Workplace bullying and its influence on morale

Often, when we think, read or talk about bullying, a teenager or an elementary school child is involved. Many people think of bullying in the lines of "give me your lunch money" or “do my homework" statements.

Unfortunately, there is another prevalent form of bullying which is on the rise and few people are willing to talk about it – bullying in the workplace.   

There is no legal definition of workplace bullying but the many people confuse it with other common vices such as harassment, micro-management or discrimination.

However, bullying can be described as repetitive unfair treatment of an individual by his/her boss, employer, colleague or a group of colleagues at the workplace. Workplace bullying affects the victim and the organization in unimaginable ways. But before we delve into the effects or workplace bullying, we first need to understand the forms in which it manifests;    

What is workplace bullying?  

Bullying can be as basic being isolated from team duties, copied emails or withdrawing information that would otherwise be helpful in performing one's duties.

It could also be physical whereby, an employee is pushed, grabbed or hit by someone at the workplace. Hurling insults, making derogatory comments, 'whispering' behind the victim's back as well as issuing threats such as "I can get yout fired" are other common forms of bullying.

Sometimes corporate bullies intertwine their actions with discrimination in the case where gender, sexual orientation or race is involved. For instance, in a 2015 report by YouGov, Asians and other minority races were more likely to experience some form of bullying disguised as discrimination.

The report also revealed that women were more likely to be victimised than men, but female co-workers and bosses were reportedly biased towards fellow women.    

Effects of corporate bullying on the victim 

Bullying has a lot of negative effects on both the victim and the organisation - the most common effect being on company and team morale. The victim will feel less interested and motivated to go to work and over time, their self-esteem will be deeply wounded.

Often, victims end up being retrenched due to under-performance or stagnation, which is an indirect result of declining morale.    In extreme cases, victims could develop mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. This in return could lead to suicidal thoughts or hospitalisation and an inability to work.      

Effects on the organisation?  

The organisation may not be affected by bullying in the short term but eventually, repeated cases of bullying take their toll colleagues which in turn will creep through the entire organization.

First, colleagues may feel threatened. This affects their morale and productivity.

Second, an organisation's turnover rate is likely to rise as employees take the decision to move away from a toxic working environment. 

Lastly, if a victim decides to take legal action against the bullies, an organisation's image and reputation could suffer immensely. If such cases attract the public interest, people may boycott the organization's products and services. In addition, it may be difficult to attract and retain good talent in future.      

What can be done about workplace bullying? 

There are no notable policies or laws governing how to tackle workplace bullying. This, however, does not mean that bullies should get away with their actions. To resolve this issue, both the victim and the organisation need to take action. 

First, the victim should keep record of all instances of bullying. These will serve as evidence, if they decide to take legal action, either through a lawyer or their trade union.

Second, the victim should discuss their plight with the human resource personnel to establish whether there are policies that touch on their situation. If HR lacks a suitable solution, industrial courts can resolve such issues but at a cost.

Lastly, if their mental or physical health is affected, it is advisable to seek medical attention and counselling.   

The organisation's management, on the other hand, can take measures such as educating all employees, from the top down, about corporate bullying and its consequences. In addition, every organisation should put in place policies that deal with bullying effectively.      

In a nutshell, corporate bullies don't disappear after senior school.

They proceed to colleges and universities and some will become bosses. The fact that people are not willing to talk about bullying at the workplace doesn't change the reality. There is an imminent need to tackle the issue, not just at a personal or organizational level but on a legal or national scale. If people can deal with harassment and discrimination, then there is room to deal with workplace bullying.      

Remember Mayfair, we care.


Sources:  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/pragyaagarwaleurope/2018/07/29/workplace-bullying-here-is-why-we-need-to-talk-about-bullying-in-the-work-place/#6c39fed23259  https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2013/07/On-line-Catalogue216953.pdf

 

Are 24/7 Communications Detrimental to Our Health?



Business today

In our highly competitive world businesses are using all the means to maintain competitive advantages. The main group of people that can suffer as a result is the staff.

Business owners and executives who influence the direction of the company and are rarely ‘off duty’ but maintaining a competitive edge will also impact on staff working conditions. Employees can often endure long working hours with weekend work frequently being a necessity.

The effects on the workforce

During the working hours, staff are supposed to be in constant communication with each other. Thanks to the advancement of technology, they can now communicate through various platforms such as social media, emails, messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, SMS, mobile phone and landline calls.

As much as this may seem to be a positive, if not highly necessary set of basic business needs and will streamline the overall performance of the business, it comes with its disadvantages. Did you know that 24/7 communications can be detrimental to your health?

Several reports have proven beyond doubt that such activities have adverse effects on your physical and mental well-being and we examined the findings of a report entitled “Can work make you sick?

(http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02678373.2011.569175#.U1l2eVe9bc)

A relationship between “long working hours and stress” gave shocking findings on the effects of prolonged working hours to the stress levels. The study found out that stress in a business comes in different forms.

Workforce conflict

It is ridiculous to believe that all the interactions with your colleagues will go smoothly. It is quite usual to challenge another’s thinking and makes for healthy debate – usually. However, there are those instances that can also result in anger and frustration creating tension and stress which can carry over into so called relaxation time at home.

The types of disputes can include workload, remunerations, lack of cooperation, and conflict on respective roles; personal issues may also occur and all can be troubling and affect your life directly – especially if carried out by email, text etc which have no respect for time of day.

Workforce health

A poll published by NPR News revealed that 43% of staff admit that their stress is caused by long working hours and poor sleeping habits (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/11/484917853/work-can-be-a-stressful-and-dangerous-place-for-many).
What should you expect when you are required to be at your workplace very early
and leave late?

Professor Robert J. Blendon of the Harvard Chan School and the director of this research study stated that “The first task of the American employers should be to reduce stress levels at their working place,”

One negative effect of long working hours and 24/7 communications is the loss of focus. Your ability to stay sharp on the job goes down, and you may find yourself making unexplained mistakes.

Those working in risky environments such as busy workshops can be easily injured by lack of concentration. Long working hours accompanied by inadequate safety measures are a recipe for high-stress levels. This is why, according to the same research, staff in retail shops and construction industries lead in having high stress levels of 26% and 23% respectively.

Summary

From this article, it is clear that staff in a lot of organizations are a frustrated lot. Apart from suffering from burnouts, they also go through depression and we look towards responsible employers to be ever more conscious of how 24/7 communication can be detrimental to your health and provide the necessary support and advice to employees.

Mayfair, we care.

Handling Anger at work – a brief guide



Incidents in the workplace can leave employees infuriated, angry, stressed and frustrated.

You could become angry because your boss berates you or a trivial workplace dispute can get out of hand.. The first thing you will want to do when angry is to take it out on the person causing the anger but this is obviously not the right thing to do.

A wise man once said, “it is not what happens to us that matters but how we react to them”.

How you handle anger in the workplace can determine many things including your future promotion, productivity and your continued employment .

Effects of Anger

Anger at work has a lot of potential unintended outcomes. It can cause financial and productivity loss both to you and your co-workers. Anger can also cause prolonged confusion and psychological trauma. It can also cause outbursts in a workplace such as a riot and a strike. Now those are extremes but consider time wastage, absenteeism, and loss of morale.

What To Do When Angry

Rather than flaring up and tainting your self-image when angry, you can do a few things to save the day. Here are some proven approaches to control your anger.

Take a Deep Breath: The first thing you may want to do is to pause and take a deep breath – perhaps count to 10.. This will not probably take away the source of the anger but it will buy you time to think straight and make a better decision not to follow your emotions.

Write Out Your Thoughts: Instead of venting out your thoughts and emotions, you can write them down and keep them to yourself. This will help you to release the emotions but at the same time, no one feels the impact. Saving your thoughts when angry in an (unsent!) email can also serve as a reference in the future.

Listen to your favourite song: When infuriated, you need something to calm you down. You need to get your thoughts totally detached from the event that caused the anger and think of something that gives you happiness. Music has a way of soothing the nerves and calming us down, so listening to your favourite song can help you get over the moment.

What would your role model do: Who is your role model? A parent? Someone in business perhaps? Considering what they would do in these circumstances can help us get over a difficult time and might avoid hasty actions.

And remember, Mayfair Cares.