What You Need to Know about Stopping Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a serious issue, and it has unfortunately become all too common, especially in today's uncertain job market. Employees are under extra pressure to perform at a higher level in order to ensure job security, which in turn can cause certain individuals to overreact to stress.

Aside from the fact that the average worker may react irrationally, there are also people that are quick to react no matter what the situation, and in a work environment, things can turn violent rather quickly. While there are no 100% fool-proof methods to completely stop the possibility of workplace violence, here are some tips for both employees and employers that can assist in protecting the workplace as well as avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Employers: Practice Zero Tolerance 

One way for employers to minimize workplace violence is to implement a zero tolerance policy for bullying and while on the job. The reality is often that workplace bullies are not punished properly after their first incident, which unfortunately gives the bully a distorted sense of power. While the idea of adult bullies may sound ridiculous, the truth is that they exist both in and out of the workplace. Any threat against another person must be taken seriously, no matter how trivial it may sound at the time.

Excessive bullying of co-workers often leads to violence, and many times it is the victim that has finally had enough. Everyone has seen their share of news stories where a disgruntled employee brings a gun to work and violence ensues, and while employers may not always be able to avoid this type of behavior, inflicting serious consequences on the workplace bully after their first offense may help to minimize it.

Employees: Avoid Conflict, Report Offenders 

The best way for employees to avoid workplace violence is to do their best to avoid conflict. When you arrive at the workplace, make the conscious decision to go about your day and complete your tasks. Violence and workplace arguments can be avoided if one party simply does not engage, and when it comes to bullies, they often move on if they are not getting any type of reaction from their chosen victim.

If you are aware that there is workplace bullying going on, or if any co-worker is exhibiting odd behavior or signs that they may become violent at some point in the future, it is important to report these observations to your immediate supervisor so they can get a handle on the situation. When you report the situation to your superior, you can request to remain anonymous in order to avoid possible retaliation.

Employers: Use Fair Hiring Practices 

Today's job world is completely different than it was a decade ago, and it has become a common trend for employers to hire individuals at a lower pay rate with the same amount of (and sometimes additional) job duties that at one point in time would have paid a lot more. This can lead to excess stress in the workplace, and it can also lead to workers feeling under-appreciated for the work they do.

When people are under stress and harboring resentment it can lead to a lack of morale and unnecessary blow ups between co-workers. While everyone has to tighten their belts in today's economy, it is important for employers to be fair when it comes to their hiring practices and do their best to pay the employees a fair rate for their work. This will help create a balanced and positive work environment, which in turn will minimize the chance of fighting among employees.

A Peaceful Work Environment 

While there is never a 100% guarantee that every day on the job will run smoothly, employers can have a better handle on workplace violence by taking the time to implement zero tolerance policies and doing their best to create a fair and stable work environment. Employees can assist in minimizing workplace violence by completing their job tasks as expected, avoiding conflict with other workers, and reporting anything they feel could lead to a violent incident. By working together and finding a balance among employer and employee, the workplace can be a comfortable environment where everyone feels safe and secure.

Lynn Darsow is a home and workplace security consultant. She enjoys passing on her knowledge on the subject through blogging. Learn more at selecthomesecurity.com.

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