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Could covid-19 further exacerbate toxic workplace culture?

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by Startacus Admin

covid 19 workplace culture
HR software platform Breathe, used by over 8,000 SMEs in the UK, has found that toxic workplace culture is costing the UK economy £15.7 billion per year, as 1 in 5 (21%) employees quit their job due to poor company culture. 

Could covid-19 further exacerbate this issue? 

After surveying 2,503 SME decision makers and employees, Breathe has just released, ‘The Culture Economy 2020’ report revealing that 1 in 5 (21%) of SME employees quit their job due to poor workplace culture. But in light of the current coronavirus situation and reports that over 9 million people are expected to be furloughed, concern should be given that remote working may exacerbate that culture further. 

The Culture Economy 2020 report is in its second year, a follow up from its 2018 benchmark. The report includes an extensive range of primary and secondary evidence on culture and its wider impacts to health and wellbeing, productivity, society, psychology and beyond. 

The report found that one-third (33%) of SME decision makers experienced or witnessed workplace bullying in the past year. In addition, 31% of business leader respondents toxic workplace cultureexperienced or handled harassment cases in the last year. Interestingly, most employees (57%) reported that senior management handled the situation poorl

With Zoom and other remote meeting tools a commonly used platform during this period of remote working, workplace bullying could sadly become a more behind-closed-door reality for some.

Jonathan Richards, CEO and co-founder at Breathe commented:

“Although we’re seeing fewer people quit their jobs due to bad company culture than a couple of years ago, I urge SMEs not to take their focus off company culture right now. Given the current pandemic, employers cannot ignore culture problems if they want people to continue delivering for them.

“During these unprecedented times, your people need proper leadership, support and reassurance – if you want to achieve business continuity. Building and maintaining a positive culture is challenging enough in normal circumstances, so now more than ever it’s crucial to focus on keeping the culture alive across a remote workforce.”

The report also highlighted that toxic culture fuels staff churn with women more likely (23%) to leave a job due to culture than men (18%). 

With covid-19 lockdowns unlikely to end in the coming weeks, it will be even more important to ensure that working employees are engaged and properly supported so they can continue to deliver for the business and customers. 

Jonathan Geldart, Director General, IoD also said: "We must be aware that as economies tighten, especially during these times of economic and health crisis, pressure and stress levels will rise and as a collective we need to make sure mental health is top priority, as well as treating others with respect. Bullying behaviour and harassment at their core cause deep unhappiness, and this unhappiness in a culture can make or break a business. It's important we don't lose sight of the necessity in keeping talented employees happy.”


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Published on: 16th April 2020

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