Combating work-to-home undermining spillover

Combating work-to-home undermining spillover
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 10 March, 2022


If home is where heart is then, why not ‘work is where heart is'? A comfortable work environment fosters maximum productivity and consequently a happy employee makes a happy home. This basically is a full circle of interdependent factors. According to a research conducted by Larissa K. Barber, Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University, on " Work-to-Home Undermining", employees who face undermining at work automatically show similar behaviour at home, which is simply a spillover of the built on aggression and humiliation which is accumulated throughout a bad day at work. The research suggests that undermining at workplace results in poor sleep quality, which in turn results in bad behaviour at home, and work. As per the findings; employees who exercise on a regular basis are less likely to be affected by workplace undermining. Knowing the chain of actions and reactions in the given scenario, the employer needs to understand four key points:
  • Maintaining a moderate and positive work environment, fosters the well being of the employees.
  • Presence of undermining or demeaning behaviour amongst employees not only affects their ‘at-work behaviour' but also spills over to their personal life.
  • Undermining behaviour at home or work, leads to poor or disturbed sleep, consequently affecting the employee's work life.
  • Employees who have physical exercise as part of their routine are less likely to become subject to undermining.
Factors that lead to undermining at work:
  • Poor behaviour amongst colleagues (especially between a supervisor and subordinate)
  • Energy depletion and fatigue
  • Work climate
  • Lack of physical activity
How To Resolve Work-To-Home Undermining Spillover:

The task of reducing (and eventually eliminating)work-to-home undermining spilloverfor an employer will involve multiple measures, beginning with "supportive leadership"

  • The employer must identify the sources of potential harm to his employees.
  • The management must ensure that there are proper work policies safeguarding the rights of employees, furthermore ensuring the effective implementation of these policies, systems and procedures to prevent demeaning behaviour amongst employees at work.
  • Special attention must be paid to incidents of emotional abuse and immediate action must be taken to rectify them. This not only harmonizes the work environment but also provides emotional support and trust to the affectee.
  • Open door policy: The office must hold an open-door policy regarding emotional abuse where the employee can feel assured that his issue will be heard openly and will be given due consideration. Not only this, an employee must feel confident that the leadership will not hold a bias against an employee who has reported abuse and there will be no repercussions during his performance evaluation.
  • Workshops: Workshops on positive social and at-work behaviour must be conducted, along with trainings on supportive leadership.
  • Counseling for stress management and overcoming degradation must be provided to the employees by the employer.
Once the behavioural issue is looked upon, the employer must ensure climate moderation at work. Maintaining a good work climate will affect the work environment positively. As it has been observed that sleep deprivation leads to weak productivity at work, employers must ensure sleep friendly work hours. Not only this, the company must hold a policy against "work from home" as this leads to a complete spillover of fatigue and at-home stress.   Fitness for all The key takeaway from Larissa K. Barber's research on work home undermining is that employees who engage in physical exercise are least likely to be affected by undermining at work, hence it seems to be a very feasible solution for employers to create fitness training facilities for their employees. This could include compulsory fitness training classes or an at-work gym or exercise area with a certified instructor. Gym memberships can also be provided by the company, as part of the basic remuneration. Employers could encourage their staff to walk or cycle to work, by providingthem with information on secured local walking or cycle routes. Not only this, the management can provide their employees with a secured cycle parking. Also proper changing rooms and shower stations must be made to ensure a clean and healthy work environment.

Employees must be informed about the importance and benefits of physical activity. Trainings could be conducted by health professionals, on the importance of exercising. To promote this further the organization can include physical activities, tournaments and marathons as part of their schedule. Recreational activities could include physical challenges followed by a reward.

A very easy to do solution would be to encourage employees to use the stairs more frequently as compared to elevators and escalators.

Another option for an employer would be to install active workstations; which will engage employees in light exercise while at work, making them manage their work and stress better, hence improving productivity.

Finally, our net takeaway is, that it is essential for an employer to maintain a healthy, stress-free environment for his employees, which will result in minimal "at-work distress" leading to a healthy at-home environment. This will balance the interdependent cycle of work-home-behaviour and eliminate work-home- distress.

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