Workplace rudeness can affect employee health, wellbeing study

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If you’ve worked under a rude boss or alongside a coarse colleague, this will come as little surprise: according to a new study, workplace rudeness can affect employees’ health and emotional well-being.

“We found that when people were mistreated, they felt more embarrassed at work,” Sandy Hershcovis, the study’s lead researcher and an associate professor in organizational behaviour and human resources at the University of Calgary, told CTV Calgary.

“They felt less like they fit in, and those things in turn affected their feelings of job insecurity and their health and well-being.”

The study, which was conducted by the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business and the London School of Economics and Political Science, also showed that workplace incivility can be linked to physical maladies such as stomach pains, insomnia and headaches.

Such emotional and physical effects, moreover, are felt more strongly when coarse behaviour comes from a supervisor, as opposed to from a fellow employee. That behaviour can manifest itself in a variety of ways, Hershcovis says.

“Things like walking by someone without saying hello, being condescending to someone in a meeting,” she said.

That’s something that Wendy Belanger seems to instinctively know. Having spent 15 years as a salon owner, and overseeing 20 staff members, Belanger says that she aims to have her team operate like a close-knit family.

“I opened a salon for that reason, as I wanted to create an environment where my staff would want to come to work,” Belanger told CTV Calgary. “I think my staff comes first because if I create a good environment for them to work (in) and they’re happy, they’ll work harder, and in turn the guests will be happy.”

With files from CTV Calgary

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