Bad Manners At Work = Bad For Business

April 9, 2012. By Lisa Quast contributed to Forbes.com
Ever experienced horrifically bad manners in the workplace? Research conducted in Australia and New Zealand revealed that rude and undermining co-workers, managers, or leaders can actually negatively impact employee engagement and productivity.
The study was co-authored by Barbara Griffin, an organizational psychologist with the University of Western Sydney, and found that one in five people surveyed had experienced bad manners at work at least once a month.

The bad news for employers is that allowing bad manners to continue can negatively impact employee engagement and productivity. “The report showed incivility had a detrimental impact on people and that due to its widespread nature, had the potential to be very costly for organizations.”

Reading about the study results got me thinking about my own pet peeves regarding bad manners in the workplace, such as:

•People who go to work when they’re sick and then get co-workers sick (stay home when you’re sick!).
•People who constantly show up late to meetings (if you’re always running behind, try scheduling meetings in 45 minute increments to allow enough time to get to your next meeting).
•People who run over the allotted meeting times and force the next meeting group to stand in the hallway outside the conference room waiting for the other group to finish (this is a huge DO NOT DO).
•People who drown themselves in cologne or perfume – often times the fragrance enters a room before they do and stays long afterwards.
•People who let their cell phones ring loudly at work (always keep mobile phones on silent/vibrate so as not to disturb others).
•People who hold meetings in their cubicle instead of a conference room and disturb co-workers with the noise (this becomes a big issue when the topic is HR related and needs to be kept confidential).
•People who eat smelly food in their cubicle instead of in the lunch room or break room.
•Women wearing clothing that reveal a lot of cleavage (basically ONLY appropriate if you’re an exotic dancer for your job).
Are you being subjected to bad manners in your office? Here are tips from Ms. Griffin on how to deal with bad mannered co-workers:

•Don’t reciprocate the bad behavior.
•If possible, meet with the person and explain that you feel their behavior is offensive.
•Make sure you understand your company’s policies and procedures. If the behavior continues or worsens, seek help by reporting the behavior through official channels.
•If the behavior is causing undue stress, “talk to a psychologist or make use of confidential employee assistance programs.”
What are the worst types of manners you’ve experiences at work? How have you been able to get co-workers to change their bad behavior? Please share your thoughts in the “Comments” section, below.

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