Office Banter - Offensive or Productive ?

Reading an item from @Pausitivity on the subject of depression and anxiety has been recognised as the most common reason for women taking a trip to the GP’s surgery without recognising that they were going through the menopause and only 5% recognised that depression and anxiety were in fact a symptom.

With more women than ever making up the workforce Female employment in the UK has risen through the decades. The most recent statistics show that as a proportion of the population, 71.2% of women aged 16-64 are in employment, compared to 52.7% of women back in 1971.8 out of 10 women going through the menopause are in work with 3 out of 4 suffering from symptoms. 1 in 3 of the workplace will very soon be over 50 and the depressing number of 68 is now the retirement age for them.

It was therefore with interest to hear a radio article regarding the opinion that football ”banter” in the office might be considered divisive,and alienating  for women as well as increasing the laddish behaviour in the workplace. If more women are finding themselves in the working environment is it so wrong for male banter to take place and surely the assumption is being made that women are disinterested in footie, which is not the case.
Would it be inappropriate for men to complain about women discussing the fashion worn in Real Housewives of Cheshire or the merits of a new brand of lipstick?

As women, rightly so, fight for equality in the workplace it seems petty to dictate and chastise idle sporting chit chat which can often be humorous and which as a result improves the working atmosphere and add to team morale

Anxiety  and depression have been mentioned earlier because a huge benefit of being in a working environment is communication and if we are all to stop speaking in fear of offence this could have a detrimental effect on the individual and the overall performance / productivity of an organisation.

Previous blogs have touched on the problems women have in finding suitable work after the age of 50 and, one of the big issues raised for those looking for work was one of loneliness and the fact that the office “banter” was a big part of their social life. 

There are, and will be, extremes to what was raised in the initial debate but the majority of people will recognise that moderation in language is to be respected in such an environment.

With that in mind we will defer any discussion on the Shrewsbury v  Liverpool game last Sunday and move on to more pressing topics as to who is going to make the tea .


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