Unhealthy workplaces and what to avoid

Many of us have experienced a toxic workplace – they can be incredibly draining and make you dread the thought of Monday morning rolling around. 

A toxic work environment can include anything from passive-aggressive colleagues, inappropriate comments and behaviour to inflicting damage on your self-esteem.

This article will discuss the common factors found in unhealthy workplaces and specifically what you should avoid.


Professional booklet printers, instantprint, surveyed 1,000 UK employees to find out what they considered to be signs of a toxic workplace:

  • 46% said workplace bullying
  • 45.5% said passive aggressiveness
  • 37.3% said cliques
  • 37.3% said favouritism
  • 35% said gossip and rumours
  • 17.2% said being told that you’re lucky to even have a job
  • 16.7% said not having any room to grow

Toxic industries

After diving deeper into what type of industries uphold the most toxic work environments, instantprint’s survey found that the Marketing, Business and PR industry was the worst. With 87.5% of people experiencing toxicity in this industry, the printing experts recommend staying away.

Within the Marketing industry, more people appear to be invested in their own success rather than working with a team to grow and celebrate achievements together. This results in a negative working environment.

Competing against other team members can be unhealthy, presenting a lack of willingness to assist others with their career. It can be common to oversee colleagues becoming obsessed with their own own personal success, rather than doing what’s best for the company.

Other industries that appeared to have an unhealthy work environment included Environment and Agriculture, and Charity and Voluntary work. 


The hospitality industry has been known to have its toxic habits, reported by former staff members and overseen by customers. Many restaurant workers often feel underappreciated and not valued, resulting in high staff turnover being a common theme within the industry.

Having to deal with horrible customers whilst receiving little to no support from senior management can take its toll on employees, who may be made to feel silly and helpless. 

Staff may also be heavily blamed when something goes wrong in the kitchen or during service, often receiving verbal abuse from leaders and being shouted at in front of customers to feel humiliated. They can receive harsh critique when things go bad, yet no praise when it goes smoothly.


The healthcare industry involves employees working within high-pressure situations and should ultimately have little to no distractions. Toxic behaviour within a hospital setting can be dangerous and have serious consequences.

There are various headlines regarding workplace conflict within the NHS, highlighting their toxic culture. With reported bullying and aggressive behaviour, conflicts are making life stressful and having an impact on patients, ultimately putting people’s lives at risk. Although this is likely to be extreme cases in just a few practices, it’s best to get a feel for your new place of work in an interview setting to avoid any red flags.


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