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80% of Employees Are Avoiding Their Co-workers

A new survey says that 80% of employees prefer to work alone, because their work environment is either too hostile or largely unhelpful. Oh, no. It's time to call a team meeting, stat!

That's right, folks. When it comes to the workplace, we're all a bunch of Greta Garbos wanting to be left alone.

Nearly 2,000 U.S. and Canadian employees participated in a survey sponsored/conducted by The Faas Foundation, Mental Health America (MHA) and the Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH) regarding workplace bullying and psychological wellness. The findings are, well, kind of depressing.

In addition to learning that 80% of employees surveyed prefer to work alone because their current work environment doesn't work very well, 83% also said that their company is "overly focused on trivial activities."

Of course, "trivial" can mean different things. Perhaps it means there's too much busy work. Perhaps it means too many molehills are being turned into mountains. Perhaps it means there's too much office politics, or too much focus on silly, isolating social media.

However "trivial" is defined, many employees refuse to miss a minute of it: 41% surveyed said they "rarely or never" miss a day of work due to work stress, even though their workplace remains hostile and largely unhelpful.

Roughly 67% of employees surveyed think they could be fired any minute now. Talk about stress.

So we're feeling alone, together. We come to work, but we can't bring ourselves to work. And we don't want to interact with the vast majority of our co-workers while we're there. It isn't a trivial matter for today's employers, who still need a fair number of productive, in-person workplace interactions for the work to get done well.

Sometimes, we as employees have to take the initiative with our co-workers in the absence of engaged management. We might ask a largely unhelpful co-worker to lunch one day as a personal team-building exercise, or make ourselves eat in the break room occasionally (with our jealous co-workers, ahem) as a way to feel more connected to our own workplace. Such ice breakers might be worth a try, or not.

In the end, at least we can say that we tried our best to broach the unhelpful, hostile barrier at work before returning to our regularly-scheduled programming of kindly contacting our testy, foot-dragging co-workers exclusively via email, instant messaging and text. I'll let you go to the team meeting now.

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