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.



Why Workplace Well-being is Important


It is easy to spot the tell-tale signs of a stressed employee. These can include:

  •        regular absenteeism,
  •        constant tiredness,
  •        smoking,
  •        drinking,
  •        inactivity in exercise terms,
  •        disorganised,
  •        convenience food addiction
  •       personal issues with their partner.


If you are a company owner why not consider avoiding the situation getting that serious? Why not think of creating workplace well-being in your company which will boost the performance of your employees and also boost the overall productivity.

For some employees work is endured rather than enjoyed and that is why a good wellness program will boost working morale for everyone and improve productivity across all pay grades.

Consider these reasons for introducing a wellness program: 

Increased Enjoyment  

A boring and repetitive role within a workplace can lead to a high turnover of staff which is expensive for the employer and creates an adverse effect on productivity.

Whilst the introduction of a good Health in the Workplace programme will not make a repetitive job less tedious, it will give the employee some variety and something to look forward to.

Increased Productivity 

Employees engaging in workplace wellness activities such as a healthy eating programme, exercise classes or workplace massage often feel happier about themselves, their employer and their job which can result in improved productivity and performance.

Employees will be more focused and energised to have the motivation to tackle their work.

A program which includes education around good nutrition and an exercise activity can bring tremendous benefits.  7

Happy staff

Employees taking part in one of these programmes tend to feel more satisfied in their job as compared to those who do not have any programs.

It usually leads to improved health which does not only boost overall attitude but also appearance.

Team Building

When a group of employees engage in group activities such as health and fitness activities, they will feel more connected to their colleagues which is excellent for team bonding within the workplace and gives them all a common interest that might have been lacking previously. This can only be a positive outcome for the company.

Company benefits

Introducing such schemes will have an added cost to the company but if such healthy living schemes can help reduce absenteeism and improve productivity then these benefits will go a long way to covering, if not exceeding the costs of the scheme which will then become cost neutral.

Employee benefits

A job that promotes good nutrition, health and wellness habits will lead to employees taking better care of themselves resulting in improved health. With health improved, sickness days will be reduced, there will be less expenditure on medical bills and other associated costs. 

But don’t let these good habits finish when you leave work! Carry good habits over into your leisure time and continue to benefit from an improved regime of diet and exercise.

Mayfair, we care