Workplace toxicity: 5 ways it affects you

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Workplace toxicity

A toxic workplace (a negative work environment) will bring out the worst in you and suck the life out of you, if you let it. Most of us have been there at some point in our lives. It’s not healthy, and it’s definitely not good for you if it’s affecting you emotionally and mentally. And despite what some might think, you always have a choice.

If you’re not happy at work, it’s important to analyse the reasons behind that and do something about it. Is it because of a negative work environment?

Let’s take a look at 5 common ways workplace toxicity can affect you.

1. Energy

It’s human nature to complain, but too much of it can create negative energy in a workplace. Even worse, negative energy spreads easily and quickly. Do you find your colleagues complaining a lot but not doing anything constructive to solve the problem? Do you join in just to fit in?

When a problem arises, is there immediate finger-pointing and blame-shifting happening? While it’s not uncommon in big organisations, it’s a culture that breeds toxic work environments. Besides being counter-productive, it doesn’t promote team-spirit or accountability, both of which are important values of an empowered workforce.

When one is constantly exposed to negative energy, it’s hard not to be affected. If you find yourself feeling pessimistic and critical of your job and the people you work with, there’s a good chance you’re not in a conducive environment.

2. Team Spirit

Do your colleagues work together to achieve a common goal, or do they seem to have individual agendas? Is backstabbing a common occurrence in your workplace? If yes, you probably don’t have a high level of trust in your colleagues and superiors.

A lack of team spirit is just as bad for the company as it is for its employees. We learn and grow much better as a community than we do in isolation.

3. Management

Does your boss trust your judgement and encourage you to work independently, or do you find him/her breathing down your neck every step of the way? If it’s the latter, we feel for you.

Working in a controlling environment increases one’s self-doubt and erodes confidence over time. Being micromanaged is never a good thing if you value personal and professional growth.

4. Camaraderie

As human beings, most of us need to connect with like-minded people. It’s why social media is such a big part of our lives. We enjoy meaningful social interactions. Do you share good chemistry with your peers and superiors?

We spend on average, a minimum of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, at work. Bonding with our colleagues improves our productivity and keeps us motivated. If you have problems getting along with your co-workers, it’s highly likely you’re not having a great time in the office.

5. Respect

Respect is one of the key attributes of a healthy working environment. Leadership that fails to inspire respect will inevitably fail to retain talent. Similarly, a lack of respect between co-workers will likely breed conflict and animosity. All of which contribute to a toxic workplace. 

Do you respect the people you work with, and vice versa? If not, it’s probably not a comfortable working environment to be in.


You won’t be able to find a perfect office where everyone is in perfect agreement – diversity is an important attribute of a progressive company after all. That said, minimising the drama and negativity should be a focus of the company culture.

If you’ve raised your concerns but haven’t seen any noticeable improvements, and it’s affecting your mental and emotional well-being, perhaps it’s time to move on. There’s no point staying in a place that’s adding unnecessary stress to your life. Life is challenging enough as is. 


Further reading: 

Avoiding the Wrong Career Path

How to negotiate a pay rise

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