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Creating an anti-bullying workplace culture

Quite often, being too slow to name bullying behaviours that pose health and safety risks in the workplace can cost businesses millions of dollars each year through lost productivity.

Workplace bullying is repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a staff member or a group of workers that puts their health and safety at risk. Instances of workplace bullying include deliberately intending to cause physical and psychological distress and includes behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates a victim.

Here is a simple process businesses can implement to build an anti-bullying culture at work:

Bullying can be fairly easy to recognise. Forms of bullying include repeated harassment, exclusion and setting unreasonable expectations that a person is certain to fail. Recognise when staff are unhappy, quiet or unengaged with their work and whether there is a positive or toxic atmosphere in a workspace.

There is no mistaking bullying in action; the way people interact at work is a dead giveaway as to whether bullying is taking place. Examples of bullying patterns include one or several staff members converging on one or a minority of other staff members, snide comments slipped into conversations around the water cooler and the body language workers have to one another.

Bystanders of bullies are often reluctant to become involved when a bully is having a go at someone, but staying silent can be considered by many as simply accepting the practice as normal.

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