8 Subtle Signs of Bullying in the Workplace

Posted on

November 11th, 2019


Absenteeism is a significant cause for concern among employers in all industries. If employees call out of work abruptly on a regular basis, it can cause considerable disruption to productivity and morale as well as hurt businesses’ bottom line. However, there are often underlying causes for absenteeism and one of the most common is bullying.

While bullying on the schoolyard is often easy to identify, adults don’t resort to pushing, name-calling, and other child-like methods of pushing people around. In the workplace, bullying looks quite different and employers need to keep an eye out for it if they suspect employee mistreatment is triggering unplanned absence.

The following are some behaviors and patterns that may indicate a company has an office bully:

  1. Intimidation. It’s management’s job to keep employees on task and on schedule, but there is a difference between encouragement and using overt or veiled threats to accomplish the job.
  2. Ignoring. This can manifest as failing to greet certain individuals while interacting with everyone around them or as purposefully “forgetting” to invite them to relevant meetings.
  3. Undermining work. This often occurs when management or a fellow employee prevent another individual from progressing on a project or impeding his or her ability to succeed. This can also manifest as giving away promised projects to other team members.
  4. Taking away responsibilities. When employees are overwhelmed with too much work, it’s not uncommon to redistribute some of their less important tasks. However, forcibly removing primary work from an employee without cause is often a form of bullying.
  5. Impossible or shifting deadlines. This is the reverse of the above. Oppressive managers or supervisors set the employee up to fail by assigning too many tasks on an unreasonable timetable or change priorities without notice.
  6. Extreme criticism. Impossible to please team leaders, supervisors, or managers are often workplace bullies. They fail to recognize a job well done in favor of pointing out flaws, real or perceived.
  7. Taking credit. This is usually seen in superiors that take complete credit for their subordinates’ ideas or work without offering any recognition.
  8. Over the top flattery. While this may seem pleasant at first, it’s often a tactic to soften employees to manipulation. A boss who is always crowing an individual’s praises may be preparing to ask for excessive and unreasonable requests of that employee.

Bullying behavior is rarely overt so employers need to be vigilant and implement policies to allow for confidential reporting as well as establish clear guidelines for conduct in the workplace. If you’re concerned about absenteeism, implementing an absence reporting program can help identify trends. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how we can reduce absenteeism in your workplace.

Allergies or a Summer Cold? 5 Key Indicators to Know the Difference

Posted on

August 12th, 2019


Many people associate the winter months with illnesses such as the common cold. However, people are just as easily susceptible to catching a cold in the summer months as well. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of a cold mimic those of allergies. It can be difficult to tell the two apart, and, once a sick employee comes to work, much of the damage is done. Identifying key differences between the common cold and allergies is the first step to keeping the workplace healthy.

Is it Allergies or a Cold?

The following are some of the major differences between a cold and allergies:

  1. Colds have additional symptoms. While allergy sufferers will experience sneezing, runny noses, sore throat, and congestion, individuals with a cold will also have coughing and feel generally run down.
  2. Allergies last longer. If the individual has been sneezing for weeks on end, allergies are likely the source of the problem. While allergy symptoms can be as misery-inducing as cold symptoms, allergies last much longer. Colds typically last 1-2 weeks at most.
  3. Cold symptoms fluctuate. Allergy symptoms are usually persistent and constant. Colds, however, can shift in intensity with certain symptoms being worse from day to day and even hour to hour.
  4. Cold symptoms appear in stages. For allergy sufferers, their symptoms hit all at once whereas individuals coming down with a cold experience symptoms one at a time. On day one of onset, they may wake up with a sore throat while day two may present a runny nose.
  5. Nasal discharge is not the same. Allergy sufferers tend to have clear, thin nasal discharge whereas individuals with a cold may notice yellowish to greenish mucus that is thick in consistency. This is due to an increase in white blood cells, indicating the body is fighting off an illness.

Preventing the spread of germs in the workplace is vital to keeping it operational and productive. Encouraging employees to wash their hands often and to stay home when sick can help cut down on illness in the workplace. Healthy employees are happier, more productive, and less prone to absenteeism. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how we can help your business reduce absences.

5 Ways to Foster Better Wellness through the Workplace

Posted on

May 6th, 2019


Straight from cold and flu season to allergy season, most workplaces are seeing an increase in requests for time off due to illness. While these sick days are understandable, they still have a negative effect on productivity and put additional stress on the remaining employees. Taking the following steps can help prevent the spread of illness in the office:

  1. Eat nutritious foods. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can boost immune health. Providing employees with nutritional guides, apps, or even food during the day can help to adjust unhealthy habits and improve immune system function.
  2. Use appropriate hand washing techniques. Many people don’t wash their hands correctly. Giving a cursory rinse won’t do much to rid them of germs. Employees should aim to wash their hands with soap and warm water for one minute or longer. Employees should make it a habit to wash their hands regularly, especially before eating, and proper dispensers and cleaning agents should be used.
  3. Sanitize desks and high-traffic areas. Any surfaces that employees interact with regularly are breeding grounds for germs. The flu virus can live for an extended period of time without a host, so it’s easy to spread it around the office. Further, pollen, pet dander, and other contaminants get tracked in from outside and can aggravate allergies and sensitivities among colleagues. Using a sanitizer on surfaces and objects employees touch regularly can help reduce the spread of inflammation, disease, and other stressors.
  4. Encourage sick employees to stay home. Many employees feel compelled to return to work before they are fully recovered. This is a two-fold problem. For one, the employee may relapse from pushing too hard too soon, causing an even longer delay in their return. Another issue is that they may still be contagious and infect other employees. Ensure that you provide your employees with an adequate amount of sick time, that processes are in place in each team for such occasions, and that working from home during recovery is as easy as possible but not compulsory.
  5. Review sick leave policies. Employees need to understand their paid time off for sick leave and their options should they use it all. Employers also need to remain cognizant of protected leave such as time off that falls under the ADA or FMLA. Employers should also consider allowing employees to work from home following an illness. The CDC recommends employees stay home for a full 24 hours after they are fever-free without the assistance of medicine. While they may feel well enough to work, they could still be contagious.

Taking steps to ensure employees stay healthy is a great way to prevent absences due to illnesses. To learn more about absence management, contact the experts at Actec.