Study: Office bullying hurting productivity

Whatever the location, bullying is unacceptable and hurts people in different ways. However, according a recent study, the problem is getting worse in the workplace.

As a business is serving clients and customers, the affects of bullying can impact productivity and influence more than just the one individual.

Of the more than 3,300 full-time professionals surveyed by Harris Poll on behalf on CareerBuilder, 28 per cent said they have felt bullied at their workplace. In fact, close to 1 in 5 (19 per cent) left their job as a result of the constant bullying.

Based on the survey's results, the main bullying culprits were co-workers (46 per cent). This was followed by the boss (45 per cent) and an executive higher up in management (25 per cent).

Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder Rosemary Haefner explained that bullying was not limited to any particular gender or race.

"One of the most surprising takeaways from the study was that bullying impacts workers of all backgrounds regardless of race, education, income and level of authority within an organisation," she said.

"Many of the workers who have experienced this don't confront the bully or elect not to report the incidents, which can prolong a negative work experience that leads some to leave their jobs."

It is interesting to note the reasons given for the bullying in the survey. There were many examples given, but the most common were being accused of making mistakes (43 per cent), being ignored or dismissed when commenting (41 per cent) and being treated differently (37 per cent).

"It's often a grey area, but when someone feels bullied, it typically involves a pattern of behaviour where there is a gross lack of professionalism, consideration and respect – and that can come in various shapes and sizes," Ms Haefner concluded.

In all workplaces, it is then important to establish sufficient HR policies and strategies so employees can share incidents and issues can be dealt with in a timely manner.

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