Every workplace has different individuals working under one roof. While it is impossible for everyone to get along, steps should be taken to prevent bullying in the workplace. The US Workplace Bullying Survey conducted in 2017 highlighted that around 60% of US workers (60.3 million people) faced bullying of some form or the other.
70% of the bullies were male whereas 30% were females. Their targets included both men and women. Additionally, around 61% of bullies were bosses whereas 33% of bullies were someone’s co-worker. The growing numbers show that workplace bullying is very real and happens unchecked in various industries.
Understanding Bullying in the Workplace
Workplace bullying is not something that happens by accident. It is the use of repeated, deliberate, actions with the intention of causing harm, distress or fear in their target. It can often be verbal but some can also experience physical forms of it. It can also be difficult to find proof of bullying since the perpetrator has given considerable thought to their actions beforehand.
It is usually a planned campaign to discredit and break down a person in the workplace. Additionally, the victims are often gas lighted – made to believe that they were the ones at fault. It can often make someone feel hesitant to come forward and report workplace bullying due to this.
How Does it Impact Productivity?
The negative effects of workplace bullying can impact not only the individual but the productivity of the business as well. The following are a few common ways that workplace productivity is impacted:
1. Increases Stress and Anxiety
Employees face increased stress and anxiety in the workplace. They are unable to function properly since the source of their stress is at work with them. Many feel that they cannot stay in a toxic work environment. This can make it very likely for them to change jobs. Additionally, some employees are bullied with this goal in mind.
2. Difficulty in Group Projects
Working collaboratively with workplace bullies can be difficult for their targets. Getting their work discredited, being accused of mistakes, or being given more work than they can finish can make a marked difference in their productivity. Missed deadlines will become a regular issue.
3. Can Lead to Psychological Problems
Victims of bullying can suffer from psychological problems related to stress and anxiety. Some even develop PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder because they are unable to cope with the hostility they face on an everyday basis. Their anxiety and stress can also cause low self-esteem and social anxiety.
4. Increases Absenteeism
Absenteeism is also a major problem, particularly related to workplace bullying. The targets could face health problems because of the stress or they could simply dread going to work. For many, the thought of going to a toxic workplace is too much. Many would rather skip out on work than face another day of bullying.
Workplaces have to actively take measures against bullying. Being lax in the rules and discrediting the victims is a major issue. This can also lead to workplaces losing valuable employees who have skill sets that the business needs.
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