10 red flags of a toxic work environment

The work environment is a key element in business performance, since it influences (and a lot) the habits and behaviors adopted by employees. A good work environment fosters motivation, feeds trust, promote teamwork, is a powerful talent attractor and builds loyalty among team members. On the other side, a toxic work environment can seriously harm the results and leave the company without benefits. 

Poor management of the work environment can mean significant economic losses, not only of production costs, since burned-out employees perform less due to stress, but also the consequences of a bad reputation can negatively impact management decisions and purchase from customers, investors or shareholders. 

How do I know if my company has a toxic work environment? 

It’s easy, you just have to look around you and observe the dynamics that are executed daily by your collaborators. 

If some of these behaviors appear within these dynamics, we can be sure that we are in a bad work environment. 

1. Poor leadership.

Studies show that the well-being of employees depends 70% on their relationship with their direct manager. The leadership style is a determining factor in the work environment, and those who choose for a transformational style observe how they are able to transform their collaborators into creative, autonomous, proactive teams with high doses of motivation thanks to the influence of a positive climate work. 

2. Undefined expectations.

One of the things that most confuses employees and triggers stress is not knowing what is expected of them. Without clear and well-defined objectives, it’s normal that chaos lead the workplace. Try to establish specific goals and define the role that each person has within the organization to avoid conflicts related to role ambiguity. 

3. Poor organization of the workload.

In the absence of good planning, collaborators will assume their tasks in the way they consider appropriate, often with difficulties in knowing what is urgent from what is important. That translates into days that get longer working extra hours, lack of sleep and goals that are not met… Everything that is necessary to generate a toxic environment. 

4. Bad relationship with peers

There is no doubt: when an atmosphere is charged with negative vibes, the harmony disappears and gives way to conflicts between colleagues. Unfounded rumors, unfair competition, no cooperation, bad faces and continuous discussions are the hallmark of workplaces where toxicity prevails. 

5. Lack of compromise.

The decrease in well-being at work that toxicity produces makes people who work in these environments want to disassociate themselves from the company, making the lack of commitment very visible. On the contrary, the well-being and care of the people in the organization produce feelings of belonging that increase their commitment and loyalty. 

6. Employees continually miss work.

A bad work environment is the ideal scenario for people to burn out and become stressed, making the appearance of diseases such as Burnout Syndrome, anxiety or depression more likely. In addition, accidents at work also occur more frequently. Therefore, absences due to sick leave are part of the daily life of companies with a toxic work environment. 

7. High turnover rate.

Directly related to the previous point, the physical and mental discomfort caused by working in a toxic work environment makes employees want to leave the company. Thus, those organizations that do not take care of the well-being of their teams or pay attention to these red flags, see how their best-qualified employees leave to find companies with a much more positive environment to work comfortably. 

8. Stagnation and demotivation.

A negative work environment is a source of demotivation: nobody wants to go work to have a bad time. This lack of motivation means that employees do not give their 100%, losing efficiency in their operations and damaging the incomes. The result: more demotivation and a feeling of being stuck in their position, which does not help to improve the situation. 

9. Lack of communication.

Internal communication problems are one of the biggest causes of stress and discomfort in workers. Lack of transparency or mixed messages from managers confuse teams and create an environment where is difficult to work in. As a result, tasks are duplicated, delayed, or skipped, making employees unhappy and, in turn, creating more toxicity. 

10. Employees do not feel valued.

In a positive work environment, employees are treated as people and their work and the time they dedicate to making the company grow are valued. Also, they are listened to, and their opinions and expectations are taken into account. The same does not happen in a toxic work environment, where employees are considered work tools whose sole objective is to carry out production regardless of the circumstances, they have neither voice nor vote, nor are they recognized for a job well done. 

How can I prevent my company from having a negative work environment? 

It is relatively easy to identify a company with a toxic work environment if we pay attention to the 10 red flags that we have just mentioned. The problem is that it is not always possible to realize what is happening and many of these factors still lie deep within the organization, making it difficult to detect. 

For this reason, a tool that allows you to know the state of the most important dimensions that are part of the work environment will help you to know if your company is healthy or, on the contrary, there are areas that need a boost. 

Team Insights is the perfect tool for this. Thanks to their pulse surveys, you will get all the information you need to start improving your organization and make it the best place to work, free of toxicity and with a totally positive environment. Start now, it’s free! 

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