How To Notice When You’re In A Toxic Work Environment

You spend most hours of your week at work. It’s important to have a healthy, reinforcing, and supportive work environment that promotes well-being and personal development. Unfortunately, not all workplaces are like that. Toxic workplaces negatively impact your mental health, job satisfaction and overall well-being.

Here are some red flags to look out for:

1. Lack of communication and transparency:

Communication and transparency are crucial for creating a healthy work environment. In a toxic environment, employees are excluded from decision-making processes and information is either vague and confusing or it’s withheld altogether. If you constantly find yourself confused, misinformed, or unable to express your concerns freely and openly, it may be a sign that your workplace is toxic.

2. High levels of stress and burnout:

Stress in the workplace is natural but, excessive and chronic stress can be detrimental to your overall well-being. Toxic work environments tend to create a culture of high pressure, unrealistic expectations, and constant criticism. If you are constantly overwhelmed, anxious, or experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or insomnia due to work-related stress, that is a red flag.

3. Limited growth opportunities:

In toxic workplaces, employees often find their career growth and personal development being neglected. There is no recognition and limited or no opportunities for skill development. If you feel like your career is stagnant, and you often feel unfulfilled and undervalued, it is an indication that your work environment is toxic.

4. Negative and demeaning behaviour:

Toxic work environments often have a culture of negative behaviours such as bullying, micromanagement, favouritism, or passive-aggressive communication. Such behaviours create a hostile atmosphere and lead to decreased job satisfaction and increased colleague conflict. If you constantly experience such behaviour, you are in a toxic work environment.

5. Negative and unsupportive leadership:

Poor leadership often causes toxicity in the workplace. Poor leadership can look like micromanagement, lack of support and constant criticism. If you constantly feel unsupported by your leader or manager, and you feel the only communication they pass on is criticism, that is another red flag.

If you’ve realized that your workplace has these red flags and you feel it might be toxic, setting boundaries might help. Establish clear boundaries to protect your mental health. This may involve limiting overtime, disconnecting from work-related communication outside working hours, and saying no to tasks that are beyond your capacity. It may also be helpful to seek out a support network of trusted colleagues to make things a bit less hostile for you.

Recognizing that you are in a toxic environment is the first step to finding a solution. Remember, your mental health and well-being should take priority, and no job is worth sacrificing your happiness. Sometimes, it is important to assess if the environment you are in is sustainable or if it is time for a change.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).