This is a CALL TO ACTION for us all to change our workplace lives in order to change our home lives as well.  If you are a manager in a toxic workplace, is it affecting your home life as well?  Just like any other virus, it affects profit.  Unhappy employees cannot provide the quality you need.  Stop the workplace bullies and those who insist on incivility and get on the road to recovery from this highly contagious virus.

Given that the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over his/her lifetime, it is not a stretch to surmise that the workplace is where many of us catch the incivility virus.  And then, like any virulent strain, we’re taking it home and passing it on.  This is a CALL TO ACTION for us all to change our workplace lives in order to change our home lives as well.  Researchers from Baylor University confirm that people who endure incivility at work often take that stress home with them.  This can have negative effects on their family and marriages — and even potentially impact their spouse’s jobs. The researchers explained that when employees go home stressed and distracted, their partners must often pick up the slack and assume more family responsibilities.  These greater demands at home may then interfere with that spouse’s performance at work.

“This research underlines the importance of stopping incivility before it starts so that the ripple effect of incivility does not impact the employee’s family,” said study author Merideth Ferguson, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Baylor University Hankamer School of Business in a university news release.

“Otherwise,” she continued, “…the toxic atmosphere at work may potentially inflict further damage beyond the workplace…and cross over into the workplace of the partner.”

In surveying 190 full-time workers and their partners, the researchers also found that stress took a toll on the workers’ marriages.  Complicating matters, they noted that 75% of these couples had children living in their household.  The study’s authors argued that organizations must address the far-reaching and detrimental effects that ugly behavior in the workplace can have among employees and their families.   It’s not too difficult to imagine that once the virus is in our homes and our families are infected, that it is then spread to our neighbours and to the people we interact with directly or indirectly be it at the grocery store; or when visiting a school; at church; or on our vacations, etc.  If such things as road rage; petty crime; poor customer service; fraud; bullying in the workplace and elsewhere; a lack of restraint in the public forum; parents behaving badly at children’s sporting events and so on, are not indications of the contagious aspect of incivility, I don’t know what is.

If you are a worker, it is hard to believe that there is another place where you can work in peace.  This leads to a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness for the future.  It is like a contagious cough that doesn’t go away or a sick feeling when getting up in the morning anticipating another work day.

Still, we must try our best to answer incivility with civility; bullying with kindness; and understand that our loved ones cannot help but be infected by this contagious, toxic atmosphere.  We all, workers and management, can do so much better.