stress. If employees are calling in sick frequently, it is a sign of a toxic work environment.

6. Lack of support.

You may lack support from your colleagues, superiors or the management. They may prevent you from growing and do not appreciate your point of views or even consider them. You may also be constantly criticized for your work. Constructive feedback, on the other hand, helps you develop as an employee and as an individual. But negative comments affect your self-esteem and discourage you from putting an effort.

7. Lack of proper training.

Every employee needs to receive adequate training at the time of hire and throughout their tenure. If you do not receive the appropriate training, you will never be able to do what needs to be done effectively. This lack of training reduces productivity levels and the desire to work leading to an employee being underappreciated and undervalued. A toxic work environment does not provide the required training and expects you to know-it-all or figure it out. Related - 7 signs you should quit your job! 7 things to do before you quit your job!

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1 Comment

Karina Ioffe
Karina Ioffe
Jul 11, 2019

Those are very good points! I did experience poor leadership and unclear communication in my workplace and it leaves you so unmotivated. Also, where I live a lot of managers seem to think that yelling at people helps motivate them, but for me, it just made me super anxious about going to work every day.

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