The most irritating office habits

Which office habits do employees find most irritating? Interesting reading for anyone with colleagues!

It’s time for the third and final post in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ series – and this post really explores those daily gripes. Don’t forget to catch up on the first two installments, which include…

  1. How many professionals would accept a promotion without a pay rise? Including which groups are most likely to do this and whether you should ever consider it.
  2. And would you recommend your employer to another job-seeker? Plus what stops people doing this and why it matters.

A bit of background…

As mentioned in the first post, the Vanquis survey is designed to explore ‘what makes UK workers tick and what ticks them off!’

They raise the old adage that many of us spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families, which means we really get to know their ‘quirks and behaviours’.

As well as wanting to understand what’s most likely to upset colleagues, they were intrigued by which grievances linger longest on the mind.

Office Habits to avoid:

  1. Rotten food left in the fridge/kitchen (85%)
  2. Colleagues leaving a mess in kitchens, bathrooms or other communal spaces (83%)
  3. Discriminatory or rude language, including swearing alongside racism and sexism, etc. (81%)
  4. Passive-aggressive notes left in communal spaces (74%)
  5. Loud music on work computers (74%)
  6. Colleagues changing heating or aircon settings (67%)
  7. People cooking ‘smelly food’ at work (66%)
  8. Colleagues being promoted ‘over you’ (61%)

Interestingly, the order changes when it comes to how long people spend feeling ‘bothered’ by each of these irritations…

  1. Other people being promoted (57.36 hours)
  2. Discriminatory & rude language (36.72 hours)
  3. Passive-aggressive notes (22.8 hours)
  4. Rotten food in fridges or kitchens (18.72 hours)
  5. Messy kitchens, bathrooms or communal spaces (15.84 hours)
  6. Loud music on work computers (14.64 hours)
  7. People changing heating/aircon (13.44 hours)
  8. Cooking smelly food (11.76 hours)

How do you mitigate irritating or offensive office behaviour?

The survey respondents engage in a number of responses; most of which are highly concerning…

  1. Verbal confrontation – directly to your colleague (40%)
  2. Complaining to your boss (32%)
  3. ‘Bad-mouthing’ colleagues and their work (27%)
  4. HR complaints (21%)
  5. ‘Embarrassing them’ in front of colleagues or clients (14%)
  6. Physical acts of confrontation, i.e. violence (12%)
  7. Deleting or adding mistakes to their work in shared documents (11%)
  8. Revealing personal information about them to their family/boss (11%)
  9. Career sabotage attempts (9%)
  10. Harassing them on social media, outside of work (9%)

You may recall that some of the same respondents also take nefarious routes to obtain their promotions at work. This may be a rather unusual pool and does not necessarily reflect the behaviour that’s normal in your office or industry!

Any irritating office habits should, of course, always be handled politely and professionally. Remember, your reputation is at stake.

Are you someone who truly values your reputation and is keen to explore a fresh environment and team? Please visit our jobs page



Would you recommend your employer?

How likely would you be to recommend your employer to another job-seeker?

Join us for the second in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ posts. You can catch up on the first installment here – exploring how many professionals would accept a promotion that didn’t come with a pay rise.

Today, we take a look at the likelihood of suggesting your employers to other job-seekers. Vanquis cites that the average British person changes companies every five years and they’re eager to know more about why this is. Could it be that professionals are harbouring negative feelings about their workplace or the people working there?

There’s some good news for employers…

  • It turns out that 3/4 of respondents would recommend their workplace to another person.
  • Those in the Beauty and Wellbeing sector appear most satisfied, with 90% of people happy to make a recommendation.
  • Hospitality employees appear the least satisfied, as 35.2% say they would not recommend their company to others.
  • Transport & Distribution and Retail & Customer Services professionals also fall into the least likely groups (with 33.1% and 32.1% unhappy to recommend).

Why wouldn’t you recommend your employer?

Turning to the 1/4 of respondents who would avoid a recommendation, there are a variety of commonly held reasons. In fact, all but one of the reasons are shared by at least 30% of this group. These include:

  1. Feeling undervalued (46%)
  2. Believing you’re underpaid (44%)
  3. Perceived lack of progression (38%)
  4. Disliking your management team (37%)
  5. Feeling over-worked (35%)
  6. Disliking your work environment (30%)
  7. And not liking your colleagues (14%)

Why this matters…

  • For employers: each employee’s experience naturally contributes towards a company’s wider reputation. Negative comments shared with family and friends can soon spread much further afield and impact the chance to recruit quality personnel. Of course, it’s unlikely that every employee who works for a company will have a positive experience as there are so many factors involved. However, you can take control of certain elements, including many of the above.
  • For employees: it’s always helpful to consider these sorts of questions. What’s stopping you from feeling able to recommend your employer…and are they even the right employer for you? As ever, the more you understand what’s not working for you, the easier it is to identify what could.

Want to know what other local opportunities are out there? Visit our jobs page



At breaking point + common job complaints

As two separate studies say employees are at breaking point, we take a look at what this means. Also sharing the most common job complaints…

An issued shared by 61% of male professionals:

The first survey (conducted by CV-Library and reported by Recruiting Times), reveals that…

  • 61% of men have reached their breaking point. In this case, saying they wish to leave their role due to its impact on their mental health.
  • Female respondents are more likely to admit to experiencing mental health issues in general. However, men are more likely to experience the ‘effects of poor mental health’ at work (81.8% of men versus 67.8% of women for the latter).
  • Sadly, 60.9% of men also feel unable to raise their concerns with their boss for fear of being negatively judged and/or misunderstood.
  • Men would actually be most likely to discuss their mental health experiences with their GP. Conversely, women tend to seek out their friends for support.

The findings also contain a number of proactive recommendations from male professionals. These include:

  • Efforts to ‘promote’ a better work-life balance
  • Counselling service referrals
  • ‘Reduced pressure’ regarding long working days
  • Enabling employees to ‘take time out’ when needed
  • More open discussions about mental health

2 in 5 UK employees are nearing their breaking point…

Separately, the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA) has carried out research on employee stress levels. This shows that:

  • 40% of all UK employees are nearing breaking point due to increasing stress.
  • Professionals are losing an average of 5 hours’ sleep each week due to work pressure.
  • Respondents also feel stressed for a third of each working day.
  • 70% have ‘vented’ to someone about their experiences, yet 46% have done nothing beyond this – hoping the issues would simply disappear in time.

CABA’s findings also include the most common job complaints:

  1. General workload levels
  2. Poor sense of recognition and reward
  3. Salary/pay rates
  4. Their colleagues
  5. The day-to-day job role
  6. ‘Company culture’
  7. Long working days
  8. How their workload compares to their colleagues’
  9. Their clients
  10. Progression or career path potential

What does this all mean for employers and employees?

  • Both sets of data reflect recent findings regarding job satisfaction in general. Only last month we reported on the swathes of professionals planning to switch roles.
  • Poor work-life balance, high stress and a sense of not being supported all keep cropping up.
  • Employers need to be reading such data and working out how they can do more to listen to their team, reduce pressure levels and make everyone feel more supported. This is all vital for longer-term employee attraction and retention.
  • Employees also need to look at what they can do to improve their own working lives. At the lighter end of the scale, there are ways to increase levels of joy at work and make sure you’re doing enough of what you enjoy outside of your job too.
  • In more serious cases, when you (or someone close to you) see that work stress is really starting to affect you, you may need to seek the support of your GP.

Everyone reaches those times when they simply need to find a fresh environment more suited to their life and career goals. Visit our jobs page to see the latest vacancies. 



Leaving a job within the first year

Why have so many people left a role within their first year – and how could this affect their job search?

Let’s start with the latest facts…

  • More than half (55%) of people have left a permanent role within the first 12 months, according to a study by Citation.
  • The male participants in this group were most unhappy at work and, perhaps contrary to common opinion, also reported higher levels of anxiety in their last role (63% of men versus only 38% of women).
  • These findings also contradicted recent research with older workers found to be the least happy.

What was at the root of this unhappiness?

The article only cites two reasons for leaving a role within the year:

  1. Poor management (69%).
  2. ‘Hostile’ work environments (62%).

It’s interesting to see that both reasons relate to the ‘people’ elements of work. This does reflect recent research surrounding the importance of strong working relationships.

A number of core employee values are shared, including:

  • Supporting individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The strength of good annual leave, bonuses, and sick pay programmes.
  • Flexible working opportunities (which is a popular theme in recent surveys).

Citation additionally recommends a number of tools that employers can use to retain new team members.

How does leaving a role within the first year affect your job search?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, it really depends on your CV as a whole…

If prospective employers see a slew of ‘permanent’ openings that have all been left within a matter of months, you may want to rethink your recruitment approach.

  • It could just be bad luck. However, it’s likely that you’re not applying for the right roles and/or you’re accepting jobs that you don’t truly want. After a time, businesses may consider you to be a serial ‘job hopper’ that won’t commit long enough to warrant their time and/or financial investment.
  • It may be worth having an honest conversation with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. What’s more, temping could be a better option for you while you figure things out (see below!). Please note: you’re never advised to leave a permanent role to temp, as you can’t guarantee that you’ll always find work.

It’s a different story if you’ve been undertaking a variety of temporary assignments and your previous employers can vouch for this.

  • Naturally, you should clearly communicate this fact on your CV too. Business leaders will be interested to learn more about your choices during your interviews.

Some industries are also less phased by their high staff turnover levels (and the CVs that reflect this) than others.

  • One popular example is that of the technology industry. As this LinkedIn piece states, employee “turnover can be a sign of a very healthy, very unhealthy or changing industry”.
  • You may want to do your research to understand more about what’s normal or expected in your sector.

Of course, it’s also a very different story for those who have a strong record of commitment.

  • In other words, when job-seekers have only rarely resigned from a role within a shorter time period.
  • It’s much less likely that this will negatively affect your career as a whole. It’s worth discussing what went wrong with your recruitment consultant, and what you’ve learned from your experience to date. Is there a particular type of environment that you don’t want to work within? Is there something you’ve experienced that suited you far better?
  • As ever, during actual job interviews, it’s recommended that you focus on the positives of your prior experiences…and employers!

Keep an eye on our News page for further career tips and insights. You can also see the latest job vacancies here



Improving your workplace wellness

Wish you felt happier at work but have no idea what contributes to your workplace wellness? New findings from The Myers-Briggs Company could help.

We recently discussed the fact workplace wellbeing appears to increase with age. The article cited a Myers-Briggs study that we’ll be returning to today. According to their findings…

Your workplace wellness is most affected by:

  1. Your relationships with colleagues (7.85/10)
  2. A sense of ‘meaning’ (7.69/10)
  3. Your workplace accomplishments (7.66/10)
  4. A feeling of engagement (7.43/10)
  5. Experiencing positive emotions (7.19/10)

There is also a strong relationship between high wellbeing and reporting the following:

  • High job satisfaction
  • A strong interest in your day-to-day job activities
  • Greater commitment to the company
  • ‘Citizenship behaviours’, including a willingness to assist your colleagues and/or reach business objectives
  • A lower likelihood to look for an alternative job.

You’ll find more information regarding the correlations with gender, occupation, and location here.

How to use these findings to your benefit:

If you’ve already been looking for alternative jobs for the past few weeks (or months!), you’ll know that there is something that’s encouraging you to look elsewhere.

Yet have you had the chance to identify what this is? It could simply be the case that you’re ready for a new challenge. Or it could be that one or more of the above factors are missing.

  • Take a look at both of the above lists. Which elements ring true to you? Then, taking a closer look at the first list, which elements matter most to you?
  • Perhaps it’s more important that you enjoy working with your colleagues and you’re interested in your work than to feel as if you’re achieving certain accomplishments. There are no wrong answers!

How to use your findings to support your job search:

  1. Watch out for key words on job advertisements and company websites. For example, if you’re looking for a sense of meaning, you could research your prospective responsibilities, company mission statements, and how the industry benefits communities or society as a whole.
  2. Share your priorities with your Recruitment Consultant and ask more about these elements in your interviews. For instance, if you’re guided by a sense of accomplishment, you could enquire about the sorts of projects you would work on, whether there is the chance to work to targets, etc.
  3. Add more depth to your applications and interviews. Use your personal motivations to engage prospective employers and stand out. For example, when asked why you applied for an opening, you could discuss your core motivations (e.g. being a part of a community-driven organisation) and what it was about the job spec and website that attracted you to the role (e.g. the fact you’d be supporting others, the community projects discussed, and/or a specific shared mission).

Why not get started on that research now by taking a look at the latest jobs!



Wellbeing is higher among older employees

There’s some good news ahead, as older employees experience greater workplace wellbeing…

One large-scale study – conducted on more than 10,000 people across 131 countries and over the course of three years! – shows that workplace wellbeing increases ‘progressively’ with age.

It’s the employees in the oldest category (workers aged over 65 years) who represent the greatest levels.

What’s contributing towards this?

Factors such as office culture and the participants’ gender appear to hold minimal influence on these findings.

Conversely, strong workplace relationships highly correlate with wellbeing outcomes. Individual personalities also make a difference.

Employers can benefit from these findings by introducing cross-generational mentorship programmes, according to the study’s authors at Myers-Briggs. It’s additionally argued such an approach could increase engagement and retention levels.

There’s still room for improvement:

Let’s not forget the rest of our workforce. As much as it’s great to hear that we could all grow increasingly happy and well at work over time, who wouldn’t like to feel better now?

Alongside considering introducing and/or participating in mentorship programmes, and building our relationships with our colleagues, we need to look at how else we can improve our wellbeing levels.

These 4 simple workplace wellbeing techniques taken from news reports offer a good starting point.

Returning to the Baby Boomers…

Alternative research finds that 49% of Baby Boomers (those with 1946 to 1965 birth dates) report ‘average to very poor’ work-life balance.

In this case, Gen Z workers (born post-1995) reflect the best levels with 63% selecting ‘good to very good’.

Respondents think flexible working options are the primary route towards increased work-life balance.

So, perhaps even the older employees’ wellbeing levels can receive a further boost through the promotion of such opportunities.

If your lack of job enjoyment is starting to impinge on your sense of workplace wellness, it’s an excellent time to review your options