The Rude Workplace: Korn Ferry Survey Shows Professionals Less Civil than Pre-Pandemic

Three-Quarters Have Considered Quitting Due to a Rude Co-Worker or Boss

Los Angeles, Nov. 9, 2021 – A new Korn Ferry survey shows that a remote workforce is not necessarily a more civil workforce.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (70%) say that due to working remotely, it’s easier now than pre-pandemic for colleagues to get away with rude behavior such as interrupting on calls and not returning emails. More than half (59%) of respondents say that compared to re-pandemic, colleagues are ruder to each other.

“Workers no longer have to worry about chance run-ins with co-workers after they have said or done something that is less than kind,” said Korn Ferry Associate Client Partner James Bywater. “However, that doesn’t give people license to be disrespectful. That kind of behavior can have a long-term impact on business and personal relationships.”

More than three-quarters (78%) say they have found it difficult to focus on work after someone says or does something rude. Nearly all of the professionals (83%) say they try to avoid colleagues they believe are rude, and 75% say they have considered quitting due to an uncivil co-worker or boss.

“It’s not just overt outbursts of anger than can be damaging – it’s also the small acts of rudeness that can add up to hurt feelings and a loss of productivity,” said Bywater. “While it’s more difficult to monitor rude behavior when people are working remotely, leaders should check in regularly with their teams to make sure everyone feels like they are being treated with respect.”

About the Survey – 690 professionals participated in the Korn Ferry survey in early November 2021

Survey results

Compared to pre-pandemic, are your colleagues more or less rude to each other?

More rude                                                                   59%

Less rude                                                                    41%

Does working remotely make it easier for colleagues to be rude (e.g. interrupting on calls, not returning emails)?

Yes to a great extent                                                  24%

Yes to some extent                                                     46%

No                                                                               30%

Have you found it difficult to focus on work after someone says or does something rude?

Yes                                                                              78%

No                                                                               22%        

Do you try to avoid colleagues who you believe are rude?

Yes                                                                              83%

No                                                                               17%

Have you ever considered quitting a job due to a rude colleague or boss?

Yes                                                                              75%

No                                                                               25%

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

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Tracy Kurschner



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