Study Says People Would Rather Be At Work Than Deal With Our World Right Now

by Alexandra Strickler

The world has always been a big and scary place, but lately, for many people, it's feeling even larger and even more terrifying than ever.

So much so, that people are looking for sources of escape aside from a Friends marathon on Netflix or a good sweat sesh at the gym.

According to a new study from Weber Shandwick, many Americans are seeking refuge from the world in the workplace, where they perceive tensions to be lower, and civility to be much higher than what's waiting for them on the outside of the office doors.

Nearly 70 percent of people surveyed reported a "major" civility problem an American society.

In the context of this research, civility is defined as "polite and respectful conduct and expression," according to Leslie Gaines-Ross, a chief reputation strategist with Weber Shandwick.

Elite Daily spoke with Gaines-Ross to delve deeper into perceptions of incivility in this country, and how a person's job can provide an escape from those tensions.

She says the sources of incivility in America are converging together in a way no one has ever quite seen before.

She explains,

When we ask people what they think is the root cause of incivility, they tell us it's politicians, the internet, social media, and the [news] media. It's a combination of all these things, and the convergence of many things happening at once. I think the combustion that's formed by the combination of all three has really ignited this firestorm that we're experiencing today.

What's worse, says Gaines-Ross, is that, since so many people are picking up on the uncivil nature of American society, it's becoming a pretty normalized thing for everyone.


Still, I couldn't help but wonder if Americans were, perhaps, engaging in a little confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is basically when you hold a certain belief to be true in your mind, and as you navigate the world, you look for ways to confirm that truth.

So, I wondered, were people just being pessimistic AF, and looking for ways to reassure themselves of their own negativity?

According to Gaines-Ross, that's not the case at all:

Seventy-five percent of the Americans we surveyed say incivility has risen to 'crisis' levels, and that's a significant change. Therefore, I'd say things are as bad as we think they are.

Well, that's reassuring (not).

But why, of all places, is work a comforting escape for people experiencing this incivility?

Gaines-Ross cites diversity in the workplace as the main difference between these two worlds:

For many people, there's greater diversity in the workplace than there is outside where they live, and I think that that contributes to actually making people perform more civilly and act more civilly, because the network is different in the office than it is at home.

This is all pretty bleak, I know.

But there is a bright side, kind of.

Gaines-Ross tells Elite Daily that the people surveyed in this report do express interest in finding ways to correct these problems.

She explains,

Seventy-five percent said they'd be willing to set a good example by practicing civility, and nearly 50 percent recommend civility training in schools and colleges.

Civility training refers to methods that teach students in school about how to respectfully disagree and debate with people, and how to come to terms with the fact that everyone's opinions are different, and that that's not a bad thing.

Of course, even Gaines-Ross admits that most people really don't quite know what to do about these unprecedented levels of incivility in our current society.

But, thanks to research like this, we do know it could be as simple as treating one another like we would treat our coworkers.

For all we know, that could make all the difference.