We tend to think of bullying as a problem faced by children. We assume that once one graduates from high school, it goes away. But that’s not true.
Many bullies simply never grow out of it, and continue to bully other people in college and in the workplace. Workplace bullying is quite a significant problem. In fact, bullying can cause symptoms quite similar to PTSD. But when it comes to the workplace, it can also cause increased absences and turnover rates.
Interestingly, a recent study from Denmark has found that men and women respond to workplace bullying in different ways. The study revealed that women general take more sick days in order to escape the bullying for a while. Women were also more likely to turn to antidepressants or other medication to cope with the situation.
Men, on the other hand, tended to exit the workforce for a while. They were far more likely than women to look for another job altogether, which can impact pay raises since they have to start over so often.
But while men and women cope with workplace bullying in different ways, they face it at nearly the same rate, with 43% of respondents being men. The researchers did find that men were more likely to be exposed to physical intimidation, presumably because physically violence among men is normalized, while physical violence against women is frowned upon. And while this does not diminish the effects of sexual harassment, violence, or threats in the workplace, bullying does seem to be more common, probably because it’s harder to define and pinpoint.
While researchers want to dig deeper into the problem and find ways to help people being bullied, we need to start finding solutions in the meantime. Addressing workplace bullying may sound silly, but it can have serious side effects. Companies owe it to their employees to do so, especially if that bullying is being done by management. There needs to be a process put in place so that employees know who they can turn to if they’re feeling mistreated.