Toxic workplaces can be mentally and physically draining. Unfortunately, through a blinding work-grind, it can be challenging to identify if you are in a bad work environment and how it is truly impacting your life. Familiarize yourself with these seven warning signs to avoid a negative workplace:

1) Lack of Sleep

If eight hours of sleep is not consistent in your regular work schedule, you might want to reevaluate your job.

Corrosive work environments can cause sleep deprivation, loss of appetite or overeating, sweaty palms, and a fast heartbeat. A hostile workplace can also damage life outside of the office, including self-confidence levels and even friendships.

Listen to your body. There’s a reason it reacts in a certain way to give you warning signs about addressing a toxic situation. 

2) Narcissistic Leadership

Untouchable and self-centered leaders can flourish in a toxic office. Bosses who are narcissistic demand perfection from others, but lower personal standards. Rules only apply to everyone else, and disagreement isn’t an option in conversation.

3) No Transparency

Do you find yourself constantly wondering how your performance is being measured? Do you find yourself striving towards goals that are continually changing unexpectedly? If so, your workplace might have a lack of transparency.

Transparency thrives in a healthy work environment. Even if you are seeking feedback from leadership, unclear expectations that lack job description details are signs of a toxic workplace.

4) “More Work, Less Talk” Environment

Innovative and creative environments prove positive for company growth. On the opposing end, an unhealthy office encourages a shut-up-and-keep-working mentality. Workers should be on the watch for harsh and disciplinary circumstances that result from personal mistakes or outspoken ideas.

Workplaces that cripple creativity and force work down employees’ throats often result in unhappy employees. Some coworkers choose to bond through the work pains, but in a quiet and non-inclusive manner towards new hires. Gossiping about bosses or other staff members over digital messages is common in such work circumstances, but toxic.

Silent offices can also lead to negative conversations out loud once leadership has left the building. Engaging in such behavior hurts not only your wellbeing but also the company’s future.

5) High Turnover Rate

Companies to avoid include those with a high turnover rate. There is always an underlying reason for an employee to leave a company, whether personal or company associated. In many cases, high turnover rates are a direct sign that the business values profit over employee wellness.

6) Common Sick Days

Calling in sick often when it’s not flu season is a sign that you are overworked. Other symptoms include burnout and fatigue.


If your physical health is suffering, you need to make changes quickly. Stress can have a negative and lasting impact on your body, resulting in surfacing a severe illness.

7) Changing the Rules

Avoid organizations that don’t practice fairness or equality on the work floor. Leadership that doesn’t apply the same rules to everyone strives for control, power, and obedience on command- these are all toxic characteristics to steer clear of.

Nothing in your business is as important as your people, but building and leading a team brings challenges. At StaffScapes, we can help you meet the challenges in HR by helping you provide excellent (and affordable) benefits, manage risk, and by handling workers comp and complete payroll processing.

That lets you increase profitability, maximize productivity, reduce time spent on transactional HR activities, reduce employment-related liability, and ultimately lower labor costs, while boosting morale at work, and improving employee satisfaction and retention.

If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to one of our PEO experts today.