Most people spend the majority of their days at work – so it isn’t surprising to hear that working in a negative, toxic environment can start to have serious impacts on our mental and physical health.  For example, eczema, insomnia, high blood pressure and anxiety have all been directly linked to working in a toxic environment.

If you hear yourself saying things like:

“Everyone here is so negative”

“My job is the worst – I hate wasting my time here”

“I can’t wait until the end of the day”

Odds are, you’re dealing with a toxic work environment.

Generally, a toxic work environment is one that is characterized by lots of fighting, drama, chronic high stress and low employee morale.  If you think you may be working in a toxic environment – take a look at this checklist and see how many of these you can identify in your workplace.

Unrealistic Expectations: We all have busy times, where we know things will get hectic, but if you feel as though you are constantly under the gun to do the impossible, that is a clear indicator that you are dealing with a toxic work environment.

Cliques and Bullies: While we like to imagine that cliques and bullies don’t exist outside of high school, the reality is they are an unfortunate part of working with other people.  However, if this does happen in the work place – a good manager will quickly intervene before their negativity can spread.  In a toxic work environment, however, these people and their negativity are not reigned in, leaving the rest of the staff to feel self-conscious and uncomfortable during their time at work.

Employees are Undervalued: This can refer to monetary compensation, but it can also refer to the fact that some employers disempower their employees – that is, they make their employees feel like they should be grateful for the opportunity to work there.  And while this may true in some cases – a toxic work environment makes employees feel as though they can’t even ask for recognition or raises for a job well done.

Favouratism: When policies are being implemented unfairly – for example, certain staff members getting more leniency than others, this is a solid indicator of a toxic environment. Favouratism  can cause serious resentment and negativity in the rest of the staff – which adds to the overall toxicity of the workplace.

Everyone is in a Bad Mood: If everyone seems to feel undervalued, overworked, angry, tense, terrified of making mistakes, worried about repercussions from senior level managers or just generally pissed off all day long – you can bet you’re dealing with a toxic work environment.

The good news is that a toxic work environment doesn’t have to be permanent, and the damage to your mental and physical health doesn’t have to be permanent either.  If you currently are, or have previously worked in a toxic environment, and need to talk to someone, please call me for a free phone consultation.

Professional Seal for Lindsay Simmons
Lindsay Simmons, MSW, RSW
Therapist in Oakville, ON