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Workplace Bullying & Their Psychological Effects: Key Insights You Need to Be Aware Of

Workplace Bullying & Their Psychological Effects: Key Insights You Need to Be Aware Of

Bullying is most often discussed in the context of schools, but workplaces are just as likely to struggle with this issue. Often much subtler and covert, workplace bullying behaviors may include verbal, nonverbal, psychological abuse, physical abuse, and/or humiliation. Forbes Magazine highlights several costs that businesses experience as a result of workplace bullying:

  • As an employee’s stress increases, their health decreases – meaning more time off to recover, and lowered productivity at work
  • Toxic workplace cultures may cause many employees around the bully to lower their workplace performance as to not cause attention to themselves in fear of being targeted
  • A victimized employee may leave their position, with all of the costs of hiring a new person trailing behind
  • High employee turnover rates, less revenue for employees, increased absences, and more can all derive from workplace bullying

It’s obvious that workplace bullying causes problems for a business, but what are the various components that take effect in this situation? A 2016 study published in the journal Psychological Distress and Workplace Bullying sought to explore this by surveying and interviewing 148 nurses regarding workplace bullying, perceived stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. Researchers found many key insights, including:

Construct of Bullying – Nurses reported various acts of bullying, including gossiping, breaking confidence by nurse leaders, screaming or verbal abuse, “equal opportunity bullying” (picking on everyone), tough love, “sink or swim” behaviors, and refusal to help when asked.

Permissive Culture of Bullying – Nurses who reported bullying often experienced a lack of recognition, no response, or minimization of their complaints from management, which lended to the toxic workplace environment.

Toxic Effects of Bullying – Many nurses reported their plans to leave the organization because of workplace bullying, with some planning to move out of state and others applying to different facilities.

Fostering a Positive Work Culture – For many nurses who endured workplace bullying, the only positive outlets they had were venting to family members or nurses who were considered friends. Others attempted to find peace at work through prayer, music, rituals, or “buddying up”, which is a term used to describe finding another nurse to work with to decrease stressful encounters.

Workplace bullying can take a toll on employees, pushing their mental and physical health past their breaking point. It’s best to address these issues as they arise and enforce strict policies against this type of behavior. The success of your business relies on the health of your team.

If you haven’t already, speak with someone from a professional treatment center to learn more about programs to best suit your needs. Optimal recovery is possible, and you are not alone in your pursuit for happiness, health, and wellbeing.

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