Top 10 Biggest Signs of a Toxic Workplace Environment

When working a job, it's important to pay attention to the corporate culture. You should only work at places where the company has a healthy culture. No amount of money should ever justify staying in a toxic environment.

While there is no set definition of a toxic workplace environment, the best way to describe it would be a company environment where so many elements of negativity are engraved in the workplace that it becomes part of the culture itself, and everyone just accepts it as the norm.

These are some red flags to look out for in your company's culture. Just to be very clear, if you are working in an environment where two or more of these signs are present, then do yourself a favor and run. Get out of there as soon as possible. Find a job somewhere else and don't look back.
The Top Ten
1 Unhealthy Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest causes of a toxic work environment is an imbalance between work and one's personal life. Working 9-5 every day can be tough enough already! In corporate America, we are already expected to spend 8 hours a day working. Factor in sleep, and that's 2/3 of your day. While work should be a priority, it should not be the only priority for people.

Believe it or not, it's actually okay to have a life outside of the office! The moral of the story here is that people are already working a ton of hours, and they don't want their managers to invade the few hours of the day they have to themselves or their weekends either. People shouldn't be on standby or on call 24/7 unless they are a doctor or nurse in a hospital setting or an emergency service person.

Don't put your job above your own well-being or your family. Otherwise, it'll mentally drain you and is the leading cause of burnout, which will decrease your productivity and happiness.

2 Excessive Micromanagement

Nobody likes a boss who is constantly micromanaging their employees. Granted, it's okay for them to check in occasionally. That's fine, but what's not okay is constantly feeling like you're under the microscope. Micromanaging employees only leads to them losing confidence in their abilities and destroys any trust built up.

It also hampers innovation and impedes growth. It's okay to check in on employees occasionally and assist them when needed, but constant micromanagement will be detrimental to any culture.

3 Abnormally High Employee Turnover

This one comes with a bit of a caveat. People will leave a company for various reasons such as retirement, moving, or taking a better offer elsewhere. Those reasons alone are valid, and some turnover is expected. However, if there's an abnormal amount of employee turnover, it's a red flag that signals a deeper issue such as low wages or lack of advancement opportunities.

If there's a noticeable wave of employees leaving the company, it's a bad sign. Keep in mind finding new employees is a lot more costly than retaining current employees.

4 Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a very toxic behavior where one person makes another person question their own thoughts. It's very detrimental and destructive to a company environment. People lose trust in their supervisors and lose confidence in their abilities.

Some ways to spot gaslighting include denial ("That never happened"), shifting blame ("It's all your fault"), minimizing ("You're overreacting"), or withholding ("I don't know what you're talking about"). These are all signs that you're being gaslighted. You shouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior and shouldn't work anywhere that does tolerate it.

5 Poor Communication

Poor communication is a leading factor for toxic work environments. It creates chaos, confusion, and opportunities for misunderstandings. One of the biggest cornerstones of a healthy corporate culture is good communication. Everyone on the team should know deadlines, roles, and responsibilities clearly and concisely.

You'd be surprised how many problems are solved when you just communicate effectively. Communication is such a vital aspect of a successful business. I cannot stress it enough. Poor communication only leads to further problems and confusion.

6 Lack of Support

In any setting, it's important to provide support and motivation for employees to thrive. A lack of support is detrimental and will negatively impact morale, confidence, and overall job satisfaction.

We are still human beings who require support. Otherwise, we feel isolated and struggle to overcome challenging situations. Additionally, it's important to reward and recognize employees for their hard work. You work too hard not to get the proper recognition you deserve.

7 No Room for Mistakes

We're all human beings. Therefore, it's okay to make mistakes. Granted, some mistakes are bigger than others. Nobody likes making mistakes, but they unfortunately do happen from time to time.

The worst part is when your supervisor creates a threatening environment where you feel afraid of making mistakes. Employees feel like they're walking on a tightrope, which shouldn't be the case. A mistake should be a learning opportunity, especially when it's fixable more often than not. Getting dragged over the coals should not be the response, especially when it usually leads to the blame game instead of finding a solution.

8 Signs of Physical and Mental Stress

Being in a toxic work environment for a while will eventually take its toll on you both mentally and physically. Your body and brain will basically be on high alert because your brain thinks you're in danger. Being in fight-or-flight mode for an extended period of time can be detrimental health-wise.

You may experience stress, anxiety, and depression, which may cause side effects such as digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, migraines, panic attacks, or sleep deprivation. Pay attention to your body's warning signs and don't continue to suffer in that situation. Talk to a professional about your symptoms and situation.

9 Overall Employee Disengagement

You can tell a lot about a company's culture just from the overall body language of the employees themselves. There's a very clear difference between coworkers who are talkative with each other during their downtime and those who are merely in standoff mode.

Are they generally happy and cheerful on Slack or Teams? Do they send GIFs and memes, or are they very "no nonsense"? The vibes in the office between coworkers will reveal a lot about the company culture as a whole. Pay attention to how your coworkers interact with each other.

10 Better Promotions for Lazy Workers
The Contenders
11 A Lot of Work with Little Profit
12 Constant Bullying and Harassment

Bullying and harassment are never acceptable in the workplace, period. Even if it's subtle, it can be detrimental to the company culture. This is especially true if it's been going on for a while. It can cause stress and anxiety for the victim and destroys any trust between colleagues and the company itself.

13 Insubordination
14 Nepotism
15 Prejudice
16 Favoritism
17 Administrative Abuse of Power
18 Backstabbing
19 Gossip
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