Gossiping, swearing and flirting are pushing workers to stay remote

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Want your workers to come into the office more? You’ll need to nip workplace swearing, gossiping and flirting between coworkers in the bud first.

That’s according to the latest data from global employment platform Indeed, which surveyed over 1000 employees and 500 employers in the U.K. and found that 1 in 5 employees are dodging the office to avoid the annoying behavior of co-workers.

While gossiping is the biggest bug-bearer, another office peeve is oversharing: On average, the workers’ Indeed surveyed admitted to chatting excessively about their personal lives, as well as, the lives of their peers twice a week—and it’s becoming increasingly tiresome to many.

Over 20% complained about receiving TMI (too much information) from their coworkers on personal matters.

Even bosses are foiling their return-to-office mandates with 25% of senior managers abandoning their cubicles to dodge their “irritating staff”.

Meanwhile, certain irritations exceed the boundaries of workplace settings; Whether at home or in the office, workers fume at colleagues taking credit for their work (46%), talking over them (36%), and micromanaging (34%).

“Our data underlines the changing workplace behaviors over time, influenced by the huge shift caused by the pandemic with more employees working remotely,” Danny Stacy, U.K. head of talent intelligence at Indeed, said in a statement. 

“There’s always going to be colleague habits that frustrate us and some behaviors that are simply unacceptable in the workplace.” With that in mind, Stacy recommends employers “create moments of connection for employees”.

That way any annoyances among workers can hopefully be replaced with friendship—or at least, a mutual understanding and respect for each other despite their differences. 

Businesses are sending workers to etiquette classes

Since the pandemic-induced stint of working from home, employees have seemingly forgotten how to act in an office environment. 

Previous research has found that a sizable chunk of workers are still dressing as if they are working from their sofa, taking leisurely lunch breaks and simply behaving oddly in the office.

Indeed data echoed that over half of workers say being able to behave informally (within reason) at work makes them enjoy their job more.

But the lack of workplace formality is clearly frustrating employers who are increasingly sending their staffers on etiquette training classes.

Take the world’s Big Four consulting firms, for example.

Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, and EY are all offering incoming junior hires soft skills training, including lessons on how to speak up in meetings.

Myka Meier, who runs the U.S.-based firm Beaumont Etiquette, recently told Business Insider that her etiquette classes—which cost upward of $2,500 for corporate group sessions—have experienced a surge in interest.

“We started seeing a bigger uptake of people saying: ‘What are the new office rules of post-COVID? Are we allowed to talk to each other? Are we allowed to talk at the water cooler?’” she said.

It’s why over 60% of companies in the U.S. alone say they will enlist the help of etiquette training firms, like Meier’s, to teach their employees how to dress appropriately for the office, interact with clients, and respect shared spaces in 2024, Resume Builder’s survey of over 1,500 leaders found. 

But employers be warned: You don’t want to strip employees’ quirks back so much that you suck the soul out of the office. 

Indeed found that for over 41% of workers, experiencing informal “but still professional” behavior in the interview stages is often what enticed them to join the company in the first instance. 

“For employers, it’s about striking that balance between employees feeling like they can be themselves, with maintaining a professional working environment where all colleagues feel comfortable,” Stacy concludes.

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