Career Advice
June 2, 2022

9 Signs that You are Working in a Toxic Environment

9 Signs that You are Working in a Toxic Environment

9 signs that you are working in a toxic environment

Credit: Freepik

What is a toxic work environment?

If you are working in an office, move your eyes from your screen. Take a look around. What can you see or hear? Could it be a lot of sighing sounds from your colleagues? Could you feel the tense energy in the air? Could you count the number of ‘fully-drained’ facial expressions in the office?

If you are working remotely, does your boss or colleague always interrupt you after working hours? Is weekend a non-written rule to (must) be available for work? Is working 24 hours considered acceptable since you are working from home?

Most importantly, are you feeling stressed right now?

 If you answered ‘Yes’ to all or most of the questions, you could be working in a toxic environment. If you are feeling unsure, get to know the 10 signs that you are working in a toxic environment.

  1. Aggressive behavior in open spaces.

Shouting, throwing documents, slamming the office door, or openly pouring anger into the group communication channel are your usual scenarios at work.

You feel scared going to work and so are your colleagues.

Aggressive behavior at work can affect someone’s confidence and mental health. It is a red flag to work in a company that considers this as a culture to ‘train’ their employees. Be respectful to your employers and employees to achieve a harmonious work environment.

  1. Constantly feeling mentally exhausted.

It’s 9:30 am and you are already feeling mentally exhausted. You cannot remember the last time you felt excited or enthusiastic about work. You keep looking at the clock and cannot wait to get out of work. 

Take a step back. Study what makes you feel this way? Was it due to the people at work? Was it due to the work-load?

A good workplace should make you feel motivated and happy at work and not the other way around. 

Read Signs You’re Mentally Exhausted.

  1. High turn-over.

You started to notice the number of people leaving the company is increasing and could sense something is off.

There are various reasons why people are leaving a company. It could be due to a better offer, seeking a better role, and looking for a higher salary.  A toxic work environment could be one of the main reasons they are leaving too.

Observe your surroundings.

  1. Poor communication.

You are working in a one-way communication culture. Only the ‘higher authority’ has the say on all decisions. Many of your ideas and your colleagues' feedback have been rejected without any chance of experimenting. 

Nobody is listening to you. You feel that the freedom to contribute to the company is very limited. 

  1. Consists of a few ‘teams’ or cliques.

This is way different from the definition of teamwork. Teamwork can be defined as working together even during disagreements, as long as the company’s goal is achieved.

It could be a different story in your company. Your company is divided into a few teams supporting different ‘parties’. There is no unity and opinions are divided based on cliques or teams one is in.

It is difficult to build trust collectively when your company is divided.  

  1. No opportunity for career growth.

You have been doing the same tasks for a long time. You want to learn something more and have requested to explore new knowledge and skills, but your request has been denied or postponed for a long time. 

Your ability to learn something new has been questioned, but there is no opportunity given to help you grow. 

Do not let negative comments stop you from learning. Know your worth and step up your game. 

  1. Zero tolerance.

You still have to work during your holidays, sounds familiar? Working during the holidays could affect your relationship with your loved ones, adding pressure during your time-off, and leading to  burnout.

 Read Don’t Work on Vacation. Seriously.

  1. Roles and responsibilities are unclear at work.

You are clear about your job description before applying for the role. You got accepted, but the job responsibilities are different and are unclear at times. 

You decided to take this as a challenge, but it seems to make things at work more complicated and stressful. You need help, but nobody at work could guide you and expect you to get the job done. 

You need to sit down and breathe. Some potato chips might be a temporary solution.

  1. The non-existent work-life balance.
Credit: Freepik

You have been skipping your meals, exercise routine, and missing family and friends gatherings. You feel that you are missing out on life because there are always tasks to be completed. 

Your company does not take the initiative to check on your well-being and keeps on passing tasks after tasks to your plate. 

You do not know how to describe your feelings anymore. 

Remember that your life doesn't revolve around your job. There is so much more about life that you could start exploring to make life more meaningful. You could enjoy work-life balance in a non-toxic working environment. 

There are some options you could consider if you are experiencing these types of environments in your workplace. You could choose to take this as a challenge to improve yourself during tough moments (please do not proceed with this if it sacrifices your mental health and well-being). You could also explore other opportunities that look and sound more promising for your career growth. Or if you have sufficient savings, take a break, go on a long trip, see the world. There’s boundless potential in life.