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Study: The most annoying things people do in the workplace

Using jargon phrases such as ‘think outside the box’ and ‘touch base’ will make you an unpopular colleague, and can destroy workplace morale, according to a new study of the worst office habits from Britain’s Institute of Leadership and Management.

Are Jim and Pam from "The Office" the model colleagues? Credit: Getty Images Are Jim and Pam from "The Office" the model colleagues?
Credit: Getty Images

Using jargon phrases such as ‘think outside the box’ and ‘touch base’ will make you an unpopular colleague, and can destroy workplace morale, according to a new study of the worst office habits from Britain’s Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

Around 64% of those surveyed complained of ‘management speak’ in the workplace. Colleagues arriving late to meetings upset 65% of respondents, while 60% had a problem with gossip. Clothing choices and refusal to make tea or coffee were also common reasons for irritation.

The study urged management to proactively address such problems, which although seemingly trivial, can escalate into serious issues.

“People treat these as minor irritations but there is a cumulative effect,” David Pardey, ILM’s Head of Research & Policy, told Metro. “If no-one takes action, it communicates a lack of care or respect that can lead to departures, or in the case of gossiping, legal issues such as bullying cases.”

Managers must address such problems, Pardey added. “The first time one of these issues arises, the manager is not responsible. The 10th time it is squarely on them.”

Workplace irritations are widely blamed on long hours, but Jonny Gifford, research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, disagrees. “Job satisfaction has increased during the recession, despite the fact we are working harder. This is due to a rise in worker influence, involvement in decision-making, and a more open culture.”

ILM tips to be a model colleague

1. Treat people well, and with good manners.
2. Be on time for meetings – lateness is disrespect.
3. Avoid ‘management speak’ – it alienates and confuses people.
4. Think about the best mode of communication. Face-to-face is often better than email.
5. Consider how noise you make affects colleagues.

 
 
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