The fact that Anti Bullying Week has come around again might not be top of your agenda if you are running a hectic business or managing a busy team.
That said, a brief look at the facts about how bullying can negatively impact both staff wellbeing and business performance provides ample reason why now is a very good time to take bullying seriously.
Here are just a few concerning facts about bullying at work, including some eyebrow-raising statistics on how it is impacting UK business:
- Bullying at work can be verbal, non-verbal, written or physical. It can include ridiculing and demeaning someone, overloading them with work, excluding them from conversations, making insulting remarks and much more.
- The cost to individuals can include a wide range of physical and psychological health problems including stress, depression, anxiety, self-harming and even thoughts of suicide.
- Health problems caused by bullying can in turn lead to employees taking sick leave, struggling to stay motivated and focused, becoming less productive in their roles and even leaving their job.
- The financial cost of bullying to employers is significant. In fact, bulling at work is costing British businesses billions of pounds. According to Acas Chair, Sir Brendan Barber the cost to UK businesses of bullying-related absenteeism, staff turnover and lost productivity is estimated at almost £18 billion per year.
- Complaints about workplace bullying are on the rise. According to a Workplace Employment Relations Survey, back in 1998 managers in 7% of workplaces reported grievances raised regarding harassment or bullying at work. By 2011, this figure had risen to 11%
- In addition, there are also thousands of employees who lack confidence to raise grievances and instead start talking to counselors or call Acas for advice. In fact, the Acas helpline alone receives about 20,000 calls each year about bullying and harassment at work.
- According to the TUC, almost a third of employees (29%) have been bullied at work and in nearly three quarters of those cases (72%) said the bullying was carried out by a manager.
- In terms of age, it is older workers who are bullied the most, with the TUC poll finding that 34% of employees aged between 40 and 59 had been bullied at work.
- Women are also more likely to be bullied at work than men. In the TUC poll, 34% of women said they had experienced bullying in the workplace, compared to 23% of men.
- Bullying at work also causes a lot of people to leave their jobs, leading to distress for them and disruption for the business, which then has to recruit and train new staff. In fact, the TUC poll found that over one in three of the employees surveyed said they had left their job specifically because of being bullied.
Take action now to stop bullying
From the above facts it is clear to see why it is so important that business owners and managers take bullying seriously and ensure it does not go unnoticed and unaddressed.
That said, it can not only be difficult to detect, but also to recognize, especially where some staff see harassment as simply office banter or just a more forthright managerial style.
For this reason, it is very important to take a professional approach to addressing bullying in your workplace. Seek professional advice on how to tackle this problem effectively.
There are a lot of useful guides online already that can help employers to develop the right culture and procedures to address this issue. For example, HR experts, The HR Dept, have collaborated with Bullying UK to produce a useful guide on bullying at work.
Equally, if you are an employee that is suffering from bullying in the workplace you might find Acas’ leaflet on Bullying and Harassment at work useful for helping you to understand your rights and your employer’s responsibilities.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the Anti Bullying Week website for a host of useful information and guides. Not only will it give you helpful advice, if you are experiencing bullying right now it will also remind you that you are far from alone.