5 Signs Of A Toxic Workplace

The last fifteen months have taken a lot, but having our social lives grind to a halt has also enabled us to reassess our work environments. At the moment, we have a unique opportunity to stop and consider what’s helpful to us and what’s not. But how do you tell the difference between being fed up and red flags? Here are 5 signs that your workplace may not be working for you.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

1. Not liking your colleagues
It’s a rule of life that you’re not going to get along with everybody perfectly all of the time. But, while it’s normal to have some people who you warm to more than others, not liking any of your colleagues is a big warning sign of a toxic work environment. Feeling valued and respected at work is important not just for your mental health but also for your productivity. If you don’t feel supported by everyone around you, how can you be expected to perform at your best?

2. Feeling nervous about approaching higher-ups
Do you ever put off bringing up something to your boss for fear of what they’re going to say? Is your supervisor known for flying off the handle over the smallest issue? If you feel apprehensive about approaching your boss, this is a key sign of a toxic work environment. Good management is essential to a supportive and successful workplace. This doesn’t necessarily mean liking your boss (see number 1), but it does mean feeling like you have a relationship of mutual respect and trust. If you feel intimidated or uncomfortable around your boss, it’s worth looking into whether you can change supervisor or (in extreme cases) decide whether you want to continue working there. 

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

3. Feeling like you can’t switch off
For many people, the boundaries between work and home were blurred even before last year’s lockdowns. Many complained about feeling the compulsion to answer emails out of hours, or to do overtime when they were supposed to be enjoying downtime. Working from home only made this worse for lots of people, but it is a problem that can be solved. If you’re feeling overworked (and if number 2 isn’t a problem for you!), it’s a good idea to speak to your manager to see if you can lighten your workload or if they can help you find a way to manage it more effectively. At the very least, having the conversation will hopefully ease the emotional burden. 

4. Dreading going to work
No one enjoys their job all the time. Riding the ups and downs of modern employment can be stressful for anyone. However, if you feel like the bad is outweighing the good, it might be time to reassess whether your job is right for you. And, in more extreme cases:

5. Wishing that you worked somewhere else
Perhaps the biggest red flag of a toxic workplace is wishing that you didn’t work there. While we all occasionally have days where we feel like throwing in the towel, if they’re happening often it might be time to consider your options. This is particularly true if you can see yourself doing similar work elsewhere, as it suggests that it’s not necessarily the job itself that’s the problem. So, if you find yourself regularly fantasising about leaving your job, it might be a sign to do just that. 

A good workplace makes happy employees. If you feel like yours isn’t 100% working for you, then now’s as good a time as ever to consider your options. After all, who wants to spend their working hours in a job they hate? 

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