Your mother may have always told you to mind your manners, but manners are the first thing to go in hectic office environments.
Christine Porath reported for The New York Times that 50 percent of employees were too overloaded and 40 percent had no time to be friendly and polite to co-workers.
“Employees are less creative when they feel disrespected and many get fed up and leave,” Porath and Christine Pearson reported for Harvard Business Review. “About half deliberately decrease their effort or lower the quality of their work. And incivility damages customer relationships.”
After experiencing incivility, 48 percent decreased their work effort, 47 percent spent less time at work, 66 percent saw a decline in their performances and 25 percent took their frustration out on employees, according to the HBR.
Common incivilities include interrupting people, being judgemental, showing no interest in opinions, taking the best tasks, swearing and putting people down, Porath reported.
Another very common incivility many people surveyed admitted to doing themselves was answering texts or emails during meetings.
“While offering us enormous conveniences, electronic communication also leads to misunderstandings,” Porath wrote in The New York Times. “It’s easy to misread intentions. We can take out our frustrations, hurl insults and take people down a notch from a safe distance.”
Many of these incivilities are easy to rectify, but people aren’t very eager to do so.
Twenty-five percent of people said they felt going out of their way to be nice would make them less leader-like, and 40 percent said they felt they would get taken advantage of, according to The New York Times. However, this isn’t entirely true. Even just smiling makes you appear more skilled, civil and warmer, The New York Times reported.
In order to cut down on incivility, express appreciation to those you work with, get feedback from co-workers and reward good behavior, HBR suggests.
Inc. reported that Ochsner Health Systems instituted a 10/5 rule, which encouraged workers to make eye contact with those that came within 10 feet of their desk and greet those that came within 5 feet.
This, combined with a no venting in shared spaces policy, helped fight incivility by making everyone feel welcome and wanted.
Michael Leiter, who helps workplaces identify potential problems and create plans to solve them, suggested brainstorming certain office cues for letting co-workers know when they need to discuss something that happened while they are working with customers, Rebecca Clay reported for the American Psychological Association.
"A big part of the intervention is just to get people to talk about their relationships rather than just getting ticked off with people and complaining to their friends," Leiter said. "That's part of your professional responsibility: to maintain good working relationships just like you maintain equipment and report breakdowns."
Shelby Slade is a writer for Deseret News National. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: shelbygslade.