Your rude co-worker may hurt you outside the workplace too

Baylor study shows impact of rude co-workers on home life

The stress created by rude co-workers can be so intense that, at the end of the day, it is taken home by the worker and can damage the well-being of the worker's family.

That was the main conclusion of a Baylor University study of 190 workers and their partners that looked at how a co-worker's rudeness can impact relationships beyond the workplace.

"Employees who experience such incivility at work bring home the stress, negative emotion and perceived ostracism that results from those experiences, which then affects more than their family life - it also creates problems for the partner's life at work," said Merideth J. Ferguson, Ph.D., assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Baylor University Hankamer School of Business and study author in a statement.  "This research underlines the importance of stopping incivility before it starts so that the ripple effect of incivility does not impact the employee's family and potentially inflict further damage beyond the workplace where the incivility took place and cross over into the workplace of the partner."

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 The study found that:

Since the employee comes home more stressed and distracted, the partner is likely to pick up more of the family responsibilities, and those demands may interfere with the partner's work life.

Stress significantly affected the worker's and the partner's marital satisfaction.

Approximately 57% of the employee sample was male with an average age of 36, while 43% of the partner sample was male with an average age of 35. Of these couples, 75% had children living with them.

Indeed it is a rude world.  A few years ago a study by the OfficeTeam staffing firm found that of 532 full- and part-time workers ages 18 and older employed in office environments revealed that one-third find themselves working alongside rude and offensive co-workers. Of the 29% saying they encounter unprofessional behavior in the workplace, 68% said they felt co-workers behave badly frequently and distributed their rude behavior equally among subordinates, peers and superiors.

An overwhelming majority across age groups didn't believe such behavior should be tolerated even if the offenders completed their job requirements. On the high end, close to three-quarters of survey respondents aged between 55 and 64 strongly disagreed the bad behavior should be tolerated and close to half of those aged 18 to 34 said the same. Those 65 and older seemed most at ease with rude co-workers. Those who have spent a lot of time on the job may be more effective at negating problem behaviors, OfficeTeam stated.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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