Site logo

How to Identify a Toxic Office Culture

Culture is a living organism. Just like anything else in nature, it must be tended to and nourished to keep it healthy. If you don’t do that, then over time your culture will die out, or get sickly and weak…and that’s not something any real estate agency wants. In this article outline how to identify a poor office culture, and next week we will discuss how to improve your office culture, generate momentum and boost productivity amongst your team.

You hear people complaining a lot, or only hear crickets during conversations.

When you hear people complaining a lot, or only hear crickets during conversations, this could be a sign of:

  • A toxic culture. If employees feel like they can’t trust each other and that everyone is out for themselves, this will seep into every area of how they work together and conduct themselves at work.
  • Lack of trust. It’s hard to not take comments or actions personally when you don’t know if someone has your best interests in mind or not. When your team doesn’t have faith in one another’s intentions, it creates an environment where people are constantly second-guessing each other’s motives. When teams don’t trust their co-workers’ words or actions (or worse yet the management), the quality of work suffers as agents spend time coming up with ways to get around each other rather than focusing on their actual work responsibilities.

You hear people complaining a lot, or only hear crickets during conversations.
Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash

You see too many conflict, misunderstandings and miscommunications.

You and your team are so busy that you don’t have time to talk about how things are going. You’re too focused on keeping the business running, getting jobs done, and making money. But with all this activity, conflict is inevitable. And when it happens, it’s important that you work together to resolve it—and quickly—before it festers into resentment or even worse: workplace violence.

Miscommunication almost always leads to misunderstanding—and if left unchecked this will lead to conflict between employees and between employers/employees themselves. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or where your job title falls on the office hierarchy; miscommunication can happen anywhere!

You see too many conflict, misunderstandings and miscommunications.
Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

A culture that includes these things is not a culture worth keeping.

If your office culture includes any of these things, it’s time to take action.

  • A lack of communication: If you don’t feel like your coworkers are talking to each other or that they’re not communicating on real estate listings, it could be a sign of bigger problems.
  • A lack of direction: If you feel like no one is in charge and everyone does their own thing (without the results), that’s bad news for both productivity and morale.
  • Unclear expectations: If people are confused about what their roles are and what they should be doing each day, there’s a problem with clarity.


It’s important to remember that the best culture for your company is one that fits the needs of your agents and clients. You’ll find that when people feel happy, welcome and appreciated at work, they’ll be happier to be there and more willing to put in a little extra effort.

For more tips for real estate photographers and real estate agents, visit the HauzPhotographers blog