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



A promotion without a pay rise?

Would you accept a promotion without a pay rise? Professionals in certain sectors are more likely to do this…

This is the first in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ series. The survey is a nationwide office study exploring ‘what makes UK workers tick and what ticks them off!’

For many people, the whole purpose of a promotion is that it allows them to step up the career ladder and increase their salary in the process.

Yet what if you were offered the bigger job title without the bigger salary?

  • 20.5% of British employees would definitely say yes to this.
  • 36.6% are sure they’d say no.
  • However, the largest group at 42.9%, would take the time to consider this offer further.

Professionals in certain job sectors are more likely to jump in with a definite yes. These include those working within:

  1. Marketing (58%)
  2. Agriculture & Environment (46%)
  3. Beauty & Wellbeing (44%)
  4. Art & Design (39%)
  5. IT & Digital Telecoms (29%)
  6. Media (24%)
  7. Construction (22%)
  8. Customer Services & Retail (20%)
  9. Science & Mathematics (20%)
  10. Security & Emergency Services (20%)

At the other end of the scale, only 11% of people working in legal or political services and 9% of those in hospitality would respond with a yes.

So, why would you accept a promotion without a pay rise?

This is perhaps the most interesting of all the questions. Not to mention the most important for anyone considering making or accepting such an offer.

  • The greatest incentive is the belief that this will help ‘secure a better job in the future’ (68.6%). Other responses included…
  • To have a greater ‘authority over colleagues’ (23.1%)
  • And to impress a ‘date or loved one’ (9.9%).

Perhaps this is why those in Marketing are so much more likely to say yes than other industry professionals – they understand the power of perception that the new job title can offer.

How are employees achieving their promotions?

This is where things get really worrying. While most respondents simply accept additional work in a bid to impress their seniors (32.5%), others are taking far less honourable routes, including…

  • Complimenting senior colleagues and/or bosses (25.1%)
  • And even flirting with them (12.9%) or wearing suggestive clothing (11.10%), which makes for alarming reading in a post-#MeToo world.
  • What’s more, some have admitted to sabotaging their closest working rivals (10%), bribery (9.6%) and blackmail (9.6%).

Across all categories, male employees were more likely to push for a promotion.

Of course, this is a national study conducted across a real range of sectors. Meaning the findings may not reflect what’s happening locally and/or in your industry.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people know that good quality work is the best way to garner a promotion.

Should you consider a promotion without a pay rise?

In some cases, this can be a savvy move when considering your longer-term job prospects. There’s certainly some truth behind the idea that a better job title can improve your future job opportunities.

Previous findings suggest that job titles do matter and can form a core part of your benefits package.

Naturally, you also need to consider your financial situation. If the improved job title comes with a salary cut, or you know that you’re unable to commit to the new role for a reasonable time, you’d be wise to rethink things.

It’s also worth staying on top of your local research. See how much other employers are paying for people in your prospective new role. You may find that you can negotiate a slight pay rise or that there are alternative opportunities that offer promotions in both job title and salary level.



Young workers lead the flexible working movement

How younger professionals are driving the flexible working movement. Also featuring some of the latest flexible work news…

Over the weekend, The Independent shared an interesting post titled ‘Young workers are leading the way out of the office.’

It describes some of the current business trends for young professionals both in America and Britain. This includes:

  • Changing jobs for improved work-life balance (as opposed to a title change or step up the career ladder).
  • Prioritising flexible work opportunities; allowing employees to focus on other needs, such as their children, hobbies, and pets.
  • In fact, increasing numbers of employees are actually ‘demanding flexibility’ in their roles.
  • Requesting benefits such as paid paternity leave, ‘generous’ holiday allowance, the chance to work remotely, etc.

A mixed response…

Some may perceive this as a push towards less work or softer working lifestyles. However, proponents argue that this approach says ‘I will work harder and/or more’ if you support a more balanced lifestyle.

The article cites a number of reasons why younger employees are driving this work-life balance focus:

  • They’ve been born into a highly technological world in which they can see other ways of working rather than staying at one desk for set working hours.
  • Other lifestyle choices, such as marrying and babies, are happening later meaning they are ‘more invested’ in their career path by the time they make these decisions and, therefore, know what they want to ask for.
  • Millennials represent the first generation to observe large numbers of women, including family members, live professional working lives. Many have also observed the challenges their parents have faced due to ‘inflexible employers or unstable jobs’.

The piece also raises the notion that more flexible work and other work-life balance improvements could benefit all working generations – saying ‘change the system so we can all succeed’.

Also in the flexible working news…



The parent trap!

How much time does the average working parent get to spend with their children? Plus does having a baby truly affect your career?

This post explores two separate news items from the HR News website. The first investigates how the ‘always on’ business culture impacts parents’ free time…

1) How much time do parents get to spend with their children?

  • British professionals are currently getting less than 30 minutes a day of quality time to spend with their kids, according to Trades Union Congress.
  • It appears that the nation’s working hours, commuting patterns and low energy levels are all contributing to this trend.
  • Parents and non-parents are also struggling to ‘disconnect from work’ at the end of each day, due to the ‘always on’ nature of the modern workplace.
  • Myers-Briggs deems quality time spent with family and friends to be a core contributor to employee wellbeing, highlighting how important this issue is to employers as well as team members.

2) Most Mums believe that having a baby has ‘hindered their career’

  • Sadly, 89% of Mums say that they’ve faced ‘career regression’ on return from maternity leave. They also believe that they are ‘overlooked for career progression’ opportunities.
  • 51% plan to leave their roles if they are unsupported by their bosses.
  • This problem is increasing levels of depression and anxiety among working mothers. 91% of the group used phrases such as ‘anxious, isolated, worried, overwhelmed, lost, stressed and guilt’, etc.
  • Mothers have shared many of the concerning conversations they’ve had with their employers, ranging from those being told ‘the team shouldn’t be punished for their lifestyle choice’ to the business leaders who ‘think maternity leave is a break’.

Are you worried about being (or becoming) a working parent?

  • It appears that many employed parents are facing somewhat of a trap – feeling they’re neither at the career stage they should be or getting to spend enough time with their children when out of work.
  • Employers should look to use effective and supportive strategies to attract and retain this key workforce during such competitive business times. After all, the nation’s skills shortage remains in full swing.
  • Flexible working is one such attractive employee offering, as discussed in the first of the featured posts. However, even taking the time to understand working parents’ ongoing concerns would be a great starting point.
  • Working parents should not need to fear their career opportunities. Where possible, discuss your concerns and/or needs with a trusted party. This could be a manager, business owner or HR professional. If you really feel unsupported, there may be better employers out there for you.
  • Always discuss your career priorities with your Recruitment Consultant. The best agencies don’t just want to submit your CV to a position that suits your experience, yet one that also provides a culture match.

You can apply for the latest vacancies via the jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re emailing a Recruitment Consultant.



Senior professionals are slacking off at work!

Are you one of the senior employees who’s slacking off at work? 

A new study suggests that almost 1/2 (45.5%) of senior professionals fall into this category. Please note: the study’s use of ‘senior’ refers to seniority of position, as opposed to age group.

In addition, the Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘slack off’ as a phrasal verb, meaning to ‘stop working hard or putting effort into something’.

Senior professionals say that…

  • Despite, their reduced work efforts, they continue to provide ‘results’ (66.7%)
  • They’re primarily suffering from poor motivation (57.7%)
  • They’re not appropriately ‘challenged’ by their work (35.6%)
  • They’ve already reached their achievement potential (31.7%)
  • And they feel ‘bored’ (29.8%)

Furthermore, 95.6% of these senior professionals have never been spoken to about their behaviour at work and believe they can get away with more than their junior counterparts.

This is concerning news at every business level:

  • Business leaders are naturally looking for employees that they can trust to work effectively and who will push themselves to achieve business goals. Especially when these employees may be managing other team members and/or responsible for high-value tasks.
  • Colleagues can suffer the effects of slackened work efforts. For instance, suddenly having to take on extra workloads or reach unexpected last-minute deadlines, etc. Resentments may also build if colleagues observe their senior team members getting away with things that they wouldn’t.
  • Let’s not forget the senior professionals themselves. It is concerning for any employee to routinely feel unmotivated, a lack of challenge, loss of achievement opportunities and/or boredom.

What to do if you’re managing such a colleague…

Inc. has some realistic advice on managing those that are slacking off without become a micromanager. Or, as they say, ‘without running the office like a drill sargeant!’

It’s well worth getting to the root of why their efforts have lessened and how you can work together to reignite their motivation, create new challenges and/or increase their interest level. There may, of course, be other issues that the individual is experiencing outside of the above research findings.

There are so many possible solutions, from training opportunities to new projects and even a change of job role – which may help you to see more of your employee’s potential and achieve more as a result.

What to do if you’re the professional that’s slacking off at work!

As a senior employee, it’s also important that you can hold yourself accountable and review what’s going wrong.

Do you identify with any of the statements listed at the top of this post? Is there something else that’s bothering you, such as feeling too distracted, personal issues, burnout or similar?

Once you’ve identified what’s going wrong, set yourself some challenges to see how you can improve things. Take inspiration from all the many business experts out there. For instance:

Many of the above posts also discuss one essential topic: working out when it’s time to move on. If you’ve outgrown your role and you’re eager to apply yourself to a new challenge, please visit our jobs page



Voluntary work: benefits for employers & job-seekers

More people are now searching for voluntary opportunities. We take a look at the benefits for employers, employees and job-seekers alike. There’s also advice regarding how to feature your volunteering experiences on your CV…

  • 40% of Brits are currently volunteering in some capacity, while 70% have done so at some stage, reports HR News.
  • What’s more, Google searches for the phrase ‘volunteering near me’ have increased by 124% throughout the UK over the course of a year.
  • Of the UK nations, England has seen the lowest search trend increase, with an 83% rise.

Voluntary work benefits: for employees and job-seekers

The above-linked article explores what’s behind this increased interest in volunteering. It appears that a number of psychological and physical benefits are driving this trend, including:

  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced loneliness
  • Better physical health
  • A feeling of ‘making a difference’
  • And the opportunity to meet new people

Of course, there are a number of additional benefits that can also enhance your CV, namely:

  • The chance to learn something new, both through the volunteering itself and via any associated training opportunities.
  • To gain practical experience that can bolster your CV; especially if you’re looking to enter a new role or industry.
  • An opportunity to gain new skills and/or to further your existing abilities.

Voluntary work benefits: for employers

It’s not only employees who gain something from volunteering. Employers who encourage their team to volunteer also experience a number of advantages.

Sage People suggests these include:

  • Increased employee retention rates through a ‘deeper commitment and connection.’
  • Greater external brand awareness and a sense of employee pride.
  • Employee empowerment; especially if team members can choose where/when they volunteer.
  • Better teamwork and more ‘connected’ teams.
  • The development of new skills (as above), which can be used in-house.
  • Another opportunity to see who holds internal promotion potential.
  • Alongside enhanced morale and reduced sick leave.

How to feature your volunteering experiences on your CV

There are several ways to effectively include your volunteering experiences on your CV. The best option for you will depend on the length of your CV/amount of relevant experience you have for the positions that you’re applying for…

a) If you already have ample industry/role experience (in addition to your voluntary roles):

  • Simply include a Voluntary Work section after your Career History.
  • Keep this brief. Provide a simple list of where you’ve volunteered (or the most relevant places if this list is too extensive to include in full!), alongside when you volunteered, your voluntary job title, and perhaps a sentence to summarise the most relevant skills or experiences obtained.
  • If you feel that your voluntary insights are especially relevant to your application and this method won’t suffice, then either follow the below guidance or consider creating an additional page to detail your Voluntary work alongside your Career History. Only do the latter if it’s particularly relevant to the jobs that you’re applying for.

b) If you have minimal industry/role experience other than your voluntary roles:

  • Include these within your reverse chronological Career History. This means listing your most recent role at the top and working backwards down your CV, whether the roles are paid or unpaid.
  • However, be sure to include the Voluntary nature of the role as part of your Job Title for any unpaid positions.
  • Treat these roles in the same fashion as the rest of your Career History: detailing your employer, your employer’s industry, job title (as above) and dates of employment.
  • You’ll also provide a more detailed overview of your experiences, skills and achievements from these positions.

Ready to look for a new paid role? Visit our jobs page. For further recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.



Job Search September! Is everyone looking for a new job?

Will this new season also spell the start of a new job frenzy throughout the nation? Some of the latest findings suggest so…

Wix (the web development platform) has conducted its own research among professionals. They’ve found that:

  • 49% of British professionals intend to leave their job on return from their summer holiday.
  • September is one of the most popular times to change jobs, next to January.
  • A number of workers are deliberately missing return flights and hiding their holiday social media updates so their employers won’t see!
  • There is also data regarding the desire to set up new businesses, the industries people want to specialise in and the type of breaks that inspire a new job search!

Why are professionals feeling so fed up?

  • 69% of respondents experience a sense of ‘dread’ about returning to the office.
  • 42% of people crave more flexibility in their working lives.
  • 39% state that they feel ‘undervalued’.
  • In addition, 37% believe they’re underpaid for their role.
  • 34% say they either don’t like their boss or colleagues.
  • And 31% cite poor management at work.

Will we really experience a Job Search September?

It’s unlikely that the whole study pool will hand in their notice this month! While holidays often spark a period of reflection, many people won’t follow through on their ideas on return from their break.

That said, some of the group will, and the fact remains that this is a popular time to make a change. Other findings reflect some of the above sentiment, yet less dramatically(/imminently)!

For instance, a separate study suggests that just under 1/3 of office employees are ‘considering’ finding a new job within the next year.

Many of the triggers are the same…

  • 39% hope to achieve a better work-life balance, with 32% specifically wanting flexible working options.
  • 38% are looking for a pay rise.
  • This group also believe that their skills will be ‘more desirable in the coming months’ (32%) – and that they’ll still receive ‘multiple job offers with competitive salaries’ (33%).
  • The youngest age group (comprising 16 to 24-year-olds) appears most likely to search for a new role, with career progression and work-life balance the greatest incentives for this demographic. They also prioritise corporate culture over pay rates.
  • Employees aged 35 and over are 10% less likely to job search, yet place an increased value on salaries (42% versus 17% for 16 to 24-year-olds). This is unsurprising if you consider career stage and life factors, including average household and/or caring responsibilities.

Both articles mention the need for employers to prepare themselves for a period of change. Alongside exploring staff retention strategies, this may naturally include an increased recruitment focus.

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment requirements or email the team directly. Job-seekers can apply for the latest openings via the jobs page, CV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re looking for a new job!



Future career changes

Young people expect to make multiple career changes in their working lives…

You won’t be surprised that the majority of young people expect to change jobs at least once during their careers. After all, it’s incredibly rare for large groups of people to work in the same roles and for the same companies forever.

However, almost 1/4 (23%) of young people also expect to make multiple career changes; in other words, also switching professions and/or industries rather than just jobs.

Considering their future career changes…

The above findings have been shared by Survation on behalf of the AAT. The pool consisted of just over 1000 16 to 24-year-olds (all considered as ‘Generation Z’).

They reveal that:

  • Nearly 1/3 (32%) of young people expect to make one to two job changes during their careers.
  • In addition, 23% expect to change their career path twice in future.
  • 14% of respondents think they’ll experiment with a greater number of professions, making three career changes.
  • Only 9% of people think they’ll work for the same company for their entire career. While 16% think they’ll at least remain on the same career path.

How they’ll prepare for their future roles:

  • It’s great to see that these respondents are prepared to take a proactive approach, with 52% saying they’d undertake a new qualification in order to progress their careers.
  • What’s more, 61% believe they’ll have to ‘upskill’ throughout their working lives. This is especially important as it so closely reflects the experts’ thoughts on the future of work and automation. Please see below for articles that further explore this topic.

The relevance of this data for employers:

As HR Magazine discusses, business and HR leaders will need to work hard to retain Generation Z employees. Especially the 43% that say they’d like to create their own business one day.

This may involve nurturing the creative potential of employees, so they feel able to challenge themselves and pursue their own ideas within the business.

Further reading for your future career and job skills:

  1. Future job skills & work portfolios for all: find out whether you possess the three most vital future job skills. Plus why you may want to create a work portfolio regardless of your job role.
  2. What employers want: six key skills that employers want to find in their future team members.
  3. Are you being upskilled at work? What to do if you aren’t receiving the opportunity to refresh your job skills.
  4. The top most wanted trainee skills: 10 abilities that will benefit trainees…and everyone else!
  5. The future skills framework: the major new taskforce set to decide which skills we’ll all need in future. Plus why students sre feeling unprepared for their careers.

Ready to discover your next job? Visit our vacancies page to apply for the latest openings. You can also upload your CV here.



Doing more of what you enjoy

Why we could all do with discovering what we really enjoy in life. Including how to discover your next hobby and find more enjoyment in your work…

How much of your day do you spend doing something you find truly enjoyable? A worrying new stat suggests that the average person only experiences this 42 minutes per day, which equates to just 3% of your daily life.

What’s to blame for our low enjoyment levels?

According to the study’s authors at City Lit (a London-based adult education college), this could be due to several lifestyle factors:

  • UK employees work an extra 2.5 weeks a year compared to the average European worker.
  • Our daily commutes have also increased, meaning few people believe they have enough spare time to pursue a hobby.

However, psychologists remind us of the importance of using hobbies to relax and de-stress.

City Lit additionally notes how many people don’t know quite what they enjoy. To this end, they’ve launched a new ‘Random Course Generator’ to help you track down your next hobby.

It’s rather like a quick magazine quiz in that you’ll answer a series of personality questions which will help identify your most dominant trait (from the Big Five OCEAN list). You’ll then be offered a list of courses that could suit your character.

You may see this as just a bit of fun, yet perhaps it’s a timely reminder to work out what you enjoy and how you can do more of it. This brings us to another thought…

Why should you only enjoy your hobbies?

It’s a fantastic idea to find more enjoyment out of work, though what about that large chunk of your day spent at work?

If you’re relatively happy with your job and not looking for anything new just yet, you may still benefit from making some small changes to your days.

  • TheMuse has a list of 37 ideas to get you started. Number 19 is particularly useful and achievable.
  • Number 37 is also incredibly important. There are certainly times that a new job is necessary for your ‘mental and emotional wellbeing’.

Why not add more enjoyment to your days and start your job search here?!



No time for a holiday?

Are you one of the many Brits that’s too overloaded at work to use your holiday entitlement this year? Or perhaps there’s another reason you won’t be booking much time off?

This is something of an annual issue. 44% of British professionals opted not to use their full holiday allowance in 2018 – and almost 1/4 (23%) had 6 or more unused days by the end of the year.

What’s more, a new national survey suggests 54% of people won’t benefit from their full entitlement this year either. So, why are so many employees reluctant to book a break from work?

Why many Brits aren’t using all their holiday allowance…

  • 1/4 of people report that they ‘feel guilty’ to use their contractual allowance, blaming their employer’s culture for this. In addition, respondents identified some more specific reasons that could be at the root of their reluctance…
  • Top of the list was being ‘too busy’ to book time off (38%), followed by:
  • Having ‘nowhere to go’ (23%)
  • Not needing as much allowance (19%)
  • Enjoying their job too much (8%)
  • A disapproving boss (7%)
  • And ‘peer pressure from colleagues’ (5%).

The article also explores some related issues. From the prevalence of unpaid overtime to being contacted by work while on leave.

But science says you need a holiday!

Research conducted on men found that those who took shorter holidays generally ‘worked more and slept less’. The post argues that this is perpetuating stress issues and the risk of burnout.

We’re assuming these findings would also apply to female employees, who last year missed out on even more paid leave than their male counterparts.

Perhaps it’s time to review your work-life balance and whether you’re happy with your current lifestyle. If you’re not, there may be better options for you.

Employers and managers should also look to create a culture that encourages everyone to use their holiday entitlement. Booking a temp to cover annual leave needs is a great place to start. Call us on 01225 313130 to discuss how this could work for your business.