Should You Allow Swearing at Your Shop?

Oct 26, 2012

Having your own business means creating a culture that’s equally comfortable for your employees and customers.

The type of language you allow to be used at your business is an important part of the culture you create, according to Gwen Moran, who recently wrote about swearing in the workplace for

“People may have different opinions about whether it’s a good idea, but colorful language is a fact of life in many [businesses],” she wrote. “While a July 2012 survey by CareerBuilder found that bosses might be less likely to promote employees who swear, more than half of respondents said they do it anyway. And a UK study published earlier this year found that swearing in the workplace actually builds camaraderie.”

Moran suggests keeping these three things in mind when it comes to swearing in your shop:

1. Be upfront about your workplace culture. “That way, new employees know what to expect and aren’t shocked by others’ language or embarrassed if they swear when that’s not the norm,” she wrote. “And once you’ve decided on the type of environment you want to create, model the behavior that you want to see. If you run around the office swearing a blue streak, your employees are likely to do the same.”

2. Respect others’ feelings. “Encourage others to avoid salty language around those who find it offensive, and remind everyone to refrain from swearing in front of customers or vendors, especially if you don’t know their feelings about such language,” Moran wrote.

3. Consider context. “If you just aren’t comfortable with colorful language in your workplace, that’s fine. After all, you’re the boss,” she wrote. “However, if an employee does let an off-color word fly during a moment of anger or stress, it’s best not to make a big deal about it.”

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