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.



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.