10 Ways to Tell You're Working in a Toxic Environment

October 11, 2016 Abby Oberholtzer

If there’s one thing that all professionals learn throughout their career, it’s that there is no such thing as a perfect organization.  Just as every person has their flaws, so does every business.  But there’s a definite difference between a less-than-perfect company culture and a flat-out toxic work environment. Worried that your current work environment is negatively affecting your productivity, health or overall mojo?  Check all that apply below to see if you or someone you know is up to their eyeballs in bad juju from work.Toxic_Workplace.jpg

1) Terrible Communication: Just like in a family, poor communication can be an early sign of dysfunction. If you feel like you’re purposely left out of discussions that directly affect you, or if you find out about important decisions after they have already been implemented, you may be experiencing the initial symptoms of a toxic work environment.  

2) Health Issues:  It’s Sunday night: Is your stomach churning at the thought of you going to work in the morning? Have your friends noticed you being anxious and discouraged? The environment in which you are immersed every day can affect your mood and overall health.

3) Decreased Job Satisfaction: If you were to step back in time and see yourself at work a few years ago, what has changed? Were you once passionate about your role? Did you feel valued and recognized? If you’re no longer feeling the warm fuzzies at work, this may be in part due to your work environment.

4) Secrets and Gossip: If the sound of your colleagues whispering to one another is as common as the sound of birds chirping outside your window, chances are inter-office drama isn’t too far behind.

5) Increased Turnover Rate: Are members of your team leaving in droves?  A terrible retention rate is one of the top indicators that something stinks within your company’s culture.

6) Drama Drama Drama: If cliques are forming within your team and rumors are spreading faster than you can say, “high school,” you may soon find yourself in a real life version of Mean Girls. 

7) VERY Unhappy Team Members: Is passion and gusto on your team so rare, you feel as though those characteristics went out of style along with bubble shirts and bell bottom jeans?  When bad attitudes run rampant, the stage is being set for a miserable work environment.

8) Decreased Self-Esteem: If you and many others in your department find yourselves doubting your abilities and success as a team, you might be under the direction of a toxic leader who is killing the team vibe.

9) No Clear Direction: Very similar to symptom number one, no clear direction for your team can lead to confusion and poor performance.  When “Wait, what’s going on?” is a common phrase among your team, it’s time to assess your overall strategy and communication patterns.

10) Constant Criticism: Rounds of revision are to be expected with any project, but if seemingly senseless (and endless) changes are being demanded, don’t be surprised when team morale, overall confidence and job satisfaction goes down the tubes.

Do any of these symptoms ring a bell? Consider doing a self-assessment to see how you can breathe some fresh air into your company culture and lift spirits in your office!

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Abby joined the Baudville team in 2016 and loves contributing to the blog, creating new email campaigns and of course patting her amazing teammates on the back for a job well done! 

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