Office politics can drastically impact your day-to-day life. Unhealthy power dynamics and anti-social behaviours can make your office a toxic environment to work within. A toxic workplace can impact our mental health, productivity, and job satisfaction.

During the pandemic, millions of UK workers left their offices to begin working from home. Some worked throughout 2020, while others were put onto the furlough scheme indefinitely.

The pandemic changed working practices across the globe and introduced a new era of remote working. Offices are beginning to reopen in the UK, and many businesses now offer a flexible work approach where employees can choose between remote and office work to get the best of both worlds.

However, many are concerned about the impact remote working practices will have on our careers. The office has numerous benefits, such as building professional relationships, getting in-person training, and navigating the industry. But office culture can also be incredibly toxic if it is not regulated and managed properly.

The prevalence of toxic workplaces

Printing specialists instantprint surveyed 1,000 UK office workers to explore what behaviours result in a toxic office culture. Almost 70% claimed they have worked in a toxic workplace at some point in their career, and over half said such an environment is enough to make them switch jobs.

Company culture can have a huge impact on staff turnover, employee satisfaction and team relationships. The survey suggested that, on average, women are more likely to notice toxic behaviours in the workplace than men.

What are the causes?

There are a few red flags you should watch out for in your current and future workplaces.

The instantprint survey found that 46% of respondents agreed that bullying is the most toxic workplace trait. Bullying was closely followed by passive-aggressive communication, cliques and blatant favouritism. Gossiping, rumours and poor communication were also listed as signs of lacklustre company culture.

Work-life balance tends to play into company culture as well. If employees have a poor work-life balance, they can become resentful and unsatisfied at work. Out-of-hours communication and working overtime can lead to increased stress, limited rest and an unhealthy relationship with work.

The marketing, PR and advertising industry was ranked as the most toxic industry, followed by environment, agriculture, and healthcare.

How can you change it?

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can improve your company culture as an employer. It all starts with the recruitment process. You should aim to hire candidates that align with your business values and fit in with the rest of the team. You can train them in specific skills and get them the required experience once they start.

Try to have monthly catch-ups with each team member to see how they are finding work. They may want to progress in a different direction or have an opinion on an issue within the wider team. Your employees can offer a fantastic insight into the company as a whole.

You need to make sure your team feels motivated and valued. Provide ample training opportunities to empower your team and help them to progress in their careers. You could host weekly workshops on sleep, communication and resilience.

It’s important to develop a company culture that you would want to work within.