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Avoid These 9 Signs of a Toxic Hybrid Work Culture

09 September 2021

With the recent happenings in the health system, most companies have joined the hybrid work model bandwagon. According to the McKinsey survey, 9 out of 10 companies will be combining remote and on-site working. 

However, not all companies are prepared for the peculiarity of hybrid work culture. Some companies are so clueless about the process that they end up breeding toxicity in the workplace. 

Toxicity and other work-related issues like this take a toll on the employee's health. The American Institute for stress found that 83% of USA workers suffer from work-related stress. 

Howbeit, work-related stress is rampant; it's still managed poorly and dismissively. Toxicity that emanates from a hybrid workplace can drain a healthy employee leaving nothing but depression in its trail.

Yes, it’s that serious. 

Hence, it’s important to check the work stress triggers and curb toxicity that the introduction of the hybrid work model may bring. The first step to adopting a hybrid work schedule is identifying the root cause of stress and making conscious efforts to enhance a smooth transition. 

And this right here is the secret to having a work culture void of toxicity and unhappiness.

What are the red flags of hybrid work culture?

Companies experienced a remarkable increase during the work-from-home culture. Hence, they are considering hybrid workplaces as the future of workplaces. While this may be a way to set the company up for permanent productivity and better results, it may prove destructive if it causes stress or toxicity.

 But how do you recognize toxicity in the workplace? This question is a valid one seeing as this unhealthy practice is quickly becoming widespread. 

We’ve outlined some work practices that indicate the presence of toxicity in a hybrid work environment. Keep reading to find out.

No Equality

No Equality 

One rule of a hybrid workspace is the equality of employees. In a situation where this becomes impossible, this work model is on a failed mission. For instance, you shouldn’t have some specific employees rotating the work-from-home routine. 

Neither should you have specific employees running the office permanently in the boss's stead? You need to diversify and create workable cycles that include all employees. Carrying everyone along the same way depicts a healthy hybrid work culture. 

To successfully run this model, you need to create a dignified way to assign work duties to all your employees. When you have this mapped out, it becomes easy to create work cycles.

Lack of a Communication Plan

Devise a hybrid Workplan that holds communication as a priority. With the workforce in different locations, this work model needs working communication plans in place. 

All employees must have access to all the meetings and activities in the company. Creating means of communication between in-office management or employees and remote employee is crucial, and it must leave no stone untouched. 

A remote employee must not use remoteness as an excuse to miss office meetings. Employees should, in turn, make sure all company meetings are accessible and attended by all employees, in-office, and remote.

If you aren’t communicating with your boss and colleagues, then there is a problem with the work culture.  

Terrible Implementation of Tools

When the tools in an office are substandard, it affects the overall quality of the workers. With the wrong selection or poor adaptation of tools, a hybrid work culture can't succeed. 

If your employees work remotely, you must have all your tools worked out without any complications. When an office develops impressive technology to keep office trends, it works concurrently to achieve a successful tools organization. 

Always ensure that you have the correct choice of tools and intelligent devices for all employees to work towards the success of hybrid work culture. 

Odd Hours

Odd hours are an impossibility according to the hybrid work cultures’ rules. Hybrid work models do include odd working hours as work hours. Companies that encourage remote work routines must consider time zones and schedule meetings concerning the diverse time zones. 

It would be a little unrealistic to expect the company to put all employees' preferences into due consideration. But the key to a successful hybrid work culture is finding common ground for all employees. 

This is one of the best practices that leave the employees feeling valued and satisfied. And such workers often have ultimate respect for the company because it pays attention to their personal lives. 

So, before you say yes to odd working hours, understand that this isn’t a healthy practice. 

Inadequate information

Inadequate Information

Setting apart a digital platform or email newsletters for remote workers is an effective practice that boosts communication. One of the indications of a toxic work environment is the absence of information for remote employees. 

Since the inception of the work-from-home routine, adequate communication has always been a major player that contributes to success. Hence, a hybrid workplace thrives on fluidly communicating information to all workers at once without any issues. 

You may accomplish this via a business drive, business intranet, or other means that make communication easy. Moreover, solidifying communication in the workplace helps you boycott some misunderstandings and create a stronger team bond.


Celebration, awarding, and appreciating workers is a significant feature of successful business culture. Appreciating your employees, especially in any working model, is vital and consequential to the success of a hybrid workforce. 

Besides making the employees feel special and appreciated, it gives them the impression that their input is important.

It’s a red flag if all appreciative ceremonies are held strictly in the office or if it exempts remote employees. So, ensure you appreciate any and every employee when the need arises. Also, you can host virtual appreciative events to reward workers that have served the company specially and earned a level of recognition.

Lack of Equipment

Employees must essentially work on the company’s project with the equipment readily provided by the company in a healthy hybrid workplace. Provision of equipment can take equipment loans, home office allowance, or co-working space accommodation. 

Either way, all employees must have access to technology and equipment to execute all their tasks regardless of their locations. 

All remote employees shouldn’t bear the cost of equipment to get tasks done. And in cases where the company assigns special tasks that require expensive equipment or office tools, the company must provide such tools.


The hybrid work culture doesn't benefit only the employers or management; it helps the employees by providing flexibility. Hence, an unnecessary penalization is a signal of toxicity.

When a company promises a hybrid workspace and fails to provide such, it becomes a failure, and it breeds toxic hybrid work culture.

For example, if an employee wishes to work from home on a day other than their usual work-from-home cycles, the employer must allow him. It's wrong to Penalize an employee for choosing to work from home in a hybrid workplace model. This is because this work indicates that working remotely is equal to a regular day’s job. 

No Strategy

Well, failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail. This saying is particularly true of the hybrid workplace model. One of the common reasons this work culture turns out wrongly is due to poor planning. A lot of planning should go into setting up this workplace model. 

When you don’t have clear roles for individuals and haven’t mapped out routines or cycles, it becomes more of a failed attempt. Consequently, your organization skills must be on a 100, plan out the entire process and watch it play out without hitches.

On the flip side, you only end up with stressed employers and a toxic workplace without a strategy.

Scheduling meeting times

Scheduling Meeting Times

Before you determine what time is soothing for your company's meeting, you need to consider the company's size and the location of remote workers and in-office workers. Some companies work with employees from different work zones, making it slightly difficult to schedule a meeting time that’s convenient for all workers.

However, scheduling meeting times that suit in-office employees alone is toxic in every sense. Companies that embrace this workplace model try to rotate meeting times to ensure that remote employees don’t always meet at odd times. 

Furthermore, companies with large workforces scattered around different time zones must inform remote workers about the possibility of odd meeting times. This caveat lets the worker in on what the whole deal entails. 

Career Path

All employees have the intention to grow in their different capacities. A lack of a career path may be a red flag for toxicity. 

In a case where in-house employees have a clear-cut career path and better development compared to remote workers, it may be a signal that the company doesn’t value remote workers. And may not see them as a part of the company’s future. 

Look out for such toxic traits and avoid falling victim at any point.

Active Engagement of the Policy

It’s one thing to claim a company adopting a hybrid model; it’s another to become a hybrid company. Since a lot of planning goes into successfully implementing it, it becomes a bother when a so-called hybrid company makes policies against it.

For instance, the company might take away the flexibility in remote working and give fixed hours for work. Or schedule odd meeting hours and require in-person attendance; all these indicate a company isn't all out for a hybrid workplace.

Pay Cut for Working Remotely

A company trumps the essence of a hybrid workplace when it proposes a pay cut for remote workers. It would be fair to claim this is the highest bout of toxicity in hybrid work culture. Based on the equality that stands as on the firm rule of the work model, this is wrong. 

Avoid getting involved in such dealings as it may eventually cause stress and discomfort at work.

No senior leaders work remotely.

No Senior Leaders Work Remotely

If all senior leaders of a company work in-office, this may be an indication of toxicity. Since there is a strict rule on equality, all workers, including senior officials, should have their small rounds. 

The lack of a senior leader who is a remote worker may signal that the company doesn't favor remote workers as much as the physically present workforce. 

Hence, note all core practices around the office to know if there's inequality in the office. 

On the contrary, the absence of a remote senior leader may not necessarily mean toxicity. Carefully analyze the circumstances surrounding this decision. One good thing is that you can't hide inequality so that you won't have an issue figuring it out. 

Final Word

With more employers looking to integrate the hybrid model into their workspace, it's growing wider and popular. However, this model is a far cry from the conventional office model and should be approached cautiously. 

Otherwise, you will end up in a workspace riddled with toxicity.