Workforce Watch List: Office habits

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According to data in the March 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics release, Americans spend an average of 34.5 hours per week in the workplace. A majority work more than 40 hours, which is a considerable amount of time spent on the job.

Let’s face it, along with the hard work we produce day in and day out, we bring with us our habits, social tendencies and well, “baggage.” But what types of office habits are prevalent in the typical American workplace? Are they affecting job performance? Are coworkers taking notice of our “baggage?”

In February, Adecco conducted a telephone survey of 507 working Americans aged 18 and over about their workplace habits — among other topics — which revealed some interesting data. Let’s break down some of the findings.

Late for an important date

Of the 507 people surveyed, 22% of them admitted to occasionally being late for work — usually 2-3 times per month. Gender differences in this work habit topic became apparent. Of all women surveyed, 26% confessed to sometimes being late while only 18% of men admitted the same.

Generationally, Millennials were shown to be the worst offenders of rolling in late – with 32% of them acknowledging their punctuality problem. In addition, 22% of Generation X and Baby Boomers — who both scored exactly the same — reported that they sometimes arrived to work past their scheduled start time.

So why are all of these people running late? It’s not that surprising.

35% attributed their tardiness to traffic and transportation issues, while 23% claim they hit the snooze button one too many times and overslept. Getting the kids off to school and other family responsibilities accounted for 22% of the data. Rounding out the late arrivers club were those who took too long getting dressed (7%) and those who just did not like their job enough to show up on time (5%).

Have some whine with that cheese

When it comes to bugging your coworkers, there are some practices you might want to avoid. According to the survey, 37% of working Americans are most annoyed by their coworkers who complain about their workload.  Messy desks and common spaces were also a major annoyance, garnering 30% of vote.

[Check out this Wall Street Journal Article regarding office clutter where another Adecco survey was cited.]

Other colleague pet peeves that were revealed were excessively loud coworkers (26%), and calling out sick (21%). Interestingly enough, men (43%) are more likely to be annoyed than women (33%) by coworkers who complain about work.

Order in the court!

One insight that was uncovered in the survey was the practice of judging coworkers on their habits, tendencies and perceived work ethic. Whether it is fueled by a competitive job environment, company culture, workplace envy or just regular human nature, judging a fellow employee is commonplace in the American professional landscape.

Adecco found that 28% of working Americans admit that they have judged a co-worker for coming in later or leaving work earlier than they do, while 68% of those surveyed said that they do not.

Millennials are the ones who are likely judging you the most.  38% percent from that age group admitted to judging a colleague for coming in late or leaving early, while 31% of Generation X and 22% of Baby Boomers admitted to doing the same.

Don’t trust anyone (with food)

The last office habit survey result might make you lose your lunch. (Pun fully intended!) 1 in 5 working Americans say that they have had their food taken out of the office fridge, while only 4% of those surveyed admitted to stealing a colleague’s lunch.

While we’re very certain of the data taken from this survey, this stat just doesn’t add up.  Is it possible some who were surveyed weren’t entirely truthful when it came to taking a coworker’s lunch?

Maybe some of you surveyed just need a good example, so I’ll start. To my coworker Julie, I’m sorry I took one of your string cheese sticks while you were on vacation. You may have one of my pop tarts in return.

What do you think about the data presented in this blog? Let us know your thoughts! Post a comment, Facebook us or Tweet us. Make sure to use the hashtag #watchlist.

Adecco is equipped to staff your team with workers that will meet and enhance the culture you’re nurturing with your team.  Whether you’re a large company or a small business, we have the resources and expertise you need to achieve success. Get started by contacting us today!


Jason Provost is a Marketing Manager for Adecco Staffing USA's Attraction & Lead Generation team. Aside from his professional work with Adecco, Jason plays bass guitar, loves to cook and is a diehard Boston sports fan. Follow his insights on the Adecco USA blog!

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