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4 Min. Read

5 Signs of a Toxic Work Environment & How to Handle It

5 Signs of a Toxic Work Environment & How to Handle It

Most of us spend the majority of our time at work. As such, we need a healthy workplace to remain happy. A healthy workplace also contributes to better mental health. Unfortunately, however, there are toxic workplaces out there. A toxic work environment can have an array of negative effects on an employee. If you think that you’re being subjected to a toxic culture in the workplace, check our list of 5 signs of a toxic work environment below.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a Toxic Work Environment?

5 Signs of Workplace Toxicity

What Can You Do About It?

Key Takeaways

What Is a Toxic Work Environment?

A toxic work environment is a workplace where stress, drama, and dysfunction thrive. Many of them have poor workplace communications. Additionally, communications may not be limited to just workplace business. Toxic workplaces make you feel fatigued, stressed, or generally unhappy. However, displeasure in your job and in your workplace need to be separated.

Disliking your job does not mean that you are in a toxic environment. Toxic environments make even the most pleasant job feel like an absolute chore. That’s how you can tell the difference. There are quite a few telltale signs of toxic workplaces. Keep reading to find out more.

5 Signs of Workplace Toxicity

Identifying workplace toxicity can be difficult. However, if any of the following scenarios or symptoms remind you of your job, you’re likely in an unhealthy work environment.

1. A Lack of Communication

A toxic workplace will often have poor, or no, communication. Being able to communicate effectively is a requirement in the workplace. If you don’t have a leadership team that communicates with you regularly, there might be some toxicity present. If you end up hearing news about your job from employees rather than leaders, there’s an issue as well. Workplace communications are the strongest indicator of a workplace’s health.

2. A Lack of Motivation

If you notice that your coworkers seem to be unmotivated it can be pretty harmful. Seeing employee burnout can have a large impact on employee morale, as well as emotional health. As such, a good workplace will do what it can to prevent any sort of burnout. Keeping employees motivated is a sign that a business cares about its employees. If they don’t mind a high employee turnover rate, there’s a good chance they foster a toxic work culture.

3. An Absence of Growth

Many workplaces want to see their employees grow. They encourage promotion from within and want to see good candidates succeed. That’s how you keep good people, and how you prevent any hostility towards outside hires. A toxic work culture will have a lack of opportunity. They won’t promote from within, which can have a major effect on motivation. Without growth, people feel stifled. A healthy work environment will always offer opportunities to grow on a frequent basis.

4. A Lack of Work-Life Balance

Have you ever gone on a vacation, but felt bad about leaving work the entire time? There’s a good chance that your current workplace is toxic, then. A good workplace will encourage a great work-life balance. Without balance, employees will suffer from burnout and long hours. Employees should be encouraged to take time away from the job. Oftentimes, it’ll lead to more productive workplace habits, too.

5. A Willingness to Turn a Blind Eye

Anyone who says bullying ends in school hasn’t worked in a toxic work environment. Unhealthy workplaces don’t set any sort of precedent for punishments. There are no consequences for bullying or sexual harassment. Businesses like this shouldn’t be tolerated.

What Can You Do About It?

When you’re feeling stuck in a toxic workplace, there are really only three options that you have to handle it.

  • Confront the problem. If you’re dealing with a toxic employee, speak with them. Discuss with them their behaviour and come to a solution.
  • Speak with human resources if confronting the issue head-on doesn’t work. There’s a chance that they may not be aware of the problem, and may be able to help.
  • Plan your exit. Leaving a toxic workplace may be one of the best things you can do for your health and your career. Don’t stick around because you feel obligated.

Key Takeaways

Toxic workplaces can be hard to avoid, unfortunately. Often, you don’t know that a workplace is toxic until you’ve been in it for a period of time. If any of the signs we’ve described here feel familiar, you may need to take a deeper look at your workplace.


If you need more advice about your workplace or your small business, visit our resource hub. We have plenty of helpful articles there!


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