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Published 12 September 2012 06:17, Updated 13 September 2012 07:01
Apparently, we are behaving badly in the workplace. Most of us have snubbed someone at work and over half of us have taken something from work that doesn’t belong to us.
And there’s more: 22 per cent take sick days when we are well enough to work.
A survey by SACs Consulting paints a pretty gloomy picture of the workplace. It makes us look as if we are all cast members from the British comedy The Office, lollygagging about all day, but the problem is, I don’t believe we are like that at all.
The survey was taken from 2049 online responses from people who had applied for professional positions through SACs Consulting (a human resources and online psychology firm), with an average age of 43.
According to the media release from the company:
“At least two thirds of us have been rude to colleagues and over 90 per cent have disparaged the organisation they work for at least once,” Andrew Marty, psychologist and managing director of SACS Consulting, is quoted as saying.
Marty says many clients who had seen these findings were surprised and concerned by how common some of these behaviours were.
This bad behaviour can “create a downward spiral into truly negative behaviour such as widespread bullying and harassment”, according to the release.
SACs Consulting is selling an online assessment to identify risk in prospective employees.
This survey just annoys me and the reason is that its conclusions don’t reflect the world I see around me. It is not that I think the survey respondents were not telling the truth, but there is no context to their answers.
Take question one: When I have been ill but not so ill that I could not attend work, I have taken a sick day.
If you were to answer that question honestly, what would you say? Would your workmates be pleased you had struggled in to spread the Flu around, or would they rather you stayed at home to recuperate. “Soldier on” seems to be the message here.
Question two: I have left jobs in the past because I could not get on with someone I worked with.
Well, research consistently shows that people stay for good managers and leave bad ones. If your manager was difficult to get along with, or the culture was toxic, would that be a black mark against your departure?
Question three: When I am at work I have found myself distracted by activities such as conversing with colleagues on non-work related matters.
That is called “socialising” and it is something that many companies encourage in order to create a pleasant and co-operative work environment.
Question Four: I have found it necessary to be impolite to others at work.
Well, that one is unfortunate, but at least twice in my career, I have been frustrated enough to shout. I am wondering about the implication of the word “necessary” here though.
Question five: I have taken the property of organisations I have worked for.
What are we talking about here? A pen or a notebook that makes it’s way home in your bag? Or a computer?
Question six: I have ignored or not followed safety or Occupational Health and Safety rules at work.
This finding was described as “chilling”. What do you do when the safety drill starts in your building? Escape down the lift when you hear that it is in the offing? Or take off your heels and descend 25 floors-worth of fire stairs? And how high have you set your desk anyway?
Question seven: I have been critical of organisations I have worked for to others.
Well, there’s a reason we left the last job and it wasn’t because we loved it. Why would you hide your bad experiences from others? That would be just plain dishonest.
Question eight: I have ignored or got around policies at work which I did not respect.
If you did not respect them, maybe you had a good reason. Just because there is a rule, it doesn’t mean that it is a good one. And besides, there are plenty of management writers who will tell you that people don’t become successful by doing what they are told.
Question nine: If I don’t like someone at work I have ignored or snubbed them.
Again, perhaps you have good reason not to like them and ignoring them may be better than the alternative, which may end up being outright conflict.
So, do you think these results add up to bad behaviour? I say it ain’t necessarily so.