What are the Biggest Red Flags of a Toxic Workplace?

By  //  October 19, 2021

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If you’ve worked in multiple sectors, it’s highly likely that you’ll have experienced an unpleasant atmosphere at least once during your career.

Whether it was a sexist manager or a group of colleagues who went a bit too far with their banter, these behaviors should never be acceptable and can often indicate that your workplace is toxic.

Poster specialists instantprint have released the results from their survey on toxicity in the workplace. Their key findings lay out the red flags to look out for, helping you recognize whether you deserve a healthier working environment.

Bullying: the main offender

The survey covered 1,000 UK office employees and 46% of respondents agreed that bullying is the most toxic trait in any workplace.

This should highlight not only the prevalence of bullying but the lasting and memorable effect it has on victims. Research conducted by Bupa found that the well-being of 26% of people has been negatively impacted by workplace bullying.  

The need is greater than ever for employers and employees to be able to recognize signs of bullying. These include ignoring views and opinions, setting impossible deadlines, humiliating staff members in front of others, and many more deliberately unfair actions.

Petty behavior

Surprisingly, the red flags that closely follow bullying include passive-aggressive communications (45.5%) and the formation of cliques among colleagues (37.3%).

As exclusive cliques start to form, individuals feel left out and could start to lack confidence. Clique culture could be damaging to the mental health of employees, so the attitude, language and behavior of leaders should set the tone and not promote exclusivity.

Just over 35% of survey respondents believed that favoritism shown by the boss was the most toxic trait in their workplace, with gossip and rumors being reported by a similar number.

A lack of clarity or otherwise poor communication concerning projects, goals, and outcomes was determined by 32.1% of survey participants to be the worst sign of a toxic company culture.

Both figures demonstrate the need for approachable, reliable, and inclusive management. 

The verdict

The bottom line is that bullying is the biggest red flag within any working environment. If you want to make your commitment to a positive working environment and an anti-bullying policy clear, why not use posters around your office or premises? 

The real difference will come from recognizing behaviors before they become bigger issues and confronting the bullies at an early stage, but visual reminders may encourage victims to speak out.