Take a Stand Against Bullying Today
Many schools are taking part today (Oct. 1) in Blue Shirt Day: World Day of Bullying Prevention. Wearing the color symbolizes unity in the effort to reduce and prevent bullying, cyberbullying, hatred, and violence. According to the group STOMP Out Bullying, as many as 160,000 students stay home on any given day because they are afraid of their bullies and/or just can’t take the pain anymore.
While it would be wonderful to think that bullying ends when children grow up and realize the error of their ways, the fact is that adults often treat one another in unkind ways, too. As this Forbes article notes, an estimated 37% of American workers have been bullied at the office or repeatedly mistreated in a health-harming way.
The toll of bullying is high on both the individual and corporate levels. Just like the children who miss school because of bullying, adults may take time off to avoid facing culprits. About 45% of individuals targeted by bullies at work suffer stress-related health problems, ranging from cardiovascular problems to debilitating anxiety. Obviously, absenteeism affects productivity, but employees who are fearful or distracted when in the office cannot be expected to put forth their best efforts either.
Arizona State University's Project for Wellness and Work-Life suggests that victims figure out a rational way to tell their stories to colleagues, bosses, or human resources while managing their emotions. Emphasizing your competence and showing consideration for others' perspectives is also crucial.
On the flipside, take a moment today to examine your own behavior to ensure you’re not the cause of somebody else’s discomfort. Making fun of a co-worker, excluding somebody from your lunch group, or publicly yelling at a colleague or belittling her ideas all make for an uncomfortable workplace. An office where all workers feel safe ultimately benefits everyone.