Photo (cc) by Maurizio Zanetti
We hear a lot these days about school bullies. But if you thought bullying ended at the schoolyard, think again. More than half of IT professionals are victims of workplace bullies.
A recent study by cloud-hosting provider Connectria found that 55 percent of IT workers have been bullied by a co-worker. Sixty-five percent said they dreaded going to work because of a co-worker who is a bully.
In fact, working with a jerk can be so bad that 20 percent of workers said they’d choose a root canal or take a lower position in a different department to avoid working with a bully.
The impacts of working with an office jerk can be serious, affecting worker productivity, quality and morale. The study found:
- Fifty-nine percent of employees said working with a bully leads to low employee morale.
- More than 40 percent of employees said working with an office jerk makes them want to work alone.
- Forty percent of employees said working with a bully can lead to decreased product quality.
- One in three employees said they can’t get their work done when working with a bully.
Connectria President and CEO Rich Waidmann said in a statement:
“The research shows what we’ve known all along – working with jerks not only impacts employees, but can have a negative effect on the overall business. Taking a stance against bad behavior, like bullying, can lead to improved employee morale and increased job satisfaction.”
Waidmann started a movement called “No Jerks Allowed” aimed at helping to end workplace bullying. The simple philosophy of the movement is to treat everyone – including co-workers and customers – with courtesy and respect.
According to Business Insider, although you may think using basic good manners is a given, that’s not always the case, especially in the tech world.
Back in 1996 the role model for the IT world was the young Bill Gates, who threw notorious tantrums in those days, as did his successor Steve Ballmer. At one point, the story goes, Microsoft even employed a person to count how many times Gates dropped the “f-word” in a meeting, as a way to measure how pleased or upset he was.
Flash forward to today, and the tech industry can still be a rough-and-tumble place.
I once left a job because I worked with an office bully, though I didn’t think of her as a bully at the time. I thought she was an unhappy, overly critical, negative co-worker, but she clearly fits the definition of a bully. She made my work environment so unpleasant that I couldn’t stand it anymore. I found another job and I quit.
Have you been the victim of an office bully or worked with one? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.