The idea that you would have to explicitly tell staff members that fighting in the workplace is not allowed sounds ridiculous. But unfortunately, workplace violence can happen in the strangest circumstances.
Take for example, a recent incident at top-end-of-town investment banking and stockbroking giant UBS. A heated argument between two senior executives on the trading floor became so out of control that the pair came to blows, and had to be separated and suspended from duty.
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The idea that a workplace brawl could happen in this sort of corporate setting might be a little difficult to believe, but the UBS example shows that in high stress, highly competitive settings, ugly incidents can happen.
While businesses in sectors like construction, transport and manufacturing often explicitly spell out a policy on workplace violence, it’s not a bad idea to remind your staff – gently or otherwise – that this is behaviour that won’t be tolerated under your official policies.
If you want to go one step further, spell out how disputes between colleagues are to be resolved – in a calm manner, with a manager involved if necessary.
It might sound unnecessary, but I bet that’s what UBS thought too.
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