Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova
Workplace “beige flags” are a new trend on TikTok, but what does it mean? In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of red, green, and beige flags and how they affect your work experience.
You’ve heard of green and red flags, especially when it comes to dating, but did you know they could apply to the workplace as well? A new trend making its way around social media sites such as TikTok is the concept of a “beige flag.” While everyone’s tolerance level varies, being aware of what’s going on around you, as well as what you will and won’t accept in workplace culture, can help you decide to stay or move on.
In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of “flags in the workplace,” including:
What are green, red, and beige flags?
Examples of the different flags
Working in an office is kind of like a microcosm of society, with aspects that are either great or downright intolerable — and we don’t mean Debbie’s terrible lemon bars that she insists on bringing in every Friday. While the concept of “red flags'' and “green flags” are pretty easy to grasp (although we’ll explain them further), don’t forget about the “beige flag” that’s now making its way around TikTok. With employee dissatisfaction on the rise, workers are becoming quite vocal about maintaining their work-life balance and their mental well-being, and are wary of workplaces that don’t support that.
Sometimes when we’re interviewing for, or starting a new job, we’re so anxious about being employed that we overlook some things that create “bad vibes.” If you spot any of these signs (and these are just a few), it may be time to high-tail it out of there:
High employee turnover
Over-monitoring employees — keeping track of your bathroom breaks, micromanaging, critiquing your attire, or even spying with hidden cameras
The phrase: “This is how we’ve always done it”
Rampant and obvious nepotism
Working after you’ve clocked out
Your boss doesn’t respect your boundaries, and you’re expected to be available 24/7.
There are some companies out there who are getting it right — the trick is to find them. Some indicators of green flags in your workplace include:
There’s no gossip or backstabbing
The management asks for feedback — and acts on it
It’s safe to offer a dissenting opinion
Inclusion, diversity, and equity isn’t just given lip service — it’s actually happening
Employees are paid fairly
The new thing on TikTok is the concept of the “beige flag.” Beige flags are basically things that aren’t good or bad — they’re not deal breakers, but they could turn irritating at some point and have an affect on your relationships with your coworkers. Sometimes they’re fun and quirky, and sometimes people enjoy pointing out their own beige flags.
But beige flags can turn red if you’re not careful. Some beige flags to look out for are:
“We’re a family here.” This can turn red very quickly, as it might imply an unhealthy commitment to the workplace — i.e. “You should make sacrifices for your family.”
Mandatory team-building that takes up your free time
There’s little to no management “follow-through”
A company that’s trying too hard to be “hip,” such as quirky job titles or a cutesy company motto
The important thing is to know what your workplace values are. And don’t be afraid to exit a workplace that is having a negative effect on your health and well-being. You deserve the best.
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Identifying your job’s red, green, and beige flags can help you determine if that company is the right fit for you.
A “beige flag” is something that’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but might be mildly irritating and affect your relationships with your co-workers.
Identifying your boundaries and professional values is important for maintaining your work-life balance and your personal well-being.
Jennifer Inglis is a freelance writer and content creator with extensive professional expertise in advertising, media analysis, teaching, writing, and literature. Prior to working for Career.io, Jennifer was a public school teacher, teaching courses in college and career readiness, writing, and public speaking. Jennifer has a master’s degree in Teaching, and is the author of two published novels.