A toxic environment

Oct 21 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

It's certainly no secret that the economy – regardless of where you live – has started to go to hell in a hand basket. Some of our readers may recall me discussing the effects of this downturn on office morale. Now an article calls to our attention another effect of the bad economy: an increasing number of violent acts at work.

Excuse me if I tend to question any ulterior motives by the poster in question, but I think this article does raise a valid point. The CEO of the company in question – which provides security services – mentions anecdotal evidence from law enforcement officials, but no real numbers to back up their claims.

While I'd be surprised to see that bomb threats were dramatically on the rise (though who knows, perhaps they are), it's easy to believe that office theft (from the company and other employees) is on the rise. It's also plausible that the stress of economic negatives (including layoffs or loss of benefits) could lead to an increase in spousal abuse.

While the author of this article suggests taking the necessary steps for your particular environment – read: hire me – that might not be the best answer. Hopefully, companies (especially small businesses) will see the value in being up-front and honest with their employees.

If times are hard, reassure them and help assuage their stress. No one likes being in the dark – especially with respect to their continued employment – so think about how a lack of communication can quickly make the workplace environment explosive.