toxic workplace
It's important to be in a healthy, positive work environment

Signs you are in a toxic workplace

Watch out for signs that you might be in a toxic workplace

Having a job you enjoy is a major plus in your life – whether it’s doing something you love or simply because of the people around you, the environment or the work-life balance.

But what happens when things aren’t right and you find that the atmosphere you work in means you feel unhappy, under pressure or uncomfortable?

Everyone has gripes at times about work but watch out for signs that you might be in a toxic workplace. This is more serious than simply frustrations about rotas or a line manager you feel you can’t trust. It’s things that may run deep through a company and make life difficult for everyone.

A toxic workplace culture could mean the following:


1. Negative or disrespectful behaviour - incidents of harassment, discrimination or bullying have no place in the work environment. Any such behaviour, whether it is from colleagues or managers can create a toxic workplace environment.

2. High turnover - seeing colleagues leave the company or hearing about frequent turnovers is definitely a red flag in terms of spotting the signs of a toxic workplace. People tend to leave toxic environments more frequently.

3. Lack of communication - if there is no open and honest communication, frequent miscommunication, or a culture of secrecy, employees may feel they are not part of the process, that they are being deliberately shut out.

4. Stress - this can result from constant pressure and unrealistic expectations regarding workloads. If this comes from the top, and if it results in micromanagement and a lack of trust, people can feel the strain of having to meet the goals they are set.

5. Lack of support or recognition - if you enjoy your job and you get credit for the work you do it can be very rewarding. If your contributions go unrecognised, or you don’t feel you have the resources to succeed, it can be demoralising.

6. Lack of work-life balance - it’s sometimes necessary to put in extra hours, but if the company expects or encourages long working hours with little or no recognition or reward, it can be detrimental to an employee’s mental and physical health.

7. Lack of opportunities - limited or no opportunity for professional development and career enhancement through training programmes or promotion are often an indicator that the company is not fully invested in its employees.

8. Favouritism or unfair treatment - if employees can sense a culture of favouritism or nepotism, or if some employees are treated better or worse than based on personal relationships rather than merit, it can destroy trust and lead employees to become disillusioned about their prospects.

9. Lack of autonomy - micromanagement and not being given the freedom to make decisions or contribute ideas, can lead to frustration and a toxic atmosphere.

10. Health issues - If a work environment is so stressful that it causes physical or mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or frequent illnesses, it's a clear sign of a harmful workplace.

Speak to someone


Anyone experiencing any of the signs listed here should consider whether the incidents they are experiencing are likely to be short-lived, or if there is something they can do to bring it to a manager’s attention. Making HR aware of incidents of bullying, for instance, could well put a stop to it effectively and quickly, and that doesn’t mean there's a toxic work culture.  

At the same time, not all of the points here have to be happening for someone to genuinely feel unhappy at work, to feel that it’s a toxic workplace culture, and that their health, physical and mental, is being affected.

If that is the case, and it feels like the reasons for the environment are deep rooted and unlikely to change, it may be worth considering a change of job for the sake of your wellbeing.

If the environment you work in is affecting your physical or mental health, it may be time to look for new opportunities, and ACS Staffing Solutions can help. Contact us online or give us a call on 01604 704058.

Chris Wright
August 8, 2023
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