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Aug 192009

Buy "The Cost of Bad Behavior" from AmazonAccording to the co authors of a new book from the US, bad behaviour and rudeness in the workplace could be costing companies billions in lost productivity.

Professor Christine Porath of the USC Marshall School of Business and her co-author Christine Pearson, a professor of management at Thunderbird School of Global Management, discovered just how much poor manners at work can impact a company’s bottom line while researching "The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It”.

Behaviour like texting in meetings, spreading malicious rumours, taking credit for other people’s work, ignoring emails and even refusing to say a simple "please" and "thank you" are much more than just annoyances, say the authors, who claim that stress caused by bad behaviour could be costing businesses a staggering $300 billion by affecting the performance of those on the receiving end.

The Authors’ research suggests that eight out of 10 employees who are victims of insults or bullying in the workplace lose work time worrying about it, while a similar proportion feel that their commitment to work declines as a direct result. Civility costs nothing, but implementing a culture of civility in the workplace could have real payback in terms of productivity and bottom line profits. "It starts with the top," Porath insists. "There should be a thread of civility through everything a company does." When these threads start to break down, she warns, companies are in danger of losing their best employees, to the long-term detriment of the business. Even with currently high levels of unemployment she points out that there’s still "huge concern with Human Resource executives that there’s a shortage of talent. Businesses are fighting for talent."

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Aug 052009
Swine Flu

Image by The Artifex via Flickr

Ireland seems to have avoided the brunt of the Influenza A(H1N1) swine flu pandemic to date. As of the 28th of July there were a total of 276 laboratory confirmed cases of the disease in the state, 38 of which were classed "in country" transmissions (passed from person to person within the country, as opposed to being picked up outside Ireland and brought in). That’s a fairly small number, but one of the characteristics of a pandemic is the tendency for small numbers to turn into big numbers very quickly.

Last week an estimated 1,500 suspected cases of swine flu were reported to Irish GPs, and a glance across the water to our nearest neighbour, Britain, which is top of the European league table for Swine Flu infections by quite some margin, reveals a worrying trend. There were an estimated 100,000 new cases of swine flu in the UK during the week ending the 19th of July. That’s almost double the figure for the week before, with the numbers typically doubling week-on-week. Meanwhile infections here continue to rise sharply, and public health officials warn that it’s only a matter of time before Ireland’s first swine flu related death occurs.

In Britain, the pandemic is already having an impact on the workplace. Figures released last week by absence management firm FirstCare revealed that 130,000 people stayed off work with cold and flu symptoms on the 14th of July, up from 45,000 a week earlier. Here the HSE is advising Irish businesses to gear up for increased absenteeism in the workplace as the pandemic takes hold.

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