6 Signs That You’re In A Toxic Work Environment

Last updated by Rosie Harlow

If you’re here, it’s probably because you already perceive your work environment as being toxic. The first sign may even be yourself. Anxiety is often one of the first noticeable signs of unhappiness at work. But there are several other signs that are characteristic of a harmful work environment.

6 Signs That You’re In A Toxic Work Environment

What’s a toxic work environment?

Sometimes the signs are pretty clear. There’s the aggression, the barked orders, the arguing, the crying at work, or even the resigning or getting sacked overnight 😟. This is clearly a toxic working environment. However, sometimes things are more underhand and can lead us to doubt. I don’t feel good in this working atmosphere, but isn’t that down to me? Is it that I don’t fit in at work and that it’s taking its toll on my morale? But recognizing a harmful work atmosphere in time can sometimes help us to leave it before it makes us suffer and affects our mental health.

👉 In general, we talk about a toxic work environment when we feel uncomfortable because we’re not supported, not heard, not listened to, or even reduced to silence. This situation of unease at work very often generates stress, nervousness, sadness and can even lead to burnout or depression.

6 signs that your work environment is toxic

How can you recognize a harmful and dysfunctional professional setting? These signs should alert you and prompt you to take action, either by leaving this job or by protecting yourself from its toxicity. All the while knowing that the best thing for your mental health is to leave a job that makes you suffer.

1. Poor communication

It’s simple, everything’s confusing! You barely understand your tasks. You receive emails or chats that you don’t understand and nobody explains them to you in person, because nobody’s available to talk in person or because everyone’s in the same state of incomprehension as you! Sometimes you’re not in the email loop at all, or you receive information too late, or it’s wrong or incomplete. If on top of that, the exchanges are tense or even confrontational, that’s a real red flag 🚩. In short, poor communication within a company is the first indication of harmful malfunctioning.

>>> Read; Why are milennials so unhappy at work?

2. An authoritarian system

It goes without saying that a toxic manager often goes hand in hand with a toxic work atmosphere. A manager whose mood you never know will affect your day, who has no compassion and who’s only interested in results despite the mental state of their team, is already quite an alarm bell 🚨. If you add to that a tendency towards authority and a demand for obedience, or worse still, injustice and humiliation, and you’re probably in a more than toxic work environment from which you need to protect yourself as a matter of urgency.

3. No progression

Your future in this company? Stagnation. You’ve been promised career development or training, but nothing ever comes your way? Every attempt you make to progress within the company is ignored or rejected? It doesn’t look good!

4. A bad atmosphere

What about the general atmosphere? Does everyone around you seem as unenthusiastic as you? Do you get the feeling that you’re only there because you have to? Operating in a toxic environment often tends to rub off on the atmosphere, which of course also becomes negative. As a result, people barely say hello to each other, nobody’s seen a colleague smile in years and there’s dead silence in the office. It’s so appealing 😒!

5. High turnover

The more weeks and months go by, the fewer colleagues you have. Between those who resign, those who are dismissed, and those on sick leave, high staff turnover is a sign of unease within the company.

6. No right to disconnect

It’s simple: in the evenings, at night, on the weekend, you’re contacted whenever at any time of the day, always with the same sense of urgency. You’re no longer allowed to draw the line between your professional life and your personal life. This is real blurring, and it’s having an impact on your life. So this is a major red flag. On the other hand, beware: the right to disconnect is enshrined in law and can be construed as psychological harassment.

Changing jobs is never an easy decision to make. However, if your working environment is having repercussions on your mental health, you may need to think seriously about it. But you should know that you don’t have to do it on your own. Psychologists or even professional coaches can help you to get better, find a new career, find your ikigai, or anything else that will help you to flourish in your career.

Editor’s note: Time to take stock

It’s not always easy to see things clearly, so you tell yourself that this unhappiness is temporary, and you hang on because you have to eat and pay the bills. It’s possible that the situation can evolve and resolve itself, but how long can you put up with working in a toxic environment? If you’ve recognized the different signs mentioned in this article, it would be a good idea to take some time to reflect and take stock of your expectations and how you feel. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our psychologists.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Rosie Harlow

Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. For as long as I can remember, I have always used paper as a punching bag. Get to know me, I am Rosie Harlow.

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Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


  1. Only LoveBen Howard
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
  4. Beautiful DayU2
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde

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