Signs of a toxic work environment

6 Signs Of A Toxic Work Environment That You Should Be Aware Of

Everything needs an appropriate environment for its nourishment. Freshwater fish survives best in freshwater than in salty water. If not best, then at least the proper environment is requisite to breathe. How many people do you know who wait for the weekend to end so he can get back to work? A rare case. Workplace stress, bad days, unwillingness to go office, Monday blues are the usual typical term. An employee spends more time at work, excluding your regular sleep hours. The workplace is like a second home, where an employee spends a lot of time with his colleagues.

Toxic work environment

Apart from a monetary return against his services, an employee needs a suitable workplace environment to perform. However, his performance may lower down, or he may quit experiencing a toxic workplace environment. A toxic workplace is when an employee faces difficulties to the extent that makes him unable to work.

Life is all about surviving with problems. Humans are capable enough to handle the issues and go on with them; however, toxicity aims to kill. The toxic environment is characterized by elements that harm both the physical and mental health of an employee. Competent employees sense these environmental hazards and escape them for good. This article aims to discuss some of those signs of a toxic workplace environment.

Signs of a toxic environment

The two main ingredients that make any workplace environment toxic, directly or indirectly are either employees or their boss. We mention here six signs of a toxic workplace environment below.

A dominating boss

It says that people don’t leave the organization; they leave their boss. When your manager, head of the department, or boss, i.e. person you are reporting to, doesn’t respect you or your work, you remain under constant pressure to please him. Trying to please these kinds of managers may get on your nerves when you know it is impractical. Your boss is not going to pat your shoulders no matter how hard you try.

One reason to retain in such dominating workplace is the non-availability of options for living. When your boss treats you like a servant and expects you to obey whatever he demands, it is like being a robot. Intelligent and competent employees cannot remain for long in such situations.

You are overworked

It’s said that there are two reasons; if your employees are unable to get their work done for a day in given hours, i.e. they are inefficient or overworked. Both of the situations give stress to an employee. If an employee cannot qualify for a particular task, it will require numerous attempts, extra efforts, and time to get it done.

In other situations where he is overworked, it would be difficult for him to balance his personal and work life. Both conditions cause stress regularly and result in burnout for him.

Being part/ victim of office gossip/politics

Having a usual and healthy chat for maintaining good relations with coworkers is a good thing as you spend more than half of your day with them. But when those chat loses limits and turns into gossips, it will affect productive employees and make it difficult for them to contribute toward organizational goals.

Some of the employees become victims for avoiding such chats and may experience dirty politics being played with them. This situation often calls for fight or flight conditions. In either case, the workplace becomes toxic, draining the energies of a good employee.


Bullying at the workplace destroys the self-esteem of an employee. Although the term “bully” reminds of and is often used during school times, having to experience it within a workplace causes more hurt. It stresses him physically, mentally, and emotionally when he is mistreated by fellow staff or managers.

It may come as abusive behaviors, humiliation both in person and in front of other staff, scandal, being ignored, blamed for other’s mistakes, unfair appraisal, exclusion from training and opportunities, etc. This daily and continuous harassment at the workplace causes negativity and frustration in the personality of employees.

Communication gap

Giving employees a clear sense of direction and bridging is essential for a healthy and productive work environment. When an employee doesn’t know what they are working for, i.e. Organizational goals and values, they become less or unmotivated towards work. The feeling of working as a slowcoach is not a cup of tea for many employees.

On the other hand, when employees are kept distant from their managers or boss to communicate work ideas, the feeling of being unheard or unrewarded loses their interest in work. Continuous communication gaps and not recognizing efforts of employees serve to contribute toxicity in the workplace.

Lack of growth

What if, as an employee, you are well paid, given annual increments and specific bonuses but not growth staying for just money does not work for all. A competent employee seeks opportunities to learn from and grow accordingly. An organization that does not offer growth to its employees is just a trap. Sitting at the identical designation and doing similar work years makes it dull.



Many employees in such an organization retain to make money and leave on getting the same or a little more than what they are getting from here, i.e. disloyal employees. Competent employee leaves as soon as they find better opportunities even for less money. Being paid less but providing options on title with less money is still acceptable than remaining stagnant.

Using signs of toxic environment

Surviving in a toxic workplace is detrimental to our well-being. Consider that we spend a big part of our time at the office and cannot stay for long in toxic ones. Additionally, remaining for longer in that hostile environment will take even longer for recovering from its effects. It’s better to understand those signs on a timely basis and take the needed steps. 

One of our high school a teacher taught us to read signs of good people when you are interviewed. Use social media and company websites to check for its credibility and reputation. Don’t get hired, totally on their terms. There should be a win-win. Ask for good or market-competitive paychecks against your services. He taught us that a person who convinces you to join on his offered salary and promises rise in future, don’t go for it. It’s a situation of now or never.

When the workplace becomes toxic, observe the factors and come up with clear reasoning. This reasoning will help to come up with any possible solution. Confront professionally, a coworker, or even a manager. Often we confuse our assumptions with realities. Assure the circumstances and look for how to eliminate workplace toxicity with validations or confrontations.

Teaming up with people, who are experiencing the same toxic environment, is one way of fight. By teaming up, you can diffuse bullies. It can help you communicate your insecurities more effectively by using differences. 

For example, one introvert member can keep silences where required, and an extrovert may communicate issues. This tactic helps to avoid people from bothering you and assuming that you have no friends for a backup.

Market yourself well. Your manager or boss should be aware of the responsibilities you are taking care of. Please make a list of your work responsibilities and share it with your manager to keep him updated about your contribution and in case any changes are required. This practice help when it comes to your appraisal and recognition.

Try reaching out and communicating with your managers if you are being overworked, underpaid, or not being rewarded. I read somewhere that you only get it when you ask for it. Many employees stop contributing to an organization or even leave the organization without keeping their perspective in front of their managers. Ask for a one on one meeting, keep your concerns, and know your manager’s views about the same. This practice solves most issues when an employee faces the workplace as toxic because of feeling ignored or unheard.

One effective way is to plan an exit before even joining. Please don’t sign your employment agreements without reading them. The clauses mentioned in your hiring contract must also contain the point to give rights to an employee. Usually, there is a notice period allotted for both employee and company before quitting, i.e. a specific time is given, often a month to be served, either company terminates or an employee resigns. It is a good thing that an employee can use this time to look for another better place to join.


Experiencing signs of a toxic environment call for immediate action. Working at a place where employees are treated as servants, bullied, victimized by politics, deprived of opportunities, or not owned by the organization is toxic. A competent employee tends to flee as soon as they get better opportunities. Others who are retained by threat or for just monetary values they are provided are trapped ones, not loyal. 

It’s recommended to do your homework before joining any organization for which is doable. Social media and other websites can help check the credibility and work environment to avoid being a part of or escaping from those establishments.

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