We’ve all experienced a rude colleague at some point in our career, one whose antics have probably nagged at the back of our minds or kept us up at night reflecting.

And when your sleep has been affected,  a study has revealed that if you have a spouse, his or her sleep ends up affected too, particularly when they work in the same occupation or company.

The study was carried out by Portland State University (PSU) and University of Illinois researchers and published in the “Occupational Health Science” journal. It built on previous research examining the relationship between uncivil workplace antics and the sleep quality of employees in a relationship, surveying 305 couples in a variety of jobs.

Charlotte Fritz, Associate Professor of industrial and organisational psychology in PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and lead author of the study, said: “Because work-linked couples have a better idea of what’s going on in each other’s work, they can be better supporters.

“They probably know more about the context of the incivil act and might be more pulled into the venting or problem-solving process.”

That said, she stressed that while facing rude colleagues is not completely avoidable, it is important for employees to “detach from work during non-work hours by spending time with family and friends or enjoying hobbies, and practicing meditation at work and home.”

Further, employees’ spouses can do their part in supporting them to unwind away from such thoughts, in order for them both to get their sleep.

On the employer’s side, it will be good to provide a network for employees to express themselves if they are dealing with uncivil colleagues, so managers can provide help where they can. This is particularly critical because with sleep being lost over this, it in turns impacts employees’ work productivity.

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This article was first published in Human Resources Online Bulletin and is reproduced with permission. Original article can be found at http://www.humanresourcesonline.net

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