Having nasty coworkers increases the chance of dying early, Israeli scientists found when surveying employees at a range of companies for two decades. Unkindliness is just one manifestation of a much bigger phenomenon called mobbing. People who are mobbed are openly or subliminally abused and humiliated until their self-worth is seriously damaged.
MOBBING MAKES YOU SICK
People who experience mobbing often lack a trusted contact to talk to or are scared of being perceived as weak or overly sensitive. Moreover, verbal abuse can be hard to prove as it often happens when there’s no one else to witness it.
Sometimes superiors or customers ruthlessly take advantage of their special status to push through their interests. People suffering from such actions often feel frustrated and helpless, and as a result experience significant stress. Over time, mobbing can cause mental and physical illnesses.
STRESS IS CONTAGIOUS
Everybody knows the cliché of the bad-tempered boss who scares his subordinates to death; it’s a prime example of secondhand stress.
Coworkers can also become stressors, for example when pacing through the office, running late for meetings or staring at the screen of their phone, unable to follow a conversation.
Their nervousness weighs on their colleagues and at the same time degrades them, as impatience and a lack of attention suggest the communication and time spent together is wasted.
SOLIDARITY BREEDS SELF-CONFIDENCE
There’s no room for such behavior in a healthy work environment. Mutual care, empathy, constructive communication and emotional support makes for productive, decisive and motivated employees.
A healthy working atmosphere also reduces the number of sick days. Facing the rapidly growing number of mental health issues caused by chronic stress, companies will be forced to create a more constructive work environment by taking the needs and limits of its employees seriously.