There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ workplace. However, that’s no excuse for maintaining a toxic environment and letting your employees feel like they’re undervalued and don’t belong there. Every manager should, ideally, strive to motivate and support everyone. And while some bosses manage to genuinely inspire their crew, others focus more on creating the illusion of change than actually committing to changing anything.

Mandatory team-building events without any soul behind them, mental health seminars with no real follow-ups, calling your business a ‘family,’ and expecting women to organize and run all social events—this is just the tip of the iceberg of toxic workplace behaviors, according to the redditors on r/AskWomen.

We’ve collected their very best insights to show that, once you take a closer look, even an ‘ideal’ company might still do a lot of things incredibly wrong. While you’re reading everyone’s posts, think about the very worst practices that you’ve seen at work, Pandas. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Got any specific solutions to people’s work problems? Let them know how you’d approach things.

Meanwhile, read on for Bored Panda’s interview about the early warning signs of burnout and mandatory team-building events with workplace expert Lynn Taylor, the author of ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.’ Taylor is also the CEO of Behind the Buckle and a blogger at Psychology Today.

We also got in touch with the founders of the Work Wives podcast, Johanna Kate and Sarah May Alexander, for their thoughts about a phenomenon that affects female employees, known as 'office housework,' and how to change the situation. You'll find the insightful duo's thoughts as you scroll down.

#1

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic The mentality that people who choose to have children are more entitled to taking time off on holidays or in the summer.

I don’t have a child, but I am someone’s child. I don’t have to have children of my own for holidays to be important to me.

OopsWhoopsieDaisy , Josh Willink Report

James016
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If anyone in my team books time off and I want to take the same weeks off, my request will be rejected. As someone with a child, I can only take holidays outside of school terms, so I plan quite far in advance and book the weeks of early. I've never been asked to switch dates nor have I asked anyone to swap

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#2

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic "This is a family"

No it's not..its a business..

mrspicytits , Polina Zimmerman Report

UncleRussian
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yup, and stop being offended when I say I'm here for the money, "family" doesn't pay the bills

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#3

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Coming to work sick

SoCalledPerson , Edward Jenner Report

Beata Santa
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Got Covid at my workplace. TWICE! Stay the F home!!!

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Workplace expert Taylor told Bored Panda about the early warning signs of burnout. Here are a few of the main ones:

  • “You dread going to work. You might be hitting the snooze button multiple times each morning.
  • Your productivity level is decreasing even though you’re working hard. Stress and frustration are impacting your work product.
  • You keep daydreaming and wondering about what it would be like to work somewhere else.
  • You’re feeling the physical effects of burnout, such as fatigue, low energy, or muscle pain.”

Taylor noted that employees should stay mindful of their mental and physical well-being at work.

“It’s easy to get into a rut or downward spiral otherwise. Work should not be involuntary servitude… it should be meaningful and challenging. Employees are at their best when they feel they’re making a contribution—in an atmosphere that is welcoming and supportive.”

#4

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Forced team bonding events.

myciccio , Edmond Dantès Report

Zara the squid 🦑 (she/they)
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, one can’t force friendship in my opinion. When it’s the main goal of the event, it seems really awkward. Correct me if I’m wrong though!

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#5

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Not paying men and women equally.

cyarin_60025 , RF._.studio Report

October
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you are ever tempted to think gender inequality is a thing of the past, remember this fact. Even in my 'female friendly' firstworld country (Netherlands) the average hourly wage for women is 13% less than for men, eventhough the women are better educated than the men.

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#6

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Mandatory social events outside of work.

pinkflower200 , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Meanwhile, the workplace expert shared her thoughts about mandatory team-building events that are more about appearances than real change. “In their zeal to build camaraderie, there is a contingent of managers who go through the motions of team-building events without a solid strategy,” the author of ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant’ said.

“Sometimes, senior leadership feels that it’s the ‘right thing to do’ and may bring in a cookie cutter program, for example—that doesn’t reflect the culture or people in the organization. It’s always best to get input from those you’re trying to motivate before launching a program. When people have a vested interest in the outcome and are part of the solution, you always get a better result,” she explained to Bored Panda.

“Sometimes, motivational programs can seem patronizing if there is a disconnect between the nature of the event, and how management treats its employees. Think about a program that is launched at one of these so-called pep talks and is called, ‘We love our people,’ but a) management has been slow to respond to major employee concerns; b) raises have been nonexistent; or c) there is very little training or support at the company. If not handled correctly, these programs can appear hypocritical, and certainly more detrimental than helpful.”

#7

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Telling employees to keep their salary confidential. LOL I am a HR and I am all for compensation transparency because I know corporate only tell us to hide s**t when when they know it's too fishy to disclose.

xeekayla , Karolina Grabowska Report

Hugo Farr
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In the USA it is a violation of federal law for employers to tell their employees to not discuss their salary.

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#8

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Gatekeeping knowledge or information in order to make others look incompetent

matzah_ball , Christina Morillo Report

Na Schi
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In general? Yes agree without doubt! But... in case your manager for example is an incompetent arshole who stabs you in the back at any minimal chance and shows the team accomplishments off as their own... then I find it more than legetime to exactly let the incompetent, uneducated arsehole with their social intelligence of a potato look like the one he is in front of his bosses 😈

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#9

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Keep having mental health related seminars.

Give us a day off.

0_0moon0_0 , fauxels Report

UncleRussian
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you care about your workers mental health then just pay hire a therapist they can go to

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A potential solution can be to establish volunteer committees “where employees formulate programs that boost morale.” Taylor pointed out that “human resources can be of great value here.”

Being aware of what your team needs is essential. There is no cookie-cutter approach to motivation. “Employers should also be sensitive to the needs of employees. A team-building happy hour may not fly for those who don’t drink or have to pick up their kids from day care. Motivational programs should take into consideration sensitivities to cultural, physical, religious, and dietary differences, too,” the workplace expert said.

“The activities should embrace inclusion. Scheduling a team softball game may seem like a great idea, but could inadvertently ostracize those with physical challenges, for instance.”

Taylor told Bored Panda that mandatory team-building events can have positive effects if they’re “highly targeted to employee needs.”

“If workers can learn from the experience, gain a better appreciation of the company’s mission, and get to know their colleagues on a more humanized basis; then it can be a win-win.”

#10

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Secret Santa

Dazzling-Toe-4955 , RODNAE ProductionsRODNAE Productions Report

SheamusFanFrom1987
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Secret Santa is actually fun if done right. Create a budget limit and a wishlist based around it, draw lots to see who gets who and absolutely make sure to stick to the wishlist and not get too creative.

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#11

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Actually attending an “office” for completely remote-capable work.

We don’t need to be friends with coworkers.

em-ay-tee Report

Delboy
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

on the fence here again, I agree work remote, but being friendly (not exactly friends) with coworkers makes a difference when doing many jobs.

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#12

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Micromanaging. This is one of the worst toxic behaviours, as it destroys motivation and morale quickly. There's no trust within the team, you lose the opportunity to develop yourself and it burns everyone out.

I've just switched roles from working for a micromanager to a more hands off manager, I've contributed more in my new role than I did with my previous work.

Difficult_Humor1170 , CoWomen Report

Dan Bexell
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I considered my immediate bosses' job was to find answers when I needed them, and keep me supplied with what I needed to do my job. Otherwise, just let me do my job.

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Meanwhile, Johanna and Sarah, the founders of the Work Wives podcast, told Bored Panda that mandatory team-building can "absolutely have a positive effect on workplace culture."

"In fact, a team that is unenthusiastic about building their relationships might be in the most need of strengthening them. Effective and successful team building opportunities come down to the leadership that charges them and the effectiveness with which they are run," they said. "Effective teamwork is overwhelmingly influential in workplace productivity and overall job satisfaction, so management teams would do well to do everything in their power to authentically build the dynamics of their teams and strengthen the interprofessional relationships of their employees." The keyword here is 'authentically.'

#13

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Asking people to donate their PTO instead of giving someone the time off they need.

PettyCrocker_ , SHVETS production Report

General Anaesthesia
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And then praising and proudly "sharing" the donors' "generosity" with the whole world instead of shaming the employers for their feudal policies.

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#14

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Gossiping and drama. I have no idea why some adults still have this problem.

V-RONIN Report

Kya
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This what I dislike the most in people

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#15

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Not being allowed to sit.

sky_winters , Ketut Subiyanto Report

Nikrikri
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think this is an American workplace thing. Never saw that mentality anywhere I've lived or visited in Europe.

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Johanna explained to Bored Panda why in this day and age, many women are still expected to organize and run events at work. "This is a phenomenon called 'office housework.' Women are often lopped with these tasks because they're assumed to 'just be better at them' than their male counterparts or their refusal to do them is seen as obstructive and argumentative when women should be pleasant and agreeable (another delightful leftover of our society's archaic views on strong women in the workplace)."

The way to change the situation is for an employee to exercise their leadership skills. "Do the task once and then suggest setting up a rotation system that passes the task equally throughout the workplace, or be prepared with a line that points out the inequality, such as 'I'm feeling a little event-organization-saturated. Perhaps William, the new intern, might like the experience?"

She said: "If we want to shift the dynamic of expectation, we have to be willing to assert ourselves as effectively as men do and happily be called 'difficult' for it if need be."

#16

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Employees being pressured to donate to charity. I work for a big grocery chain in Florida where we are encouraged to donate out of every paycheck, but our store manager really pushes for 100% participation. If you tell him no he does a 1 time donation in your name so on paper it shows that his whole store donates. I’m all for helping people sir, but I can barely pay my own bills on this wage.

biomechtronic , Liza Summer Report

Chucky Cheezburger
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, don't do this. If you want to help, just donate straight to the charity. Want to know why they push so hard for 100%participation? Because when you donate through the corporation, all that money is considered to come ~from the corporation~ and guess who gets the tax write off for that donation? Why, the corporation,of course...same thing happens with donations made at check-out. If you want to donate, it should go from your pocket to the charity...no middle-person.

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#17

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Icebreakers and spirit questions. Don’t force people to reveal personal info about themselves. Just simply say your name and role if you need to do introductions.

Jolly-Proof , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Headless Roach
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Agree, no need to make someone spill their guts about how they like to sleep naked on a thick layer of sauerkraut

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#18

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Expecting women to organize and run the mandatory fun/ team bonding events. Does not matter if men at the same level or job would never be expected to “waste” their time putting together these events, women are expected to do it, often on their own time, and we are supposed to like it too….

myalias1919 , Mikhail Nilov Report

Carole G.
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ask my anti-social a$$ to do this & watch what happens 🤣🤣🤣

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#19

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic The pressure to work when sick just because you WFH ("because that's what everyone else does" - and everyone thinks like this).

Anxiety_Cookie , Edward Jenner Report

Luna
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you're sick, you're sick and entitled to your PTO.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#20

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic This is education-specific, but admin giving praise and compliments to teachers who come in early and stay late, and work on the weekends. They call it "dedication" but honestly it's working way beyond contract hours for no pay. I used to do this every week and my life improved so much when I finally stopped. I love my students but I shouldn't be considered less dedicated because I won't work for free.

Nikki-Black , cottonbro studio Report

Eric S.
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Here's what I learned works everywhere: you are valued based on what you're paid. Sell yourself off as the bargain basement special, don't be surprised if you're taken for granted. The trick is to not put any attitude into the not putting in extra hours; don't say "I'm not getting paid to do this". Just don't do it, and if there's no other way (for instance you're left holding the bag last teacher in and a parent is late, you can't dump the child off in the street) make sure you file for overtime.

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#21

Bosses not listening to the ones below them out of ego

pringelman69 Report

Snorkeldorf
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is a really good one. They don't do our job, they don't know how long things take. They usually are clueless as to what skills we possess that are greatly beneficial to the role we are in. Yet we are not consulted when it comes to processes or hiring new employees.

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#22

Work wives and Work husbands. it’s fine to have friends at work, but “coupling” of people who work together seems inappropriate on a lot of levels.

Red_Delish_ Report

#23

The whole department getting yelled at for one persons wrong doing. Address the person. Fix the problem. Don’t yell at all of us!

TysmanianDevil Report

LilliVB
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Don't yell, period. If someone does anything wrong there are other more civil and effective ways to let them know why a mistake needs to be fixed and avoided. Yelling doesn't solve anything (EDIT typo)

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#24

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Forcing people to stay until a certain time even if their workload is complete because you HAVE to be there.

We only get so much time in this world, I hate having to be somewhere only for the reason of having to be there.

That and giving more work if you complete your work early.

splashattack , Andrea Piacquadio Report

XenoMurph
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Go home early, but if you are paid by the hour, expect a deduction.

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#25

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic I once had to put in $75 toward a sick person’s gift So high gifting that’s mandated

s55555s , Karolina Grabowska Report

Mark Bayliss
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

When they say "had to" does it mean felt obliged or pressured or does it mean they had no choice and forced to? There is no way I would donate that amount of money and it must be illegal to make it mandatory surely??

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#26

Not being given the tools to train new people properly. It’s crazy that you’re expected to continue with your regular, heavy workload while trying to train. I always feeling like I’m failing the person I’m training.

spicysalmonella Report

Elio
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Mood. I was helping train a new person last year and we only had one day a week we worked together but her supervisor was lazy af about training people. So she was only learning new things when I was there, which sucked because my primary job is not to train people. The supervisor firmly kisses the manager's a$$ though so that's why the problems he causes don't get addressed.

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#27

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic When things go wrong, focusing on blame rather than solutions. In my experience, most people, even lazy ones, want to do a good job and when they fail it's due to poor systems or unclear expectations.

Of course there can be a "bad fit" but truly malicious bad actors are extremely rare.

turingtested , Yan Krukov Report

Headless Roach
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As in "The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures."?

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#28

Moms getting priority with vacation. At my job I have been there over 20 years so I get 5 weeks vacation. At the first of every quarter we are supposed to request any vacation we want for the upcoming quarter. I always request on the first day.

Inevitably my boss will come to me and tell me I need to change my days because Becky wants to take her kids somewhere on those days. Usually a week or so before I was supposed to take off. Last year I lost 4 vacation days.

kanda4955 Report

James016
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Becky needs to do what you do and book the time off in advance.

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#29

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic This is different but a very outgoing likeable employee not having to follow the rules because she is popular with everyone in the office.

pinkflower200 , Jopwell Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#30

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Mandatory potlucks

pilots_are_horny , Paul Schultz Report

Jason
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"we want employee to feel valued but not spend any money or effort to do it. Let's have them work off the clock and buy the food out of their paycheck"

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#31

Non-confrontation that leads to drama.

If you got a problem with how I do things, tell me straightaway. Don’t bother tattling with another coworker cause it’s not going to fix things, if anything I’ll think you’re intending on ruining my reputation instead

MeiTheForce_ Report

Praecordia
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is just people who have no balls to say anything to anyones face which is 95% of people lately. It’s as if your trained not to be confrontational because it’s deemed as bad. I’ve never handled an issue quicker without confronting it.

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#32

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Commenting on other people's food choices.

Flowerino , Karolina Grabowska Report

James016
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Even if they microwave fish? Surely we should speak up about that

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#33

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Toxic positivity. In a previous job I had, it felt like saying things with the proper positivity accoutrements was more important than getting information across or speaking directly. So if we needed to bring up an issue, it had to be sandwiched in between compliments, exclamation points, smiley faces, “no worries if not!”s, etc. to the point where the actual message itself was watered down if not lost entirely. Management gave so much lip service to direct communication (we had a whole seminar on it - despite needing that time to get our real work done) but any time I tried to speak directly I’d get a DM saying I need to reword my message, or asking if I’m okay.

brittughny , Andrea Piacquadio Report

liam newton-harding
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hey, you are looking good today, not everyone could pull that off...Per my last email, where the fu@k is the report our department needed two weeks ago?...It always impresses me how little effort you put into your work.

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#34

35 Workplace Behaviors That People Say Are Actually Toxic Colleagues who are suppose to train you, don't train you. So you are forced to learn the job yourself. Then that colleague criticizes how you are doing everything wrong. So you ask them for more training so they can show you how to do it right - but they say they are too busy. That colleague treats you like you've been working there for 25 years and assumes you know all this stuff, ignores the fact you are new. They overwhelm you with information, make you feel like a total idiot because you don't know this stuff, and the colleague expects you to know all their 25 plus years of knowledge in a week!

Deshang222 , Headway Report

kath morgan
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They are probably upset that they are orienting you on top of their workload, and effectively acting as supervisor for you without the pay raise. They shouldn’t be taking it out on you though.

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#35

not announcing someone is leaving until the last minute.

heyashleymorgan Report

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