Most of us spend a significant time of our days at the workplace, so it’s only normal that we want to feel good in a place where we spend so much time. There’s nothing worse than spending all day in a toxic workplace that makes you feel miserable and unproductive.
Unfortunately, toxic workplaces are very common. In fact, according to a survey, more than 1/3 of employees have experienced working in a toxic workplace at least once in their working lives.
The consequences of having a toxic work environment can be severe for the employee and the organization as a whole. It can lead to high employee turnover and a tarnished reputation in the corporate world. According to another study, around 60% of all employees have lost time from work because of stress, costing businesses over $200 billion every year. What are a few signs of a toxic workplace that you need to pay attention to?
What are a few warning signs of a toxic workplace culture?
If you are looking to start at a new job, it is essential to know how to recognize if the organization that you are applying for has a negative work environment by looking for any of the 20 signs of a toxic workplace discussed here.
1. You’re constantly reminded that you’re lucky to have a job
If your manager constantly reminds employees of how lucky they are to have a job and that they need to show gratitude, it can be a sign of an unhealthy work environment. This can lead workers to feel undervalued, which can precipitate resentment towards their employer in the long run.
2. You’re never given praise and appreciation
It is imperative to give all employees opportunities for growth, especially if they are doing their job well! If you only receive negative feedback from your manager or other superiors – it might be time to seek employment elsewhere.
3. There’s negativity all around
A hostile work environment is one of the first signs that your workplace has a toxic culture. If coworkers are constantly fighting and there is overall negativity in the office, these toxic behaviors could lead to alienation and unfulfillment.
4. There’s a lack of trust
If your employer does not seem to have any faith in you and is always looking for ways to find a fault in your work, it can indicate that there are underlying problems. It could also mean they don’t care about employee satisfaction.
5. You’re being micro-managed
This is a sign that your boss doesn’t trust you to get the job done and needs to be constantly checking in on what you’re doing. It can also lead to resentment when employees feel like they are being treated as incapable or incompetent at their jobs because they need constant supervision.
6. HR does not care about your well-being
HR must take an interest in how employees feel at their jobs to know if there are any underlying problems. If HR does not pay attention and doesn’t seem to care about your well-being or satisfaction with their job – it may be time to look for a new employer!
7. People don’t take responsibility for their actions
No one at the office takes responsibility for their mistakes? This can signify that blame and fault are constantly shifted on other people rather than taking ownership of one’s mistakes.
8. You have a ruthless manager
A ruthless manager who has poor leadership skills and constantly criticizes employees can lead to high turnover rates and employee dissatisfaction. If you can never seem to do anything right, it may be time for a change. If your manager constantly criticizes and gives you negative feedback, it is one of the red flags that you have a toxic workplace.
9. You live on the edge
If you’re experiencing chronic stress and worry that keeps you up at night – it could be a sign that your workplace has a toxic culture. This is a dangerous situation, and you should take action to leave your job as soon as possible.
10. Poor communication is common
Toxic workplaces have few processes and lack clear direction. This inconsistency in communication leaves employees confused. If you’re constantly asked to carry out tasks with little direction and poor communication, it’s a warning sign that there are some underlying problems.
11. There’s rampant inappropriate behavior
It’s one thing when you disagree with your manager, but it is another if they are making comments about your appearance or personal life. When this type of behavior frequently happens in the workplace, then chances are you’re in an unhealthy environment, which makes employees feel uncomfortable and unsafe.
12. There’s no diversity
In companies, it is essential to have different perspectives and backgrounds in the workplace. When not many people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, or sexes are represented, this often leads to adverse outcomes because they will feel unheard and marginalized by their colleagues. Lacking diversity also means that there are not many checks and balances in the workplace, leading to one-sided decisions.
13. There’s loads of office drama
There will inevitably be drama in the office, but if it never seems to end, chances are you’re in a toxic workplace. If you mind your own business but constantly face office gossip, exclusion, or backstabbing from coworkers, it’s a sign of a toxic work environment.
When this type of gossipy behavior by toxic people is normalized, employees start to believe that they have no boundaries, leading to more severe consequences like bullying. It’s time to take a step back and consider if it is worth your mental health to stay at this job.
14. There’s little feedback
The poor communication and lack of feedback provided in a toxic work environment often make employees feel frustrated because they want to grow but don’t know what steps they should take next. All employees’ progress needs to be recognized and given feedback when something goes wrong.
15. There’s a lack of resources
When a company struggles to provide employees with the necessary resources, it often frustrates staff members. Employees need access to the tools, training sessions, and information needed to do their best work, so if there is an overall lack of these resources, you may want to look for new employment.
16. There’s little room to innovate
If you notice that your company is not open to change or new ideas, it might signal that there isn’t much innovation in the workplace. Building an innovative culture is beneficial for all employees because it gives them learning and growth opportunities.
17. Pay isn’t equal
There shouldn’t be huge discrepancies in pay within a company. It is important to ensure that women earn the same salaries as men for similar jobs, and workers with disabilities must also be given the necessary compensation. Being underpaid can lead to frustration, so it might be a toxic environment if you notice it happening at your place of employment.
18. People are always looking for someone to blame
It is essential in companies to take responsibility when we make mistakes and not to point the finger at other people. When employees constantly feel like they need someone else to blame, this can lead to low morale and workplace toxicity all around. People will hesitate to speak up or convey bad news if they are afraid of being blamed.
19. You’re not paid for overtime
In companies, it is essential to be paid fairly and given compensation for any extra hours worked so that workers are reimbursed seamlessly. When employees notice they are not getting paid for their time working over the average number of hours, this can lead to a toxic workplace because there are often high levels of frustration among staff members.
20. There’s a high employee turnover rate
This is a big sign of a toxic workplace – employees don’t want to work there because the environment is so negative. If you notice a high employee turnover, the root cause may be a toxic work environment. Employees want to opt out because of low pay, limited growth opportunities, and communication issues.
How do you feel when you’re in a toxic office environment?
Toxic workplaces can result in poor morale and self-esteem and cause serious disruptions in your life.
1. You dread going to work
Do you often think about how soon you can go home after work? Or do you usually feel tired and uninterested in your work?
If so, there is a chance that you don’t enjoy working at your current workplace. It might be time to look for another job if the thought of coming to the office makes you feel miserable.
2. You are constantly stressed out
We all experience stress from time to time, but if your stress levels are so high that you cannot function properly daily, it’s a bad sign. This can manifest in physical symptoms such as sleepless nights or a racing heartbeat.
3. Your work-life balance is out of sync
Do you have a hard time enjoying your personal life because you are constantly thinking about work? Work-life balance is the key to an overall healthy lifestyle.
If you are constantly prioritizing your work life, you might need to reevaluate what matters most. If your work-life balance is out of control and causing you sleepless nights and anxiety, they may be signs of toxic workplace culture.
What to do if you’re in a toxic work environment?
A healthy work environment is critical in shaping the company’s culture and reducing employee turnover in the organization. If you find yourself in a workplace that is starting to turn toxic, then there here are a few helpful tips to fix it and prevent it from turning worse:
1. Document everything
Documenting events can be your best weapon because if you plan to get out of the toxic environment, you will have proof that what happened was not your fault. This evidence might come in handy later.
2. Talk to your manager
If you feel like your workplace is toxic, then there’s a good chance that it is. The first step in tackling this issue is to talk with your manager about the things that are bothering you. When you go into this conversation, be open, honest, and professional. It may help if you start by saying that you value your work and think that improvements are to be made.
3. Create a plan of action
Once you have talked with your manager, ask them what they think can be done about the current situation. If they seem like they’re willing to make changes, then develop an action plan together to fix things. You may want to ask for regular check-ins on the progress that you’re making.
4. Be proactive
If your workplace is filled with unproductive and inappropriate behavior, then you need to take action for yourself and your company. Let people know when they are acting inappropriately and make your expectations clear.
5. Ask questions
Make sure that you always ask lots of questions when starting a new assignment or project, especially with a team that has not worked together before. This will help you better understand what is expected and encourage the team to give you feedback and answer any questions that you may have.
6. Thank your colleagues
When an assignment or project is completed, make sure you thank your team members for their help and time. This will show that you value their contribution and encourage them to do more work in the future.
7. Stand up for yourself
Team members who work on a project together are bound to have ups and downs. However, you should still stand up for yourself if your colleagues are disrespectful or taunting you about things unrelated to the task at hand. If this continues to happen over time, it may be best to seek out someone higher up in your company who can mediate the problem.
8. Offer constructive feedback
Offering constructive feedback to your colleagues for their work is a great way of fostering healthy relationships. Some people are naturally very domineering and may perceive any feedback as negative criticism. Make sure you are speaking to them about their strengths and how they can improve in the future.
9. Leave if needed
Your physical and mental health comes first. So if you are in a toxic workplace, your best option is to leave. You can always find employment elsewhere if you are looking for one. If you want to remain in your company, but there is nothing you can do about the toxic culture, try to find the silver lining and make the most of it.
How can employers create a healthy organization?
As an employer, you must have a clear leadership vision and a set of values that encourages team members to contribute to the company’s success.
1. Communication is key
The first step is to communicate your business’s vision and values by creating a shared understanding. This means discussing them with employees, writing them down for everyone to see, and following through on those expectations with policies and procedures supporting those values.
This means that when new employees are introduced to your company, they will have a good understanding of what is expected from them before they even start work. This also helps avoid ambiguity about roles and responsibilities, which can contribute to poor performance.
If there are issues with your team members or direct reports, you should keep communication open and encourage the employees to approach you with any questions or concerns.
2. Set clear rules
When creating a healthy workplace, it’s important to have clear rules on what behaviors are okay and which ones aren’t. Discourage negative behavior, which, if left unchanged, can quickly lead to a downward spiral.
3. Seek and give feedback
Encourage two-way communication with your employees. If you want to make sure that everyone is on the same page about how your company runs, this is vital. As an employer, it’s also essential to promptly give feedback to your team members and learn how to take criticism with open arms. If you want your company culture to improve, then it needs to start at the top.
4. Play fair
Fairness is a good sign of a healthy organization. It builds trust and signals that an employer values team members. Try to create an atmosphere where everyone feels valued for their contribution, and there are no hidden agendas. Ensure that misleading or bad communication is not tolerated.
Toxic work environments can be hard to spot at first, but when you notice recurring patterns or a few of the symptoms mentioned above, it is time to start looking for other opportunities. If one person is the problem, then it is best to speak with that person directly. If the company has a high turnover rate with a toxic culture, it might be time to start looking for new opportunities. It’s not worth putting your mental and physical health at risk!