The Five Types of Toxic Workplaces (And How to Avoid Them)

A toxic workplace is one that is hostile and unwelcoming to new ideas.

Janice Eastman


The Five Types of Toxic Workplaces (And How to Avoid Them). Two people look at a laptop.
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

For most of us, the workplace can be a major source of stress or even unhappiness.

You spend far more time at work than you do anywhere else. And being around harmful or toxic people can make your life feel even more out of control.

Whether it’s your boss yelling at you all the time. Or your coworkers sitting around and gossiping. Toxic workplaces are something we would all like to avoid.

We talk a lot about happiness in the workplace. And that’s because it’s based on the theory that happy employees do better work — for themselves and their employers. But what defines a “happy” workplace?

Of course, personal happiness is subjective. But there is an objective way to measure office happiness: workplace culture.

Workplace culture is the set of formal and informal systems, values and behaviours. Shared by a group of people who interact with one another and with the organization to produce a product or service.

It really comes down to these five factors:

  1. Purpose — the reason for the organization’s existence
  2. Importance — the value people place on the work they do
  3. Belonging — the feeling of acceptance
  4. Autonomy — Self-government
  5. Control — the ability to influence the work and the work environment

Beyond these five factors, workplace culture is about the culture of a work team.

It can be good to have a good leader who helps create a positive workplace culture. Still, it can just as quickly be disastrous to have a toxic leader who encourages destructive workplace cultures.

Additionally, toxic coworkers, favoritism, an abusive boss, and inactive work culture are all examples of workplace culture that can negatively impact your happiness.


If your manager is a micromanager, you’ll never feel free enough to take any significant risks.



Janice Eastman

From reading my writing, I hope you will begin to break down self-imposed barriers and find your authentic self in the extraordinary story of life.