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Bullying is not just in the playground

Workplace Bullying

According to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the number of people suffering from work-related stress, depression and anxiety is on the rise.

Over the year of 2016/17, 526,000 workers reported that they were dealing with work-related stress, depression or anxiety, some of these cases were new and other long-standing issues. This accumulates to 12.5 million working days lost due to work-related illness – a huge financial strain on business and individuals alike. Out of these astounding figures, 13% of the group said that their work-related stress was caused by violence, threats or bullying. That’s a massive 68,380 adults who aren’t comfortable with their working life because of bullying.

Recognise the situation: To prevent bullying from turning into work-related stress, depression or anxiety it’s important to be able to pick up on a situation before it gets serious. Signs that you or someone else is being bullied are sometimes hard to see, so here is a list of possible behaviours that you might be able to pick up on:

Untruthfulness: If someone at work is consistently lying, not giving away information, and deceiving others then this can break people’s trust and cause them to have issues in the future.

Exclusion: A common form of bullying in the workplace is ignoring individuals from meetings, important information or generally forgetting about them in order to make them feel isolated.

Intimidation: Often seen as threatening behaviour from people in a position of power, intimidation is far too common but when confronted, can usually be resolved.

Undermining achievements: When employees are not given constructive feedback, they can start to feel like there is no way for them to progress which will knock their confidence.

Diversion: Sometimes management or employees can divert from issues that need solving. This is a form of bullying in itself and left for some time can make someone feel worthless.

Unreachable expectations: Setting impossible goals, work deadlines, or workloads is actually a form of bullying because the constant failure will have a huge impact on that person’s confidence.

Mood swings: Having to deal with people that are nice one day and horrible the next can lead to problems with communication in the future.

These are some of the more subtle signs of bullying, but now that you’re aware of them you should be able to spot any toxic behaviour around the office. More common and obvious signs of bullying include, but are not limited to; Aggression, Intrusion, Revenge, Threats, Embarrassment and Punishment.

It’s important to recognise that bullying can be extremely subtle but cause a lot of emotional damage in a short space of time. Because we are led to believe that ‘adults don’t get bulled,’ we often don’t see that people are suffering because they’re too scared to share their situation. However, if you have an openly spoken about the policy that protects employees from bullying, then they are more likely to have the confidence to speak out or at least confide in someone else should they feel victimised.

If you feel like you are being bullied, then you probably are! You should never feel like you’re overreacting, too sensitive, or just not good enough, it is the bully who you should pity and in the end, forgive. Sometimes it can be a very lonely position to be in and we understand that here at General & Medical. With each of our policies, we offer a free Health and Wellbeing service which includes a support line for people on the receiving end of bullying and harassment. When you need to talk to someone who can provide you with sensible advice, care and most importantly, confidentiality, all you need to do is reach for the phone.

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This content is subject to our Disclaimer.

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