Rudeness, sarcasm, humiliating comments, disrespect and interrupting other people while they speak are increasingly common behaviors in the workplace. A survey conducted by researchers at Georgetown University revealed that 98% of employees admitted to being victims of incivilities at work.
Now a group of psychologists from Portland State University and the University of Illinois wondered how those behaviors affect the rest of the people. They discovered that being the object of uncivil behavior in our workplace not only affects our rest but also that of our partner.
What is rudeness in the workplace?
Rudeness in the workplace is a form of abuse that includes disrespectful or inconsiderate behavior and comments that violate the rules of mutual respect in the workplace. Such is the case of condescending or derogatory comments, those that ignore the opinion of the others or are directly humiliating.
Obviously, these behaviors don’t generate a positive and pleasant work environment but produce stress, give rise to negative emotional states such as anger, affect cognitive processes and end up decreasing productivity.
In the long run, incivility at work can even generate health problems since it’s a permanently active source of stress that causes a great deal of stress.
Rumination: The great enemy of rest
The researchers surveyed 305 couples who had different professions and jobs. They discovered that when a person is exposed to rude behavior in their workplace, tends to ruminate those situations when they get home, which makes it difficult for them to fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night.
Generally these people think over and over again to what has happened them at work, relive those situations in their minds since are a focus of unresolved tension. Thinking about it continually generates even more stress, making it difficult to rest.
The interesting thing is that these problems extend to family environment. These researchers discovered that also the partner’s dream was affected, but only when they shared the same profession or worked in the same company. Sharing the workplace or profession generates a more empathetic response from the partner because he understands better the work context. This makes that person more vulnerable to his partner’s problems affecting him directly.
Another study conducted at the University of Singapore proved that, in fact, being the object of rude behavior at work also causes conflicts within the family because people are more irritated when they get home and respond more aggressively.
What to do?
– Defend your rights. To fight against incivility at work, it is important that you be aware of your assertive rights and defend them calmly and firmly.
– Don’t fall into their trap. The incivility is fought with civility. If you give in to anger or frustration you will be falling into their game and those persons will have won because you’re giving them control of your emotions.
– Separate your professional life from the personal. Try to keep the work problems at work, so you can disconnect when you get home.
Fritz, C. et. Al. (2018) Workplace Incivility Ruins my Sleep and Yours: the Costs of Being in a Work-Linked Relationship. Occupational Health Science; 1-21.
Porath, C. & Pearson, C. (2013) The price of incivility. Harv Bus Rev; 91(1-2): 114-121.
Lim, S. & Lee, A. (2011) Work and nonwork outcomes of workplace incivility: Does family support help? Journal of Occupational Health Psychology; 16(1): 95-111.