Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Supervisor Newsletter

Newsletter-July 2017

Q. I am concerned about an employee who works too much and may be at risk for burnout or may be straining relationships outside work. The employee also spends time helping other employees. I would like to refer my employee to Personal Assistance Service. Since that person always has outstanding work performance, it would appear that there is no valid reason to make a Personal Assistance Service referral. However their pattern of overworking seems unusually high.

A. Create a plan for your employee outlining specifically what you consider to be a reasonable workload. Employees with strong work ethics are to be admired, but it appears you are observing something far different. You might consider encouraging a self-referral to Personal Assistance Service based on your concern that the employee's level of working too much could be indicative of some other personal issue. All employees bring their personalities to work and sometimes certain tendencies can lead to behavioral concerns if not moderated. These issues often do not necessarily interfere with occupational functioning or become measurable concerns for management. However, when they do, disturbances in personal and work boundaries will typically become noticeable. Personal Assistance Service can help employees address issues.

Q. My employee complained to human resources that I was bullying them. I don't consider myself to be a bully. I often use humor with my employees, and I guess my dry humor didn't sit well with this particular employee. HR did not determine that I was exhibiting bullying behavior, but I am concerned enough about the employee's perception of being bullied that I am trying to change my communication style. Has bullying in the workplace been overblown?

A. Bullying in the workplace is pervasive and is now viewed as a serious occupational hazard by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety. The 2017 survey on workplace bullying was released recently by the Workplace Bullying Institute. Their key findings include:

  • 19 percent of Americans report being bullied at work, and another 19 percent report having witnessed bullying at work
  • 61 percent of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace
  • 70 percent of perpetrators are men, and 60 percent of targets are women
  • 61 percent of bullies are bosses
  • 40 percent of bullied targets are believed to suffer adverse health effects.

The statistics above reflect the serious human and economic costs of bullying. Although you were not found to be a bully, making employees the target of jokes can be intimidating and lead to a host of other employment-related complaints like harassment. You recognize the value of creating meaningful relationships with your employees, and Personal Assistance Service can help you with developing a communication style that will nurture more satisfying workplace relationships.