Irritating Job

Hyper Recruitment Solutions recently conducted a survey to investigate what irritates employees in the workplace, and the results are truly staggering!


78% of employees have directly experienced rudeness in the workplace, including:

  • Being sworn at (54%)
  • Being reprimanded in front of peers (48%)
  • Being spoken over in a meeting (44%)
  • A personal remark about a choice of outfit (42%)

Our research further revealed that 92% of employees claim to have never been accused of workplace rudeness, despite 78% claiming that they’ve been on the receiving end.

Many of the respondents who stated that they had been accused of rudeness by colleagues cited swearing and speaking too directly as common reasons.


94% of employees said they thought that some physical contact in the workplace was acceptable.

However, responses varied depending on the type of contact:

  • A pat on the shoulder (52%)
  • A high-five (39%)
  • A hug (35%)
  • A fist bump (32%)
  • A kiss on the cheek (17%)

HRS Managing Director Ricky Martin says: “These results are pretty surprising. We often hear and read in the media how physical contact at work isn’t acceptable, yet our survey results suggest otherwise. Of course, physical contact isn’t always appropriate or well received, so I’d advise that it’s essential to be aware of factors such as personality, religion and culture. What might be regarded as friendly in one culture may be deemed deeply offensive in another! However, as the results suggest, should the relationship be there and requited, it shouldn’t be frowned upon for colleagues to hug, high-five or give one another a pat on the back!”


72% of employees would take action if working with a colleague with poor personal hygiene. What action would they take?

  • 36% of people would tell the person directly. Of these, men (78%) were more likely than women (68%) to voice their concerns about a colleague.

  • A further 36% would raise the issue with HR or management to handle the problem on their behalf.

This straight-talking approach is carried over into issues such as colleague disputes - over a third of employees surveyed would directly tell a colleague they don’t like them, with men (43%) being more likely to do so than women (24%).

Ricky says: “Workplace disputes and personality clashes are nothing new. What the results show is how direct people are when handling often-sensitive issues. I’d always advise that taking an open and honest approach with colleagues will work better in the long-term, but it’s important that colleagues are mindful not to unintentionally offend or create further issues in doing so.”


81% of employees cited small talk with colleagues as irritating.

Football and children were cited as the most irritating topics of conversation, as well as:

  • Trash-talking colleagues and clients (36%)
  • Forced pleasantries, such as 'How are you?' and 'Happy New Year!' (29%)
  • The weather (17%)

50% of employees admitted they had purposely not made a hot drink for themselves, just so they wouldn't have to make one for others!

This shows that while employees are willing to confront some issues head-on, they would sometimes rather avoid a situation completely than feel obliged to do something (like making a cup of tea for others in the workplace).


Why did we conduct this research?

HRS isn't just a company that puts people into jobs - we help candidates to find roles within organisations that make life-saving medicines and life-changing technologies. Ultimately, the people we support change lives!

With this in mind, we thought it essential to understand exactly why some people - even those in important, rewarding roles that look to be perfect for them - end up disengaging and leaving their employer. We hoped that this survey would uncover another side of the workplace, one that's not usually visible in CVs and job descriptions.

For more news and insights about the world of work, be sure to follow Hyper Recruitment Solutions on Facebook and Twitter!

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