Brits suffer in silence

Sep 24 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

A recent study suggests that the world-renowned British stiff upper lip extends into the workplace. Consultancy Ceridian surveyed 1,000 British employees about how they interact with HR about sensitive issues, notably dealing with annoying co-workers. The results were somewhat surprising.

According to the study, 58% of UK workers would not approach HR to discuss their co-workers more annoying habits. That's a pretty poor percentage, given the top three annoying habits the respondents selected:

  • Excuses for getting out of work (21%)
  • Temper tantrums and arguments (especially in open or public areas) (11%)
  • Office gossip (9%)

What does it all mean? It means that a clear majority of UK office workers have a bad habit of not sharing their feelings. Judging by the responses, it's obvious that frustrations go past the "He stole my lunch money, I'm telling the teacher!" level.

Unfortunately, the study doesn't indicate whether or not these folks escalate their concerns to their immediate manager. If not, it would tend to explain the next part of the study that links stress levels to absenteeism.

You can extrapolate these findings to suggest that their employers probably aren't efficiently running their business. These study results indicate that work environments aren't quite up to par in some areas. After all, depending on the size of a company, it's unfathomable that HR wouldn't be aware of temper tantrums in the workplace.

In addition to the obvious, which is that the British workforce needs to better communicate their workplace issues (and you can replace British with any other group of people), it's also clear that HR needs to be made more aware of what the office environment is really like.