A toxic workplace is one that makes you feel undervalued, unappreciated, and uncomfortable. It may take subtle forms such as an air of hostility or setting people up for failure, or it may be more obvious with a great deal of screaming or bullying. Whatever the case, a toxic workplace is bad news because it can make you unproductive and unhappy. There are a number of reasons your workplace may be making you unproductive, including:

Zero recognition

Let’s face it, people like to be appreciated and that includes at their places of work. After all, you spend most of your days with your colleagues. If you feel like you don’t matter much to the organisation, there is a good chance you’ll do the minimum and go home at the close of business. It is even worse if your boss or HR gives the impression that you are lucky to have a job in the first place.

Non-existent work-life balance

You may have heard that it is not possible to attain a perfect work-life balance. That may be true, but having some semblance of balance is better than none at all. No matter how dedicated you may be to your job, an unhealthy work-life balance can get to you and affect your productivity. What’s the point in working yourself to death or sacrificing your social/family life for work if you’ll be unhappy in the end? While your employer has a role to play here, you can help yourself by reading books and learning from other sources how to balance your work and private life.

No opportunities for growth

If you don’t feel like there are opportunities for growth within your organisation or don’t feel challenged, you can get complacent. Getting complacent goes hand in hand with decreased productivity and lack of motivation. It’s even worse when your boss doesn’t seem to be interested in your growth or fails to notice your challenges.


If you have never been one to care for cliques, you may get irritated or angry when it feels like some of your co-workers are talking to everyone but you. This can be horribly distracting and no matter how much you try to ignore it, you might not be able to stop thinking about it even when you are home.

Unclear goals

You are not a machine that simply produces results when given instructions. You are a living, breathing human who needs to have some sense of direction and that extends to work. It could kill your zeal to work if your organisation’s goals are not clearly defined or you don’t get to be a part of the goal-setting process.

Tyrannical boss

If your boss is a tyrant, they may want to control everything you want to do, refuse to listen to you, or pounce on you for every mistake you make. Having this type of boss can kill your motivation to work.

Do any of these situations feel familiar?

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