There’s always one person in the office who never offers to make the teas or coffees, yet are the first to put their order in. Or that person who is always online checking their own social media accounts, playing games or indulging in a bit of retail shopping.
A recent survey asked 10,000 respondents what their biggest office sins were and whilst a number of these are harmless and do little more than annoy their colleagues, there are some which ends up costing the business thousands, if not millions of dollars. But more serious than that, there are a few that will give you a reputation at work which could hold you back from progressing with the company.
The 5 biggest office sins
- Avoiding tea and coffee duties: Now this might seem like quite a harmless office sin, because let’s face it, you not getting up to make the team a hot beverage doesn’t actually cost the company any financial loss but it does cost YOU. Even though you may not realise it, your reluctance to be a team player may cost you that much sought-after promotion to a managerial or leader position. Nobody wants to work with selfish, lazy people and the companies certainly don’t want work-shy managers.
- Faking illness: We’ve all done this on a few occasions and whilst you might think the odd day off here or there doesn’t really matter – it does. In a recent Absence Management Survey it found that in 2016 the average number of days lost per employee was 6.3 and a median annual absence cost of around £522 per full-time equivalent employee. So while you may think having that extra duvet day is completely harmless – it isn’t. So only call in sick if you genuinely are.
- Inappropriate internet browsing: With the emergence of smartphones many people resort to using their handsets to go online while they’re supposed to be working but there are a few brazen people who will happily use the company’s browser (and time) to surf the net for non-work related stuff. While browsing the internet is one of the top reasons for wasting time at work, there are other ways employees can idle away those hours instead of doing proper work. The cost of this can run into thousands.
- Sleeping during meetings: OK, so whether you want to admit to it or not, we’ve all had a quick snooze during a long boring meeting – especially if you’ve just had a heavy lunch. Again this doesn’t break the company’s bank but it will make you a laughing-stock amongst your colleagues – especially if you start snoring or dribbling. So try not to do it by taking in a large glass of cold water or an extra strong coffee.
- Eating a co-worker’s lunch: Unless it’s a free lunch or an office treat this is a big no-no. It is never acceptable to help yourself to a colleague’s food – especially if they’ve spent hours lovingly making it from scratch. Doing this will cost you the ultimate penalty – your trust. Nobody wants to work with someone they can’t trust and your boss certainly doesn’t want someone they can’t trust working for them. Today it’s the sandwiches, tomorrow it could be expensive equipment. You may say to yourself “Oh I would never got that far” but why go there at all? DO NOT STEAL FROM YOUR CO-WORKERS. FULL STOP.
John Feldmann is a writer for Insperity Recruiting Services and has this advice for anyone who wants to clamp down on office misbehaviour, without compromising on mutual respect:
“While it’s important for employers to monitor productivity, placing restrictions on employees such as timed breaks or blocked social media sites never works. Instead, allowing them the freedom to work autonomously while meeting regularly to evaluate their progress is far more effective. Employers that trust their employees to do right will see them work that much harder to maintain that trust.
Regarding employee theft or faking illness, this can directly affect team morale and work output, as well as hurt the company financially. It’s then management’s responsibility to determine the appropriate action or punishment before it results in strained employee relations, diminished work quality and financial loss.”
So, while we all enjoy a bit of office banter there is the danger of taking it too far and it could end up costing you the respect of your co-workers, or worst still, your job.