Work may cause stress at home

By Jade Mardirosian
Staff Writer

If you find yourself treating a family member or loved one rudely after a stressful day at work due to disrespectful co-workers, beware, because your actions could have unforseen consequences.

A recent Baylor study published online in the Journal of Organizational Behavior has found interacting with rude co-workers has an impact on employees’ home lives.

“What I found was that the stress does follow them home and that stress tends to impact marital satisfaction,” Merideth Ferguson, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and author of the study, said. “The most interesting and surprising part of the study showed stress that comes home with them, the spouse then takes to work and it keeps them from doing their job as well as they might otherwise.”

Data for the study was gathered in 2008 from 190 people with different types of jobs from across the United States. Employees and their spouses completed two different types of surveys.

Ferguson said her interest in the topic came from knowing a number of colleagues from her master’s in business administration program who dealt with toxic work environments.

Students also experience the negative affects of rude co-workers. A Baylor student who works as an assistant at a law office in Waco claimed the lack of civility often affects her personal life. She asked to remain anonymous because she works in a small office and could possibly face negative repercussions for speaking about her work environment.

“When the attorney is around it’s kind of hostile, and I feel like the attorney doesn’t respect his administrative assistant,” the student said. “He curses at her and belittles her, and he makes it obvious he thinks she’s not intelligent.”

The student said that it makes her nervous to approach her co-workers and she often feels the effects of their hostility even when she has left the office.

“I feel stressed when I leave work and I feel like I snap more easily because I’ve been exposed to it at work all day,” the student said.

Ferguson said that it might help employees affected by hostility to focus on work only when they are there and to make sure and focus on their family at home.

The student said that she is trying this method to cope with the stress of her own work environment.

“I just try to tune [my co-workers] out so that I don’t get affected by their negativity,” she said. “When I leave work, I try to leave those emotions at work and not carry them with me.”

Ferguson further clarified that people who experience chronic rudeness in their work environment may need to take more serious measures to ensure that other aspects of their lives are not negatively affected, Ferguson said.

“People who experience a chronic rudeness, I would suggest get help with stress management techniques. Rudeness and instability can result in things like anxiety and depression, so we suggest people get in touch with a counselor,” Ferguson said. “If it starts impacting their physical and mental health, they should seek a job elsewhere.”