Is Your Workplace Toxic? 5 Signs it’s Time to Rethink Your Current Job

No workplace is perfect. There will always be challenges and obstacles to overcome, even in what might seem like an ideal office. However, if going to work feels more like being in a scene of the Devil Wears Prada, your office may have unfortunately crossed the line from challenging into toxic.

What exactly is a toxic work environment? If your workplace is showing any of the following 5 signs, it’s time to re-evaluate your current position and explore finding a better fit elsewhere. Life is too short to be miserable at work!

1. There are Constant Communication Breakdowns

Lack of communication within an office can be detrimental to the growth and success of the business. Without healthy communication, it is virtually impossible for a team to work together to accomplish a task. If you aren’t given all the information necessary to complete an assignment, are left out of the loop regarding major decisions, never receive timely reviews or consistent feedback to improve yourself, then communication isn’t functioning where you are. Lack of transparency, encouragement and recognition leads employees to feel as though they aren’t a valuable part of the business. Eventually, this can lead to a losing the passion and drive that you feel for your career.

2. Overwhelming Negativity

Lack of communication and openness often breeds resentment and negativity. No one wants to dread going into work every morning, and if walking through the doors each day puts you instantly on edge, nervous, or uncomfortable, it’s time to take a step back. These types of feelings can crush creativity, hamper your ability to produce high-quality work, and discourage you from asking to receive the training you need to advance your career to the next step. If your office is embroiled in cliques, complaints and a general air of stress and frustration, your probably in a toxic work environment.

3. Lack of Leadership

Creating and maintaining a positive environment of an office starts at the top, with executive and management personnel setting the tone for everyone else. If you see your supervisors acting more like middle school mean girls, that will inform the standards of behavior for the entire office. f your boss puts herself first, takes credit for other people’s work, gives special treatment to a chosen few, or expresses anger in an inappropriate way, you’re likely finding it very difficult to be successful, feel heard and have any trust for those in charge. 

4. Competition is praised over Collaboration

In public relations, much like other creative and service-based industries, collaboration – across teams, disciplines and with other agencies, outside experts, and vendors will have a direct impact on success or failure. A work environment turns toxic when employees are more concerned with their own personal success and promotion than what’s best for a client or the agency as a whole. When competition between team members becomes more important than collaboration, or a need to “own” the work results in a lack of willingness to bring in outside help, or entertain other perspectives, quality of work and reputation are put in jepoardy. If you’re working with people who only do the work when it benefits them, or who are unwilling to go the extra mile to share knowledge and friendly advice, the toxic flares have gone up.

5. Your Personal Life is Affected

For the amount of time you spend we spend at the office, it’s a bit like a second home. Being in a toxic environment for 8+ hours each day can negatively impact your quality of life and your habits outside of the office. If you’re finding yourself engaging in behaviors like unhealthy eating, running shoes gathering dust, restless sleeping and increased alcohol consumption, you might be trying to soothe or escape from the realities of your job. If you find that you are starting to indulge in unhealthy habits outside of work as a result of your day, it’s time to re-evaluate your position and whether your job is worth your personal health.

If you find yourself in a work environment that possess one of the above signs, it’s important to set aside time to re-evaluate what you are looking for in an employer, how much it is affecting your personal life, and how much longer you can maintain your happiness in your current the position.  While no office will be perfect all the time and speaking up about the problem may lead to a solution, once you have exhausted all attempts, or are experiencing emotional manipulation, fear-based tactics or a general growing dread of going into work, remember that you’re not stuck; your perfect job could be just around the corner.

About This Author

Having lived in two different countries growing up, Belle's understanding of the world and cultures has been greatly influenced by not only her first-hand experiences but also by the vastly different media outlets in each country. From Myspace to Weibo, Vine to Douyin, Belle puts her hands on every social media platform accessible to her and has a passion for everything creative. Belle enjoys writing about public relations and marketing trends. Belle is currently an Account Executive at BLND Public Relations as well as a graduate student studying Strategic Public Relations at the University of Southern California.