Finance News & Insights

Antisocial co-workers: Minor inconvenience or ticking time-bomb?

Most companies are forced to tolerate some antisocial behavior from problem employees, but there are some very compelling reasons out there to do otherwise.

From taking credit for others’ work to spreading nasty, unfounded rumors to excluding co-workers (or promoting cliques), chances are your finance department isn’t immune to workers who show these tendencies.

Many managers shrug it off as an unfortunate reality every company has to deal with. But the effects of antisocial behavior on its victims can be devastating.

Harvard Business Review’s Christine Porath and Christine Pearson studied office incivility for the past decade and came to some startling conclusions.

According to their research, targets of antisocial co-workers have responses ranging from anger to vengeance — plus their job satisfaction and productivity drops dramatically.

Also, while some good employees jump ship because of troublesome co-workers, the ones that stay actually cause the most damage.

According to the research, based on responses from several thousand managers and employees from a broad spectrum of industries, victims of co-worker incivility exhibit:

  • decreased work effort (48%),
  • less time in the office (47%), and
  • diminished quality of work (38%).

Figures like these make a strong case for taking some type of action against the worst culprits — especially if you’ve been lax in the past. Click here to read proven strategies for dealing with problem employees.

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  • It just so happens, I am going through this at my job right now. People spreading rumours about me saying I said something about my supervisor, but no one will fess up about it. I am so sick and tired of people who don’t have anything else better to do than spread rumours. We are adults, I thought! And I am definitely no one’s butt kisser either! But it seems the one who is the butt kisser is the one who gets away with everything, and I’m the one who has to do the work and get overwhelmed! So, I am keeping quiet and not getting involved with people in the office. If it is not work-related, I don’t want to hear it!

    • It is better to keep your distance and continue doing your job.

      Forget those people because they surely have nothing better to do.

  • Jim

    I work with an office of these personalities. I am the outsider because I want to work and do a good job.
    The rest want to do as little as possible. I am being driven out. This house needs to be cleaned.

  • Anon

    I’m experiencing a lot of anti-social behaviour at my workplace. I mean if you’re going to be seeing people at work everyday the least you can do is make a concerted effort to try and make acquaintances with them, but no, it’s as if I’m annoying a lot of my co-workers when I smile and say hello as a greeting and try and strike up little conversations. I’m not even going to bother anymore. Money on my mind, forget everything else from now on as far as I’m concerned. I’m not there to make friends. It’s not as if I’m going to be having in-depth philosophical debates with them, but these people are sad…I mean don’t they get bored? They work like robots and show no emotion most of the time. They are totally dry individuals. Now I’m not the most extroverted person, but these lot take the cake. The worst thing is the cliques. All of the foreign students group up and don’t even try to blend in. They all talk in their own language all the time and quite frankly it gets annoying. Whenever they want to talk dirt they switch to their native tongue, it’s so obvious. Then there’s the dick of a team leader who talks to me as if he’s giving out commands. I’m not your slave bitch, if you want me to do something then there’s a way of talking to me! If you want me to do overtime then ask me nicely, don’t tell me that I’m staying! Don’t make me have my break 20 minutes before I finish and then tell me to leave! What a dick move!

    • I do agree.

      You go to a job to do what you are paid to do. But, the baggage that comes with the job is troublesome co-workers/supervisors.

      If we do not have to deal with other employees/employers who are so despicable, self-centered, blind, annoying, etc., we can probably work at any job including McDonald’s.

  • Troublesome co-workers can motivate you to improve your job performance. But, what if they target you again? If you cannot do anything or you let the supervisor(s) know and he or she does nothing, then you might have to leave and find somewhere else to work.

    Or another option: confronting those co-workers even if it means getting a suspension or termination from your job.