Swearing at work boosts team spirit

Oct 22 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

I'd like to be the first to cordially invite you all to sod off, with my most sincere wishes! No, I didn't mean to be rude; you'll have to excuse me, I was simply taking the advice of researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in England.

See, they reckon that swearing is an integral part of life Ė even in the workplace!

On the other hand, researchers at New Zealand's Victoria University might be swearing for real, since the UEA research (which has attracted a fair bit of publicity) echoes pretty closely a rather more obscure study the Kiwis carried out back in 2004.

That aside, both found that swearing provides a healthy outlet for employees to decompress/let out steam/unwind and can even (!) increase moral at the office. Now, mind you, the researchers do not recommend using such linguistic liberties in front of customers (though I can think of a few choice words for them) or in front of upper management (I can think of even more in this case!).

While some might be offended by such language in the workplace, it's nothing most of us haven't already heard or use ourselves. More importantly, if this is the type of outlet a hothead needs in order to avoid escalating his anger to the next level, perhaps a few f-bombs.

While I don't buy researcher Yehuda Baruch's assertion that this is a new challenge for managers to learn when to turn the other cheek to language once deemed inappropriate, I do think she may be on to something. Indeed, I may adhere to some of these findings from now on!