1 in 5 employees work from home to avoid irritating co-workers

One in five (21%) employees are choosing to work from home more often to avoid annoying behaviour of co-workers, with a quarter (25%) of senior managers abandoning their offices to dodge irritating staff.

Global matching and hiring platform, Indeed, surveyed over 1000 employees and 500 employers in the UK, and found that gossiping (34%), swearing (19%) and flirting (18%) are among the most annoying workplace behaviours, encouraging people to spurn the office and work remotely.

Another office peeve is oversharing: Indeed found colleagues talk too much about their personal lives and gossip about others on average twice a week, with 1 in 5 (21%) workers experiencing too much information (TMI) from colleagues every day.

 Workplace gripes don’t end at the office doors. Remote working faux pas include not responding to messages and emails (34%), vaping or smoking on video calls (26%) and forgetting to mute or unmute on calls (23%). More than one in 10 employees experience colleagues monitoring for when they’re online every day, being eyeballed on average seven times a month.

And whether at home or in the office, workers fume at colleagues taking credit for their work (46%), talking over them (36%) and micromanaging (34%).

With almost half (47%) of employees agreeing that what they deem to be professional behaviour has changed over time, the Indeed study outlines new norms of expected behaviour in the workplace.

The data also indicates changing habits when it comes to socialising: more than a quarter (27%) say that they never go for drinks with their colleagues, with employees on average socialising only once a month. The pandemic was a large instigator of this change, with more than a third of employees (38%) and employers (34%) saying they socialise less with their colleagues since.

Perhaps surprisingly, hybrid workers socialise the least with colleagues since the pandemic, outstripping those who work fully remotely. More than half (53%) of hybrid workers say they socialise less vs. in-office workers (28%) and fully-remote workers (37%). This suggests that those who work only from home may make more effort to meet with their team outside of work or maintain connections with more virtual catch ups to make up for loss of “water cooler moments.”

Despite this decline in in-person connection, encouragingly, 44% say they have a similar relationship with their colleagues since the pandemic. In fact, 46% regard their colleagues as friends, rising to half of the in-office workers.

When it comes to physical connection, more than a third (36%) of employers say that office romantic relationships have become more acceptable over time. Hugging colleagues is widely accepted with only 6% deeming it inappropriate, but 28% draw the line at a kiss on the cheek.

Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at Indeed, said: “Our data underlines the changing workplace behaviours over time, influenced by the huge shift caused by the pandemic with more employees working remotely. There’s always going to be colleague habits that frustrate us and some behaviours that are simply unacceptable in the workplace. But what’s important for employers is to create moments of connection for employees, no matter where they’re based, to maintain relationships and ensure environments where everyone can do their best work.

“According to our research, over half (55%) of workers say being able to behave informally (within reason) at work makes them enjoy their job more, while 41% agree that experiencing behaviour that’s informal but still professional in an interview would make them more likely to take a job. 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.”