(WTNH) – A new study says rudeness can spread in the office just like a cold.
Health.com reports that the study, done for the Journal of Applied Psychology by researchers from the University of Florida, tracked 90 graduate business school students practicing negotiation techniques with multiple people over seven weeks.
The study found that those who rated people as rude were far more likely to be rated as rude themselves by another person and that there was no control over the spread of rudeness.
“Anything from simple insults to ignoring a co-worker, to purposely dis-including someone or withholding information, can create the toxic environment,” the study’s lead author Trevor Foulk explained to Health.com.
Health.com explains that if someone experiences rudeness, it leaves a much bigger impression than you might think. The experience even creates a bias towards future experiences. They gave the example that if someone makes a rude comment to you in the lunchroom, you are then more likely to be rude to someone else when you are in the lunchroom.
Workplace rudeness is very common. The study reports that 98% of employees have experienced it before and 50% experience workplace rudeness weekly.
The study’s author suggests that while you can’t control unconscious bias, make an effort not to be rude in the first place and communicate as clearly as possible so people don’t misinterpret what you say as rude.
It’s important to make these changes because workplace rudeness is linked to stress at home.