Even the most harmonious of workplaces have bad days, or even weeks if things are strained. However, some workplaces are just toxic, even for remote workers.

So what are the signs that your workplace might not be healthy?


  • Sick Day, Again


Do you wake up to a message from a different colleague each morning reporting in sick? While it could be a case of the seasonal flu knocking people down, if it seems to be a regular occurrence that team members call in sick, perhaps it is stress.

We all need time to balance life and work, and if people are unhappy, sometimes they become ill or feel emotionally exhausted and want to avoid the stress of a toxic workplace.


  • Cone of Silence


Is your office a cold and quiet environment where people fear dropping a pencil least they awaken a beast? While some people need a quiet place to work, a crypt-like atmosphere is not inviting and when colleagues feel that they are unable to discuss matters for fear of disturbing others, it creates problems such as compartmentalization, forming of assumptions and isolation.

If you need a quiet space for your team, give them offices and create a space where communication is encouraged. People are more productive when they are confident and happy in their environment. Fear stagnates creativity.


  • Backstabber


Do you have an office gossip, a group that spreads rumours or a bully that puts others down? This type of behaviour, which isn’t acceptable in the school-yard much less in a professional environment, can destroy the morale of your team and see your most valuable staff walk away.


  • Turnover


If you have a parade of flexible staff that walk through your office like its a turn-style door, you are not going to inspire the confidence of your team. People want their job to add value to their lives. If what you are offering is uninspiring or limits people’s growth potential, then staff are not likely to want to stay with you and your team will always lack knowledge and skills.


  • Bad Mood


Are you or your team dragging your heels into the office. Sitting slumped with a tired hand propping up your head while you try not to see the hands of the clock somehow tick backwards? Does everyone seem just generally pissed off? The fish rots from the head. Sometimes it takes a leader to shift a mood. However, if this seems to be a daily routine of disappointment, perhaps you need to address points 1 – 4 to determine if your workplace is toxic and if the bad mood is just a product of poor leadership and soulless work.

The good news is, it can be changed. All it takes is a real commitment to talking to staff, enacting changes that matter to people and actively engaging. While you might not be able to offer pay rises and career opportunities, perhaps you can offer cross-training opportunities or volunteer programs that get people involved with the community.