Home> Desk Rage

From:  http://www.thetimes.co.za/Careers/Article.aspx?id=804080

Desk Rage

Nearly half of US workers report shouting and verbal abuse on the job. One-sixth reported property damage.
Anger in the workplace — employees and employers who are grumpy, insulting, short-tempered or worse — is surprisingly common and probably growing as Americans cope with the woes of rising costs, job uncertainty and overwhelming debt, experts say.
“It runs the gamut from plain rudeness to pretty abusive behaviour,” said Paul Spector, professor of industrial and organisational psychology at the University of South Florida. “The severe cases of fatal violence get a lot of press, but in some ways this is more insidious because it affects millions of people.”
Nearly half of US workers report shouting and verbal abuse on the job, with roughly a quarter saying it has driven them to tears, research shows. Other research shows one-sixth of workers reported anger at work has led to property damage, while a tenth reported physical violence and fear their workplace might not be safe.
“It’s a total disaster,” said Anna Maravelas, author of How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress. “Rudeness, impatience, people being angry — we used to do that kind of stuff at home, but at work we were professional.
Now it’s almost becoming trendy to do it at work,” she said. “Now people are losing their sense of embarrassment over it.”
Contemporary pressures such as rising fuel costs fan the flames, said John Challenger, head of Chicago’s Challenger, Gray & Christmas workplace consultants. “People are coming to work after a long commute, sitting in traffic watching their discretionary income burn up. They’re ready for a fight or just really upset.”
Added to that, he said, are financially strapped workers having to cut back on paying for personal pastimes that might serve as an antidote to work pressures. “People come to work after a weekend and they haven’t been able to let off any steam,” he said.
Spector said his research has found 2% to 3% of people admit to pushing, slapping or hitting someone at work. With roughly 100 million people in the US workforce, that’s three million people.
Maravelas said she conducted a seminar in Iowa recently and asked participants if they thought anger was increasing at the workplace. Everyone raised their hands. She cited research showing 88% of employees think rudeness is on the rise at work. “Many of us sense that we’re losing ground economically and socially. The safety net is unravelling. Hence, anxiety and unease are rocketing,” she said.
People reassure themselves by blaming others and “find comfort in believing that their suffering is caused by a callous, incompetent or selfish organisation, leader, supplier, union or regulatory body”.
The worst offenders are overachievers, said Rachelle Canter, a workplace expert and social psychologist.
“The usual profile is Type A, really smart, with impossibly high standards they set for themselves as well as for others. They are so invested, maybe over-invested, in success and in everyone being every bit as driven as they are that they lose their sense of perspective, and they can lash out at other people,” said Canter, author of Make the Right Career Move.
But desk rage extends across industry and class lines, and firms pay dearly in terms of lost productivity, sagging morale and higher absenteeism, Spector said. The worst cases end in violence . “Somebody didn’t just come to work one day and shoot somebody. There’s probably been a pattern leading up to it.” — Reuters

'Desk Rage' Supersedes Road Rage

From: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=383107&rel_no=1
 A new phenomenon, "desk rage," is said to be sweeping the United States. It has taken over from "road rage" and is leading to extremely abusive behavior in the workplace, according to new research.
 Almost half of American employees surveyed revealed they had been subject to "yelling and verbal abuse" at work, while 10 percent said they had suffered physical violence and feared their workplace "might not be safe." Experts are blaming pressures such as the rising cost of living -- and particularly rocketing fuel costs -- for this increase in unacceptable behavior.
People are arriving at work stressed out, having had a weekend when they cannot afford to enjoy any leisure pursuits to unwind. And then, they are forced to sit in traffic jams, seeing their vehicle's highly expensive fuel burning away before their eyes, before arriving for more pressure at their place of employment.
 Surveys have shown 88 percent of US employees believe "incivility" is increasing at work, while 3 percent have admitted to "pushing, slapping or hitting" a colleague. But this behavior is not confined to the US.
 As long ago as November, 2006, statistics compiled by the National Readership Survey revealed sales of daily "popular" papers were down 4.95 percent compared with November 2005; daily midmarket papers were down 2.18 percent and daily "qualities" were down 2.74 percent. So the total daily market was down 3.72 percent. The situation worsened last year, with all the U.K.'s regional morning newspapers suffering a fall in sales in the second half of 2007. (...)
Advertising revenue is widely said to be in decline as a result of recession.
And while many newspapers try to exist side-by-side with their associated Web sites, it is a widely held belief that the boom in Internet-based news will eventually kill the old-fashioned printed press.
 Many people at my workplace, for one, have been in the traditional newspaper industry for some 20-plus years. They are from the "old school" of journalism, whereby a printed newspaper is the end product. Mention the newspaper's new Web site and they recoil in horror, seeing it as a threat to their traditional working practices and the eventual loss of jobs in the printing and sub-editing industry.
(...) http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=383107&rel_no=1

Workplace Coach: What you can do to reduce job stress

From:  http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/367887_workcoach23.html
(...) According to a Northwestern National Life survey, one out of four workers view their jobs as the No. 1 stress in their lives (40 percent of workers surveyed said their job was "very or extremely stressful"). I help my clients find ways to decrease work stress factors that contribute to a long list of health concerns (migraines, anxiety attacks, sleep deprivation, etc.). Many report working 80-hour weeks and routinely facing morning inboxes with more than 200 new messages -- with no end in sight. The price is high: skyrocketing illness, friction between co-workers ("desk rage") and lower productivity. Workers return home to their families short-tempered and depleted, often anxious about unfinished work, resulting in an inability to recharge. (...)
What causes workplaces to be in this state of constant overdrive? Increasing global competition, a tightening economy and excessive performance expectations all drive the ever-spinning hamster wheel. The information age is our blessing and our curse. Technology has made it easy to communicate and difficult to ever get away from the job. BlackBerrys, PDAs and laptops keep many workers tethered to their work, including on the well-deserved family vacation to Hawaii. If you find yourself sneaking out of the hotel room late at night, or slipping off the beach to compulsively check just "a few e-mails," you might just have a problem. (If in doubt, ask your family.) (...)