THREE in four British employees say they’ve witnessed bullying in their workplace, according to shocking new research. Workplace Bullying is mistreatment in the form of humiliating and intimidating conduct, such as gossiping about colleagues, excluding them from activities or name-calling – and in severe cases, work sabotage. And it appears that the beastly behaviour is rife in firms across the nation.
According to new stats from Printer Land, two thirds of people confess they’ve taken part in bullying, with half gossiping about colleagues and a fifth engaging in name-calling. Six per cent of those polled, even admitted they had stolen food to wind up a workmate. One in five people admitted playing pranks on a co-worker, while one in ten said they’d either excluded someone from a casual conversation or shouted them down in front of fellow staff.
But only one in five victims were brave enough to speak to their manager about it – and in half of those incidences, the situation improved. But of those keeping schtum, two thirds of people didn’t tell their boss because they didn’t want to make it worse or cause any awkwardness while a fifth didn’t want their workmates to think they were overreacting.
And the bullying has certainly taken its toll on some British office staff, as a staggering 16% of victims have been diagnosed with depression or signed off with stress, while 5% walked out on their job because of it. One in three workers said they’d felt so uncomfortable by what they witnessed, that they decided to confront the perpetrators themselves.
Catherine Bannan, HR manager from Printer Land, said: “Our findings are quite shocking and it’s upsetting to know that so many people are suffering from workplace bullying. If you believe you are the victim of bullying at your place of work, it’s important that you keep a note of events and when they happen, in a diary. You should consider whether the situation can be resolved informally, by discussing your concerns with a line manager or HR manager. It may be that other colleagues are facing the same experience. Matters can always be escalated to a formal grievance procedure.”
The Health and Safety Executive emphasises workplace bullying as repeated patterns of behaviour rather than isolated instances.