Wednesday October 24th, 2012, 9:40 am
In the USA, October is national prevent bullying month. We do not appear to have anything similar in the UK which is a shame especially as there have been a few cases of young people committing suicide through feeling bullied on Facebook etc.
Email too can easily be used to bully people. For example leaving insufficient time to reply, constantly sending email reminders and demands. Sending rude, arrogant and abrasive emails can be stressful too for the recipient. Attaching read receipt and reminder flags might also be deemed bully tactics. Such harassment is a drain on productivity as found previously. Perhaps the most serious form of email bullying is expecting people to reply too quickly and often outside acceptable working hours. Moreover, email bullying adds to the email overload and hence stress levels.
Any form of bullying is to be deplored and is unacceptable. Social technologies and email have just made it easier to do in a hidden and often covert manner. Deleting and/or ignoring such emails is not an option.
VW recently stopped sending email to workers Blackberrys thirty minutes after their shift ended. That is taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut.
At Mesmo Consultancy we have found a more informed a sustainable solution is to implement a proper email management code of conduct and email best practice charter. It should contain both what is acceptable email behaviour and the procedure if you are on the receiving end of email bullying.
Have you ever been bullied by email? Does your organisation have such an email management code of conduct?