Survey: Top workplace nettles, headaches and faux pas

Employees and managers alike dish on which work quirks and office offenses drive them over the edge. You might think twice about hitting ‘reply all’ on that after-hours email.

Top work annoyances

If working were just a matter of doing the work, work wouldn’t be so bad.

Alas, for many of us, the workplace is a confounding, byzantine sort of “Hunger Games,” where we’re pitted against colleagues in a fight for career survival. Along the way, we’re subjected to a steady barrage of slings, arrows, indignities and nuisances—many of which start and end with communication.

Of course, there are many modern workplace annoyances. recently surveyed more than 800 employees (including workers and bosses) to get straight talk on which behaviors workers found to be the most egregious “violations of workplace decorum.”

Here are key findings:

Inbox angst

  • Twelve percent of bosses say they receive more than 21 emails each week outside of business hours.
  • Eighty-one percent of non-managers feel obligated to respond to after-hours emails.
  • Thirty-four percent of all employees surveyed feel stressed by after-hours communication, which can cause serious health problems.
  • A higher percentage (36 percent) of women report feeling stressed by off-hours emails.
  • Of all the age groups polled, millennials have the highest percentage of feeling anxious about late-night business communication.

Terrible office communication habits

  • Both women and men rank “using a speakerphone in an open or shared office” as the No. 1 most annoying workplace communication violation.
  • Gossiping, discussing politics, failing to silence cellphones, and mindlessly emailing the entire team also make respondents’ blood boil.

Bad boss behavior  

  • Women and men agree that playing favorites is the most annoying boss behavior.
  • Respondents make it clear that they do not appreciate bosses who: make informal threats to fire people, have poor hygiene, make romantic advances, take credit for others’ work, or cancel meetings five meetings before they’re supposed to begin.

Which work quirks and bothersome behaviors drive you batty? Please vent in the comments below, and review the rest of’s survey results here.

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