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10 Red Flags of a Toxic Hybrid Workplace

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

Hybrid work has emerged as the leading workplace model for employers. In fact, FlexJobs’ 2023 Top 100 Companies for Hybrid Jobs list recognized an expanding number of companies that have embraced the hybrid work style.

At the same time, it’s also the preferred working style for the majority of young professionals, with 73% of Gen Z and 52% of millennials stating that hybrid is their preferred work arrangement.

However, switching over to a hybrid workplace takes thoughtful planning and careful execution.

To help employees and job seekers better navigate the work world and make informed career decisions, FlexJobs has identified red flags that could indicate a hybrid workplace is toxic.

It’s important to note that a toxic hybrid workplace may not have all 10 of these red flags. Some may only have a few.

Likewise, if a company has one of these red flags, that’s not necessarily proof of a toxic workplace. It could just indicate that the transition to a hybrid workplace is bumpy.

1. Lack of an Official Hybrid Policy

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When it comes to designing functional hybrid work policies, it’s crucial that employers create fair and balanced policies that apply equally to employees no matter where they work.

Additionally, if the values and plan set out for a hybrid working arrangement are spoken but not demonstrated — it’s a red flag.

The company should be committed to creating a clear set of policies that integrate remote and hybrid teams into the in-person workforce.

2. Lack of Work-Life Balance

Upset businessman holding his head at his computer
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Talking about the importance of work-life balance and being intentional in implementing work-life balance programs are two different things.

While many companies do a great job at delivering, there are organizations or toxic managers whose actions do not support or prioritize it. Work-life balance should be available during in-office days as well as remote workdays.

3. Poor Company Communication

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It’s not enough to have the proper remote communication tools in place. Everyone must use those tools efficiently and effectively to keep remote, hybrid, and in-person employees in the loop.

There should be clarity among all parties in terms of the channels used to communicate, employees’ preferences, and best practices for communicating both synchronously and asynchronously.

Company messages should be communicated with all employees — including those who are working from home.

4. High Employee Turnover

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A sign of any toxic culture is high employee turnover. The same is true for remote and hybrid jobs.

For professionals looking for a new job, use sites like LinkedIn to explore employees’ timelines at the company and make note of any trends.

For existing workers, monitor movement within the company to get a sense of the average attrition rate.

5. Flexibility Isn’t Applied Across the Board

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A solid company will allow and encourage people at all levels — from entry-level to the C-suite — to work remotely or in a hybrid arrangement.

Examine the organization to see if there are remote or hybrid workers at every career level. A lack of remote or hybrid higher-ups could indicate that you won’t have long-term success at this company unless you are 100% in-person.

6. There’s a Lack of Trust

Unhappy middle-aged male worker
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Working remotely or in a hybrid arrangement requires a solid foundation of trust wherever they are working.

Managers and coworkers should be able to trust that each person on the team will follow through on what is expected of them.

Additionally, if challenges do arise, a healthy team will be in communication to work through and solve any problems.

7. Celebrations and Meetings Are Not Inclusive

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Companies that commit to and embrace hybrid and remote work make an effort to rotate meeting times and celebrations, so that all employees, whether fully remote, in-person, or hybrid, are included.

Communication tools make it easy to share kudos with the entire organization, and virtual events can be organized to include everyone.

Companies committed to remote and hybrid employees use these tools to praise and include everyone equally.

8. Career Paths Are Unclear

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Knowing the opportunities and potential for growth and career advancement is critical for all employees.

However, if it seems that in-person employees have a more clear-cut path for career development or advancement compared to remote or hybrid companies, that’s an indication that the company does not value remote workers or see them as part of a larger strategic plan.

Career paths should have a consistent methodology that works across all employees regardless of their work type.

9. Inconsistent or Confusing Meeting Times

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Depending on the size of the company and where remote and hybrid employees live, some workers may be one or even several time zones away from the main office.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome and work with time zone differences. Scheduling should accommodate all employees, especially those in hybrid or remote roles.

Meetings should be scheduled when everyone can attend, and it’s a good idea for some — or all — meetings to have everyone attend digitally when working with hybrid and remote team members.

10. Tools and Information Are Hard To Obtain

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Remote and hybrid employers need to think about providing off-site staff with the needed supplies, tools, and information needed to be successful. This can range from computers and monitors to internet connections and ergonomically correct chairs.

At the same time, a lack of information is also often a sign of a toxic work environment. However, when it comes to remote and hybrid workplaces, it’s not just a lack of information that’s a red flag.

Companies that aren’t fully committed may not make information easily accessible. While this can be done with intent, it can also happen unintentionally.

In either case, when a company does not create and maintain a central platform for sharing crucial information with the entire company, that makes for an unproductive work environment.

A Shift Is Coming

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With 95% of workers preferring some form of remote work, including hybrid work, employers would be wise to examine their current practices and integrate hybrid work into their long-term plans.

That said, employees and job seekers should approach these changes with caution. Otherwise, they could end up in a toxic hybrid workplace.

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