If you’re working in a toxic workplace it’s going to affect your physical and mental well-being over time, not to mention harm your professional growth.
So, what are the signs of a toxic workplace, and what should you do if you find yourself working in such an environment?
That’s what I’m going to address in this article.
Here are 15 of the most common signs that a workplace is toxic and what you should do about it:
What Are the Signs of A Toxic Workplace? 15 Common Signs You’re In A Toxic Environment!
1. You’ve Not Been Properly Onboarded Since Joining
If you’ve never been properly onboarded since joining the company it’s hard to feel although you fit in and are welcomed as part of the team.
This leads to feelings of isolation, and a lack of understanding about company policies and procedures.
It’s a huge red flag and indicates that there is a toxic culture starting high up with management and filtering down.
If this is the case for you, try speaking to HR about proper onboarding and training, or consider looking for a new job.
2. There Is a Quick Turnover of Staff
A high turnover of staff can be a sign that the workplace is not a happy or healthy one.
If people are constantly leaving, it’s about as strong of a sign that the working conditions are poor as it gets.
People don’t leave a job without good reason, so if you see a high rate of turnover it might mean your time is limited too!
3. Your Coworkers Are Constantly Moaning
Moaning in the workplace is a sign of a negative and toxic environment.
If your coworkers are constantly complaining about the company, their job, or their colleagues it’s not going to make for a pleasant or productive atmosphere.
If you find yourself surrounded by moaning and negativity, try to distance yourself from it as much as possible and focus on the positive aspects of your job.
If it’s really affecting you and you can’t escape it, you will have to consider looking for a new position.
4. There Is Poor Communication Across the Board
Good communication is the backbone of any successful workplace.
If there is a lack of communication or poor communication, it’s going to lead to misunderstandings and problems with productivity.
If communication is consistently an issue that is affecting you directly, speak to your manager or HR about it and try to come up with solutions.
If that doesn’t work you might have to accept that you’re in a toxic environment and your coworkers and management aren’t willing to improve things.
5. There Is Poor Leadership
Good leadership at the top is essential for a healthy and successful workplace.
If your boss or company leaders are incompetent, unprofessional, or just plain mean it’s going to trickle down and affect the entire workplace.
This is something that you’re not going to be able to change and is something that rarely resolves itself overnight.
You might have to accept that while the current leaders are in place it’s never going to be somewhere that’s fulfilling to work.
6. You Can Tell Coworkers Are Being Gaslit
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where someone makes you question your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
If you can see that it’s happening to your coworkers, and potentially even yourself, it’s a major sign that the workplace is toxic.
Gaslighting is not acceptable behavior in the workplace – or outside of it – if it’s happening to you, speak up and report it to HR.
7. There Are Poor Work-Life Boundaries
A healthy work-life balance is important for both your mental and physical well-being.
If there are no boundaries in place or they are consistently being crossed, it’s a sign of a toxic workplace.
This can manifest in things like constantly being expected to work overtime without compensation or not being able to take time off.
If your manager or boss doesn’t respect your personal time it’s a sign that worse things are going to follow.
8. There Is No Potential for Career Progression
If you feel like there is no room for growth or advancement in your current position, it can lead to feeling stuck and unfulfilled.
If you see that this is the case for your coworkers too, it’s likely a sign that the company or workplace as a whole is not healthy or positive.
Constantly feeling like you have hit a dead end can lead to unhappiness and it may be time to start looking for new opportunities elsewhere.
If your organization can’t even create clear opportunities for current staff to progress and grow professionally, it’s not a place you should want to work.
9. You’re Incredibly Demotivated
If you find yourself constantly feeling unmotivated and unenthused about going to work, it’s a sign that something is not right.
It could be a sign of burnout or it could be that you’re in a toxic workplace and it’s wearing on you.
If the latter is the case, you may need to accept that the culture is unhealthy and you’ll be better off looking for somewhere else to work.
10. Everyone Seems to Be Nitpicking Each Other’s Work
This is toxic workplace behavior that crosses boundaries and shows that your coworkers have a general sense of contempt for the rules and one another.
If there is constant nitpicking and criticism, it can’t be a healthy or productive work environment you’re involved in.
Constructive criticism is fine, but there is a big difference between that and looking for faults in your coworker’s work.
11. There Is a Culture of Backstabbing
Backstabbing is also a toxic workplace behavior that does a lot more damage than it looks like on the surface.
If coworkers are constantly talking behind each other’s backs and throwing each other under the bus, it’s a clear sign that the workplace is toxic.
You should want to work in a workplace where coworkers support and encourage each other and celebrate individual and team successes.
12. Your Coworkers Are Two-Faced
If your coworkers are fake or insincere in their interactions with you, it’s a big red flag.
In a healthy workplace, coworkers should be genuine and respectful toward one another.
If they are constantly saying one thing to your face and something different behind your back, it’s a sign of major toxicity.
Trust is a big factor in workplace relationships and if it’s lacking, it’s time to reassess the work environment you’re in.
13. There Is a High Rate of Time Off
When people are unhappy at work they take time off, it’s not rocket science.
If you notice that there is a high rate of sick days and time off being taken, it’s a sign that something isn’t right.
It could be a sign of burnout, but it could also mean that the workplace is toxic and employees are avoiding it as much as possible.
If you start to feel like you don’t want to be there, too, these are all the signs you need to make you realize that you need to look for another job.
14. You See Gross Acts of Unprofessionalism
If your coworkers or supervisors are acting unprofessionally, it’s safe to say that the workplace is toxic.
This can range from inappropriate behavior to outright harassment and bullying or illegal activities.
No one should have to deal with that in their work environment and it’s a clear sign that it’s time for you to move on and find a new job.
15. You Get a Strong Gut Feeling that It’s a Toxic Environment
Sometimes the signs of a toxic workplace can be more subtle, but if you have a strong feeling that something isn’t right, trust your gut.
It’s important to be able to recognize the signs and listen to your own intuition about the work environment you’re in.
If it doesn’t feel right, it’s time to start looking for a new job and getting out of the toxic workplace.
Don’t ignore the warning signs or think things will change – for your own mental and physical health, it’s important to leave a toxic work environment.
Related – Should you quit if you’ve received your final written notice? (Options Explained!)
How Do You Act in A Toxic Workplace?
It’s important to remember that you can’t change the toxic behavior of your coworkers or company culture, but you can control how you react.
The best thing you can do is to try to maintain a positive attitude and stay focused on your work and individual goals.
Surround yourself with supportive coworkers, if there are some, and take breaks when needed.
If the toxicity becomes too much to handle, it’s important to start looking for a new job and get out of the negative work environment before it pulls you too far in.
Should You Leave if Your Workplace Is Toxic?
Ultimately, it’s up to you and what you are comfortable with – this isn’t something I can answer for you.
If the toxicity is manageable and not affecting your work or mental health, you may choose to stay if you need the money or think it’s something you can tolerate.
But if the toxicity is causing stress or impacting your well-being, it’s important to prioritize your health and start looking for a new job.
No job is worth sacrificing your mental and physical health, so trust your gut and do what’s best for you in the long run.
If you need financial security, start looking for a job before quitting – but make sure you’re able to separate yourself from the toxic behaviors.
Remember to take care of yourself and don’t let a negative work environment bring you down!
Image credits – depositphotos.com/stock-photo-creativity-team-working-together
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.