Toxic Workplace Culture: 5 Signs, Examples And How To Fix Them


Did you love your job yesterday and loathe it today? Did a healthy work environment become toxic overnight, or did a once-healthy culture devolve into toxicity over time? Suppose you feel like you’re in a place with toxic workplace culture, with colleagues who constantly tear you down, backstab you, or generally make your life miserable.

In that case, unfortunately, that’s probably a toxic workplace. even if your company is small and has only a few employees, or you work from home on your own. If the people around you make the experience unbearable and unhelpful, there’s potential for toxicity. A toxic work culture leads to “illnesses” at work, such as teams that don’t work well together, more absences and lateness, lower productivity, and a high turnover rate.

This article will tell you what toxic culture in the workplace looks like so that you can avoid it in the future. It’ll also give “toxic workplace culture examples” and explain how to fix them.

Toxic Workplace Culture
Toxic Workplace Culture: 5 Signs, Examples And How To Fix Them

What Is Toxic Workplace Culture?

A toxic workplace is one with a strong negative culture, where employees feel a harmful level of stress, dread coming to work, and often face hostility. It’s an environment that’s unhealthy, unproductive, and/or unsafe. A toxic workplace can be either physical or remote.

Physical workplaces are those where employees are crammed into tight spaces, suffer from poor ventilation and uncomfortable temperatures, and they often call it a hate workplace. Remote workplaces are those where employees feel unsupported and neglected because of the lack of interpersonal communication. In either situation, employees feel overworked, under appreciated, and constantly criticized by supervisors. A toxic work culture can spread from the top down in an organization.

A toxic work environment is created when only negative traits are rewarded, and favorable characteristics aren’t nurtured. A toxic work environment is created when employees are expected to work long hours and be “always on” thanks to digital devices. When toxic employees are protected by management and not held accountable for their actions, a bad work environment is created.

What Causes A Toxic Work Environment?

There are many work environment types, but the negative or toxic one compels the employee to think about “how to resign from a toxic job.” What is negative work culture? What makes a work environment toxic? There are many things, and I’m going to mention them here.

  • No outlined and articulated core values
  • Core values are just superficial
  • Leadership is poor
  • Culture is overall corrupt
  • Poor team management
  • Some employees are after power and promotions
  • Bully environment
  • Nobody pays value to core values
  • No one wants to accept positive changes
  • Irregular feedback by managers and bosses
  • Hatred, grudges, and ego among colleagues
What Causes A Toxic Work Environment
Toxic Workplace Culture: 5 Signs, Examples And How To Fix Them

Signs Of Toxic Workplace Culture

The best way to tell if your company is experiencing a toxic work culture is to look at the signs. Here are a few to watch, so let’s check these signs of toxic work culture.

  • People are constantly worried about their job security. If your work is evaluated continuously and expected to deliver results with no room for error – or if your management is always threatening layoffs or other job-related catastrophes – that’s not a healthy environment.
  • Employees aren’t rewarded for positive contributions. If your leadership only focuses on the negative aspects of your work but never mentions the positive, or if you feel like you’ve contributed more than you’ve been rewarded for, that’s a bad sign. It shows bad organizational culture.
  • You regularly experience bad decision-making. Wrong decisions can come from the top down and infect a company. If you notice bad decision-making that consistently affects the bottom line, that’s toxic.
  • You aren’t respected by your boss or peers. If you notice that you’re treated as a “scapegoat” when things go wrong, and your boss or colleagues have a “what-can-we-find-to-criticize-about-him” attitude, you might be experiencing a toxic work culture.
  • You frequently experience microaggression. Micro-aggression is subtle discrimination that’s usually left unspoken. If you’re treated differently than your peers, given the worst tasks, or constantly given the “silent treatment,” that’s a sign of toxicity.

Examples Of A Toxic Workplace Culture

A toxic work culture can vary in severity. Some companies have a single poisonous employee who infects the rest of the team; others have a moderate level of toxicity, and others are extremely toxic people at work. Here are a few examples of toxic work cultures.

  • An employee who dominates meetings with constant negativity and pessimism is like poison and spreads that toxicity to everyone around him.
  • A manager who constantly blames his employees for his own failures or who is quick to criticize but slow to praise is infecting his team with a toxic work culture.
  • A company that treats its employees as if they’re disposable is toxic. If employees are expected to work long hours with no overtime pay, are frequently expected to “drive the company truck,” or are treated as if they’re replaceable, that’s a toxic work culture.
  • A company that doesn’t respect or value diversity is toxic. If an employee who is part of a minority group is treated differently than other employees and/or is made to feel unwelcome, that’s a sign of a toxic work culture.

How Does a Toxic Workplace Affect Mental Health?

A toxic work environment causes your brain to produce large amounts of cortisol (commonly known as the stress hormone), testosterone, and norepinephrine, resulting in a constant fight or flight response. This fight or flight response raises stress levels, which can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health.

According to experts, internal and external workplace issues can contribute to employees feeling socially excluded by their coworkers. This has an impact on the employee’s psychological well-being, leads to high levels of job dissatisfaction, contributes to depression, increases stress and anxiety, and lowers job productivity. Rumination, insomnia, physical pain and discomfort, a change in appetite (eating too much or too little), a sense of dread, feeling drained or weary, memory issues, intolerance, and agitation are all adverse effects of a toxic work environment. A toxic work environment is a major contributor to mental and physical health problems.

Toxic Workplace Affect Mental Health
Toxic Workplace Culture: 5 Signs, Examples And How To Fix Them

How To Fix A Toxic Workplace Culture?

If your company is experiencing a toxic work culture, there are a few ways to fix the situation. Here are a few tips/solutions on how to fix a toxic work environment.

  • Recognize that it exists. The first step towards correcting a problem is acknowledging that a problem exists. If you feel like you’re in a toxic work culture, acknowledge that.
  • Then the question is how to survive a toxic workplace. Open up a dialogue. If you feel like your company has become toxic, open up a discussion with your colleagues and try to find the source of the problem. This is the way you can deal with leadership and a toxic work environment.
  • Don’t try to solve the problem alone or by leaving a toxic job. If you notice that a colleague is creating a negative work environment or isn’t capable of being a good manager, involve HR or your manager and let them know what’s happening.
  • What is the best way how to thrive in a toxic work environment? Get outside help if necessary. If you think or feel like you can’t do anything about the toxicity yourself, get outside help.
  • Don’t try to think about how to leave a toxic work environment; instead, try to solve it as much as possible.
  • Stay positive. While working to correct the problem, don’t let it drag you down. Stay positive and focused on your goals.
  • Don’t let a toxic work culture discourage you from pursuing your career. There are plenty of healthy work environments out there.

Then how to deal with a toxic work environment is answered here. 


How to improve a toxic work environment?

Suppose you are thinking about how to change a negative work culture. In that case, you can change or improve it by giving values to the company’s core values and practicing them and trying to bring healthy conversation, lessening the toxicity, and starting appreciating your employees. Don’t burden the employees; offer a healthy and positive environment.

How to protect yourself in a toxic work environment?

Instead of thinking about how to resign from a toxic workplace, it’s better to make efforts to bring positivity around you by building a trusted co-workers network. Paying attention to core values, trying to be nice and happy, focusing on the goals, and at the same time, finding a better place because nothing is permanent.

How to quit a toxic job?

Don’t blame yourself; you are not at fault, but the company or organization is. Find another best option, be gentle with yourself and everyone, resign from the post, and leave the company with grace.


In short, a toxic work environment is an unhealthy work environment where employees don’t feel respected, appreciated, or safe. Toxic work environment examples and effects show that they ruin the employees’ life, mental state, and productivity level.

A toxic work culture can be recognized by employees being overly worried about job security, feeling like they aren’t rewarded for positive contributions, and feeling treated differently than other employees. A toxic work culture can be corrected by recognizing it, opening up a dialogue, getting outside help if necessary, and staying positive.