Seven Signs You’re Working in a Toxic Environment

Mortgage and Lending with Olympus Labs

It’s normal to push the snooze button once or twice in the morning, and you may dream of a day when you don’t have to go into work anymore, but there does come a point when these things are signs that you work in a toxic environment.

Unfortunately, toxic workplaces aren’t as uncommon as we all hope. If you experience a toxic work environment, you may find yourself wanting to call in sick, or you may spend more time ruminating about work-related problems when you should be relaxing at the end of the day at home.

The question is, how can you tell if the environment you’re working in is toxic, or if you’re just dealing with normal job irritations and disappointments?

Discrimination Against You or Others

One of the most obvious signs is discrimination. It doesn’t have to be directed at you either. If any kind of discrimination takes place in your office, it’s going to have an effect on your well-being.

According to a new released study , COVID-19 has increased discrimination against Asian Americans, but as many employees attempt to work from home and care for children at the same time, some female employees are feeling discriminated against as well.

Even without COVID-19, discrimination can take place based on the color of your skin, your gender, your age, and nearly anything else that might make you a little different than others. No matter the cause, it’s never acceptable, and it’s always a sign that you don’t work in a supportive, healthy environment.

Unclear Expectations

When you walk into work in the morning, do you know what's expected of you? If you don’t, and if you fear what might happen if you don’t get it right, you are definitely working in a toxic workplace.

Clear expectations are extremely important in the workplace because they provide clarity around the details of projects, the quality of work that is expected, deadlines, and more. If you're working in a toxic environment, you'll instead deal with passive-aggressive communication, and you’ll feel like you’re not getting the answers you need to complete a project to everyone’s satisfaction.

Another important indication that you're dealing with a toxic workplace is if you and your coworkers are receiving different messages. Don't be afraid to talk with your coworkers to uncover whether this is a problem in your office.

Cliques and Gossiping Are the Norm

Remember those mean girls from high school? They don’t go away just because you become an adult and work in an office. You can find both men and women forming cliques in the workplace, and it’s very bad for employees and business .

You'll know you're dealing with cliquey behavior if the same group of people regularly eats together if they plan excursions outside of work out in the open without inviting others, if certain projects always go to certain groups, or you simply feel like you don't fit in.

Gossiping is also a good indication that you’re dealing with an unhealthy environment. Whether certain employees stop by your cubicle to tell you things about other employees, or you discover that they’re spreading rumors about you, it’s not good for your mental health.

Bad Bosses

Everyone deals with bad bosses . A few you may have dealt with include:

  • The micromanager

  • The boss who relies on negativity

  • The boss who has no empathy

  • The boss who plays blame games

It is important to draw a line between one bad boss and a bad boss that’s a sign of a larger problem. You’re dealing with a toxic environment if upper management has contributed to their bad behavior. If instead, you feel comfortable with upper management, it may simply be time to request a different supervisor.

High Employee Turnover

People move on to new jobs more frequently today than in decades past. However, if it seems like someone new is putting in their two weeks or quitting every week, it’s a sign that there’s a larger problem with the company.

High employee turnover rates aren’t good for business, but some companies can’t seem to get it under control. It’s normal for an employee or two to take off for higher pay or more flexible hours, but if you see new faces in the office frequently, there’s likely a deeper problem that’s affecting the culture of your workplace.

No Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is important , but it’s becoming more and more elusive as checking email after hours and working late have become the norm.

Your boss should expect your all while you’re on the clock, but they should also understand that time spent away from work makes you a better employee. If your employer regularly asks you to stay late at work, if you’re expected to check email all hours of the day, or if you don’t feel like you can take time off without fear of retaliation, it’s time to start looking for a workplace that offers a better work-life balance.

You Feel It in Your Gut

Unfortunately, pinpointing what’s causing the toxic environment at work can be difficult. It is often an accumulation of smaller things that add up over time that you can’t put your finger on. In this case, it’s important to listen to your gut.

That might mean that something doesn’t feel right and that feeling doesn’t go away over weeks, months, or even years, but it can also mean something is physically wrong with your gut. If you have an upset stomach first thing in the morning, if you don’t have an appetite during the day, or if you find yourself emotionally eating at night, your workplace could be what’s causing your problems.

There’s a difference between not feeling like going to work and dealing with a toxic environment. There are things you can to do make your days better, but if you see any of these signs in your workplace, it could mean it’s time for you to look for a new job in a less toxic working environment.


Comments (1)

Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.

Aug 04, 2020 03:02 AM