Rude, aggressive, bad mannered: welcome to the modern workplace

May 15 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

British workplaces are becoming infested with aggressive, rude, bullying behaviour at all levels, a new study has suggested.

An "epidemic" of bad manners is starting to appear in the work environment as much as it is our home lives, according to a report by workplace communications consultancy CHA.

The poll of more than 1,000 UK employees found more and more people at work either behaving discourteously or suffering a barrage of discourteous behaviour that had implicit corporate approval.

Nearly half of employees reported they are sometimes bullied into doing things, with more than half confessing they sometimes or often resorted to reprimanding staff in front of others.

Four out of ten felt that their organisations did not know how to give criticism constructively and a similar number said they weren't very good at giving praise either.

More than 80 per cent of employees said they always keep promises to customers, no matter how difficult or inconvenient, despite dealing with often discourteous and bullying behaviour.

Four out of 10 said their visitors were kept waiting beyond the time of their appointment and nearly six out of 10 said people were slow to return calls.

Seven out of 10 complained that learned about changes that affected them later than they would have liked.

One out of five said emails were used to reprimand staff or criticise their actions or decisions.

And nearly half said critical emails were copied to others in the organisation, with more than half saying emails were used when a meeting would have been more appropriate.

Just a third reported that their boss ever praised them, and four out of 10 reported that junior people were often ignored in meetings.

Colette Hill, CHA chief executive, said: "Corporate courtesy is key to employee engagement.

"It is common sense that we respond best to those who treat us well and close up when faced with intemperate or thoughtless behaviour.

"Companies that communicate openly, praise when it is due, involve and thank their staff are the winners every time. Bad manners come at a real cost," she added.