Landed your desired job, but does the workplace culture sit right with you?
Chances are you might be stuck in a toxic workplace.
While a company thrives due to its leadership and work environment, the same can stunt its growth. According to reports, 78% of people have said that their commitment to their company has declined significantly due to toxic behavior.
While the pandemic has shifted the workforce to operate online, toxicity in the workplace has followed too. Even though remote jobs have increased the happiness quotient by 20%, workforce toxicity is becoming a concern.
Whether you are overworked and unrecognized or dealing with slackers in the workplace, it is time that you identify the signs of a toxic workplace.
Read on to learn about the toxic workplace checklist and some related FAQs:
- What is a toxic workplace culture?
- What are the causes of a toxic workplace?
- What are the signs of a toxic workplace?
- What is a toxic workplace in a work-from-home model?
- How do you survive a toxic workplace?
What is Toxic Workplace Culture?
A toxic work culture refers to a negative ambiance that disrupts the company's overall productivity and might affect the personal lives of working individuals.
In a workplace, some clear signs of toxicity would be when the boss pays no attention to the hard work of their employees, coworkers mostly wasting time gossiping, or employees are overworked.
Toxic workplace culture can leave you feeling depressed and mentally exhausted, eventually affecting your mental and physical health. It affects productivity at work and makes the employees disengaged. Over time, it results in increased turnover of employees.
What Are the Causes of a Toxic Workplace?
You might have wondered what makes a workplace toxic. The answer is deeply rooted in what causes a workplace to become toxic in the first place. Is it senior managers, subordinates, or colleagues? Is it the high turnover of employees or lack of motivation?
What makes a workplace toxic is the combination of certain factors. Given below are some of the primary reasons that cause toxic workplace:
- The company lacks core values and has no defined set of rules and principles.
- Even if they have outlined the core values, none of the employees practice them.
- The company has no room for change even if it doesn’t align with employees’ needs.
- There is no scope for feedback, and the company lacks proper leadership.
- The employees show no respect for the value system and fail to distinguish between a healthy and dysfunctional workplace.
Also Read: What to do if you hate your job?
What Are the Signs of a Toxic Workplace?
A toxic workplace can wreak havoc on your mental health. In many cases, it has been reported that employees suffer from depression or anxiety depending on the severity of the situation.
But what is considered a toxic workplace?
Given below are some signs of a toxic workplace that you must look out for in any organization:
1. Poor Communication
You know you are working in a toxic environment if you notice the employees are confused quite often. This mostly happens when there is a communication gap between management and employees or amongst colleagues.
Communication is a two-way process that involves speaking and listening. If you have some wonderful idea and the company doesn’t lend you an ear, you should know that it is one of the signs of a toxic workplace.
2. Gossiping, Stereotyping, and Discrimination
Chit-chatting over a coffee break is a common practice in offices. If you hear conversations that involve stereotyping or making crude jokes, you are in a toxic job.
Often, employees form groups and make new members feel unwelcomed with their inside jokes. Although it may be unintentional, it may cause some people to feel uncomfortable and alienated. Watch out for such toxic workplace signs; you don’t need to put up with any of those.
3. Lack of Leadership
A company that does not have a leader who can help it progress with its vision can lead to the creation of a toxic workplace. If your company has a history of people leaving the job, the reason could be an intolerable boss.
If your boss wants the company to reach the pinnacle of success but lacks good leadership skills, it could be a sign of toxic workplace culture.
Also Read: What is your leadership style?
4. Prevalence of Cronyism
The practice of cronyism is the appointment of friends and colleagues to a job position even though they may not be qualified enough.
If there are vacancies in your workplace and you notice that the hiring is often done from the pool of friends, family, and alumni network while highly qualified individuals unrelated to the company are still waiting for a callback, you know you are in a toxic workplace.
5. Lack of Boundaries
Lack of boundaries doesn’t only refer to coworkers cracking offensive jokes. It can extend to management compelling employees to stay up late at work or prioritize work over every other aspect of their life.
If you have newly joined an office, these toxic workplace red flags can become visible in the early stage.
6. Lack of Trust
A lack of trust in the workplace can refer to managers constantly checking on the subordinates or monitoring the floor. It can lead to employees questioning their worth and eventually lacking confidence in their abilities.
If your managers hold on too tightly, there is a high chance that the dysfunctional workplace will not yield good results.
7. No Room for Mistakes
If the employees make a mistake and it creates a super tense environment in the workplace, it falls under workplace toxicity.
The employees would then become afraid to take any initiative or even perform well. It would further lead to stunted growth of employees and the company.
8. Unmotivated Coworkers
In a toxic workplace, you will find the employees are working just to earn money. They lack any motivation, and it might also happen that you would end up doing the work that they are unwilling to do.
Your colleagues can leave a positive or negative impact based on their temperament. If you feel you are surrounded by teammates with no will to grow and mostly spend time idly, you should consider leaving a toxic workplace.
9. No Growth Opportunity
In a toxic workplace, there is no room for growth, as all the factors contributing to the development of an individual will be absent.
If you notice that your company is not interested in your professional development by not offering you mentorship, mobility, or learning opportunities to advance your knowledge or career. Even though growth is intrinsic, your workplace plays a vital role.
10. High Employee Turnover
Leaving a job is not an easy decision but if your company has shown a history of employees leaving the job within a few months, consider that as one of the signs of a toxic work environment.
Alternatively, if the organization follows the ‘hire and fire’ principle, that is also one of the signs of toxic workplace culture. A high turnover rate means that the company doesn’t have core values, lacks leadership, and does not offer growth opportunities.
Also Read: What to do if you are laid off from work?
11. No Work-Life Balance
If you find yourself stressed or working on your off days, you might suffer from a lack of work-life balance. You should be able to have a quiet, peaceful dinner once you log out from your work.
If you constantly worry about the work and are forced to be available around the clock, maybe you should reconsider working for that organization.
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12. Employees Under Constant Stress
In a toxic workplace, employees are under constant stress to perform their best, and a sense of job insecurity lingers in their minds all the time.
Even when you are having a good time with your loved ones, you are constantly stressing about your work; it is one of the signs of a toxic workplace.
While it is important that you should know stress management, the company must be careful to not burden the employees with an excessive workload.
Also Read: What are low-stress jobs in 2022?
13. Lack of Recognition for Work
Are your efforts overlooked, no matter how hard you work for your company?
You are likely stuck in a toxic workplace. A dysfunctional workplace will not recognize the hard work of employees nor credit them for it.
In such a scenario, you will eventually feel burnout and lack the motivation to perform. It will affect not only your working style but your mental peace as well.
14. Improper Body Language
In a professional setup, body language conveys more than words do. Notice how the employees behave with each other. Do they look warm and welcoming, or does their body language emit a negative attitude?
If your colleagues are giving you a smile and emitting positivity, you are in the right place, but if they are making a snide remark, giving disgusted looks, or using intimidating touches to threaten or raise voices, you should consider switching the job.
15. Reluctance to Feedback
In any company, feedback plays a vital role in improving the performance of employees. If your company is reluctant to receive or offer feedback, it is one of the toxic workplace red flags.
Reluctance to feedback can also be observed if you offer feedback and your colleagues are not so welcoming towards it. In any scenario, you know it is not the organization that can help you grow.
Toxic Workplace in Work From Home Model
If you think a toxic workplace can be found only in a traditional office setup, you might be mistaken. In a survey conducted in 2021, about 29% of the remote working population felt that the team spirit and relationships have suffered even while working remotely.
Given below are some signs of a toxic workplace in a work-from-home model that you can observe if you are doing a remote job:
16. More Gossip, Less Work
There is a high chance of gossip increasing even in a remote setting, as that acts as an interpersonal work connection.
If you notice that colleagues are involved more in gossip but less in being productive, it is one of the signs of workplace toxicity.
17. Unheard Voices in Digital Meetings
If you are brimming with ideas, but your voice is not heard in meetings, it can be because you work in a toxic workplace.
In a toxic workplace culture, the employees' ideas are not welcomed and only a selected few are decision-makers. Ignoring employees' ideas is an example of a bad working environment, and you must reconsider serving such an organization.
18. Increased Burnout of Employees
Even though remote work saves time and energy from areas such as traveling to the office, the workload can sometimes be overwhelming.
If that is once in a blue moon, it can be managed, but if you are constantly crushed under the weight of an excessive workload, you are stuck in a toxic workplace.
19. Mismanaged Micromanagement
Many organizations are using micromanagement tools to monitor their employees. About 78% of companies use such tools to monitor their employees.
Even though the process is to ensure there is no compromise on productivity yet, it can lead to toxicity in the workplace. It can lead to a feeling that the company doesn’t trust its employees, which can result in employees feeling negatively about the company.
20. No Resolution to Issues
If your company is not heeding your issues even though you have constantly been trying to convey them, you might soon start feeling frustrated. In remote work, the interaction between employees and management is even more distant than in traditional settings.
Since the employees are not directly in front of the management every day, their problems can be easily overlooked.
How Do You Survive a Toxic Workplace?
Now that you know the signs of a toxic workplace, you can check whether the organization in which you are working is also practicing it or not.
If it is, should you immediately resign and take the exit to avoid workplace toxicity?
It would be better to bring the concern to attention instead of resigning immediately.
Given below are some steps that can help you survive a toxic workplace if you are stuck in one and don’t know what to do about it:
- Take a proactive approach and convey your problem to the management as soon as you realize it.
- If the cause of toxicity is poor communication, reach out to employees to address the problem by offering a solution instead of just stating the problem.
- Try to create a space where feedback is appreciated and practice the same with your colleagues.
- Make your work support group foster healthy relations and be vocal about not taking part in gossip if that is worrisome for you.
- Clearly convey your availability to avoid burnout and set up precise schedules about it.
- Take the big exit if you have tried everything else and nothing seems to work out to reduce workplace toxicity.
Failure to promote inclusivity, diversity, and ethical practices leads to a toxic workplace environment.
- The primary cause of workplace toxicity is if the company lacks core values or doesn’t seem to practice them.
- A lack of leadership and inability to accept or give constructive feedback can increase a toxic environment in the workplace.
- Some clear signs of a toxic workplace include excessive gossiping, poor communication, and cronyism.
- If you cannot establish boundaries or trust your colleagues, you might be stuck in a toxic workplace.
- Toxic culture in the workplace can also be found in remote work setting if the employees are not heard in meetings, and the issues are not resolved.
- Surviving a toxic workplace requires you to talk to management and convey your grievances.
- Workplace toxicity can be reduced if employees can offer positive solutions instead of simply pointing out problems.
You can visit Hiration's Career Activator Platform if you're looking for opportunities to help you escape a toxic workplace. You can also contact us by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.