There’s one — or more — in every office.
That coworker who’s rude, makes snide remarks, just hateful to be around.
Well, get used to it. Apparently, workplace incivility is on the rise.
Researchers at American Psychological Association annual meeting over the weekend said between 75 and 80 percent of people have experienced workplace incivility, defined as “a form of organizational deviance… characterized by low-intensity behaviors that violate respectful workplace norms, appearing vague as to intent to harm.”
And I’m sure you have, too.
Here are some examples:
• Taking someone else’s food (or Diet Coke) from the shared refrigerator without permission
• Blatantly ignored a coworker
• Taken credit for work you didn’t do
• Taken the last cup of coffee without making more
• Not putting money into the coffee collection jar — and grabbing coffee every morning
• Leaving a paper jam in the office copier
• Not contributing to the office party fund — but eating the cake
Oh, you know who these people are.
The sad thing is this is becoming more and more commonplace in offices around the country. People are overworked and underpaid. People are stressed. People are unhappy. No wonder folks are taking out their frustrations on coworkers.
According to the Civility in America 2011 poll, 43 percent of Americans say they’ve experienced incivility at work, and 38 percent believe the workplace is increasingly disrespectful.
Blame the economy? Blame the younger generation? What’s your take on this?
i prefer the negative gloomy-gus type of co-worker.Its really never as bad as they make it seem. But rude,slobs and back stabbers are just too much work to be around.The most annoying,imo, however, are the ones that whistle. Man i hate that.
Yeah, I’m not a fan of people who rat others out, either. Especially if they were part of the problem.
As I read today’s blog, I was a bit confused and curious about “…low-intensity behaviors that violate respectful workplace norms, appearing vague as to intent to harm.”
When I got to the list of examples, I was a bit stunned. These are undesirable behaviors, but within the normal range on the continuum of human activity. If the people doing these things are not contributing to the work, client service to the satisfaction of the client, or new client relationships, they have to go, but because they are not contibuting. If they are contributing, I am willing to live some low level of negative behavior.
I just finished a six month assignment with an organization that is growing and hiring. Many of the hundreds of candidates for employment that I interviewed just finished degree work after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are very impressive people. We offered positions to many of them. Thinking about some of what they’ve been through, when I find an empty coffee pot, I’m just going to make a fresh one and not complain about workplace problems like bad coffee manners or a missing Diet Coke can.
Hey, a missing Diet Coke is a big deal! LOL!
I see your point. There are worst things to complain about. But I think today’s workplace culture is so tense, these little things can add up.
I’m not that annoyed by empty coffee pots or folks eating cake — but I don’t like it when people lie, cheat and backstab to get what they want. Business doesn’t have to be done that way, yet we tend to reward bad behavior. The culture has to change. Until then, I guess we’ll have to get used to this.
I guess I am lucky, as I dont have a single person on my team that acts up in this way. I think it has to do with the leadership of the company I work at. Even though we are a $5B + revenue company, we are still privately owned by a family who simply doesnt tolerate that kind of behavior from anyone. Within my department which has 30+ workers I know that everyone treats each other with respect at all times no matter what the issue may be. I again attribute this to my boss who no matter what always treats everyone with civility and respect, and if someone were to act out I am scared to think about what might happen to them from a discipline stand point.
At the end of the day we are all stressed and overworked and underpaid. But we need to keep in mind that work isnt the end all be all, and it really isnt that serious. Just a means to an end….
You’re lucky. I think there are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate as you to work in a respectful workplace. I’ve worked in offices where people were respectful and gracious — but I’ve worked in the opposite, too. It’s tough to spend 40+ hours a week in a hateful environment. Better to get paid less and be happier.
Never seen someone jam a copier or printer and just walk away? Hard to believe.
Generally it is live and let live for me. It seems all of us have things about us someone doesn’t like. However there is one thing that is hard to live with, it is the propensity of some to take credit for others work. Not very tolerant of that one. As long as people get the work done I can put up with almost anything.
That’s the philosophy behind attendance policies at a lot of colleges and universities. At KCC, we can’t penalize a student for not attending class; if the student gets the work done (and on time) that’s all that matters. I had an issue with that at first, but then again, if you don’t want to be in class and learn, there’s nothing I can do about it. But I still feel like we’re training students to not care about the group, the community, the people who we work with. And I think that’s important, too.
Had to think about this for a while. My experience is that there are some who no matter what will go their merry way singing the as long as I get my work done song. At Microsoft as long as you were at required meetings and got your work done there were no rules. Some thrive on it. Supplies were parked in a room, drinks and snacks in another, and you could take anything in any quantity you liked. What tended to happen was people worked 80 hour weeks, slept in their offices, and a ton of stuff got done. No denying some groups at Microsoft had a reputation of shipping things before they were ready. But no one really understood how much work it took to get there and just how close those products were to being right or how far ahead of the competition they were at the time. In the classes I’ve taught I have seen students that this works for them, I’ve seen students that function more like the way most of us think it should. But socialization in general is way different these days. I am in my 50’s and most communication with friends is over the net. Frequently I will have a conversation going on QQ with a friend in Hainan while conversing with Hawaii, Massachusetts, and NC folks. and kids are way better at this than I am. My son and I play XBOX with people from all over the planet…. when they aren’t setting fire to their villages that is. What I am saying is that it has all changed, people are different, and I agree with you quite a bit. But if not forced to interact with people at the office most would choose not to do so and if you have to there really should be some decorum. In the classroom this is especially true. It is always a balance in class between getting students to participate and getting them to shut up 🙂 Look, give me the book and a PC and I can learn anything I want to learn, lucky that way. Socialization for me is purely for fun. Others need an instructor. Is it fair to me to make me sit and interact with folks I might not ever see again post university… that is the real question. Love this thread by the way.
I work at a hospital and in our cardiology department there’s a physician who used to go through people’s lunches and help himself to a few bites. They asked him to stop but he persisted until finally they had to put a lock on their break room. I don’t know why he wanted their food; the hospital provides free food service to all physicians. On second thought, maybe that’s why he ate their food! Hah!
WHAT?!?!? How did you find out about the thief???
He was real blatant about it. He’d just rummage through the ‘fridge and employee’s lockers and help himself! Yeah, the guy was “ballsy”! And a Cardiologist no less making buku bucks!
I think I’m lucky. except for a couple of exceptions (one notable one who was my director, but he was two timezones away), I’ve had pretty cool coworkers. wonder what people say about me?
LOL, good question!
Hello Cat, I must say that I’m lucky because I don’t have any problems with any of my co-workers. We are one ohana and we all work together well.
You’re lucky! Sometimes it’s the people you work with who make all the difference!
What you point out as rudeness, I believe is part of a bigger problem. It isn’t the economy or the times, since if you recall the Depression generation for the most part retained their civility. My take on this is lack of personal accountability & being too self-absorbed. Some individuals could always justify their actions, however unjustifiable, as their right. We tend to be much more civil if we felt a part of a team, because–really– how many of these co-workers would be as rude to their family and friends?
Managers should not disregard these infractions of decency, since although small & trivial, if it becomes commonplace, it will bring down morale and hence effectiveness of the organization. Not advocating p.c., just some simple kindness…
We had a few while working for the paper. We also had co-workers taking snacks/pens/coins from our desks whlie were away. Most always they’re the ones who makes more money than the rest of us..Go Figgah!!!
Wow do we work in the same office? You just described everything that goes on in my office. I’ve had my lunch taken out of the community fridge. My bottle of water, cartons of milk and juice all mysteriously vanish from the fridge. My personal pens or other items were taken off my desk. None of my stolen items were ever returned. But just when I thought I’d seen and heard it all, I have one more office violation to add. One of our attorneys took our newest clerks mouse right off her computer because his mouse wasn’t working. Did he leave her a note or apologize? Heck no. He confessed that he took, but instead of apologizing, he just asked her how she got a replacement mouse. Some nerve huh?