Bullying worsens with recession

According to Equality Works, the equality and diversity consultancy, workplace bullying is becoming more widespread as a direct result of the recession. Chief executive Jane Farrell says: “Many people think of bullying as simply meaning verbal or sometimes physical abuse,” says Farrell. “However, in today’s business climate of concern, informal comments or changes in attitude can lead to feelings of being under threat and victimisation.”

Farrell also says that bosses need to be more vigilant to prevent serious problems in the future, adding that “Recession and redundancies are currently a hard fact of life but that is no excuse for not handling the situation with compassion and sensitivity.”
Why is bullying so prevalent in UK workplaces? And surely now is the time to be supportive of one another.

One of the main problems is that bullies tend to see their behaviour as something else – maybe ‘firm management’ or their idea of ‘encouraging’ a team-mate. But at the end of the day, it’s just bullying, plain and simple.

Some bullying behaviour to look out for:

Derogatory comments about someone’s performance being made in an open-plan office

  • So called ‘jokes’ being made that have the effect of undermining confidence
  • People getting more competitive with each other and collaborating less and less
  • Managers shouting at staff
  • Continual drawing attention to ‘difference’ such as ‘part timers not pulling their weight’.