When it comes to workplace behaviour, just what is acceptable and what's not? Hannah Nicholas takes a look.
What are some of the worst offences you've seen at work? Share your story below.
A recent US survey discovered that falling asleep at your desk, kissing a workmate and consuming alcohol on the job are the biggest taboos in the office today.
The survey of 5700 workers found that 45 percent considered falling asleep at work the biggest office offence, followed by pashing a co-worker (39 percent), stealing from the workplace (22 percent) and spreading rumours about colleagues (22 percent).
Next came consuming alcohol on the job (21 percent), snooping after hours (18 percent), lying about your academic background (four percent) and taking credit for someone else's work (two percent).
Who is more likely to break workplace taboos?
Men were reported as engaging in these workplace behaviours more than women. Nearly half had fallen asleep on the job compared to women. However, when it comes to kissing co-workers, 44 percent of women admitted to puckering up!
What really is and isn't acceptable?
Melbourne-based psychologist and career-change specialist Meredith Fuller says work is a two-way engagement and employees should drop the fantasy that they can do whatever they like.
"Employees should know what is acceptable and what is not but if they don't, they need to look at role models and mentors to gauge what is acceptable," says Fuller. She also suggests doing some professional development training such as seminars, coaching or reading.
"It's not acceptable to whinge that no one spelled it out for me that you aren't allowed to have sex in the cupboards, sabotage your rival for that promotion or moan all day with your head on the desk because you were out partying hard the night before. Emotional intelligence is expected from both sides the employer and the employee."
In Fuller's experience, bad workplace behaviour falls into three categories.
1. Violence: the threat of physical harm.
2. Insidious cruelty to others: nasty comments or behaviour that undermines or causes stress so that a person is afraid to go to work.
3. Narcissistic behaviour: ie. the staff member who sleeps on the job, "is out at a meeting" when they are really shopping/getting a haircut/playing golf or one who doesn't do their work properly knowing that another team member will fix it up on their behalf.
What should companies do?
At the end of the day, these bad office behaviours can indirectly affect a company's bottom line. If employees feel uncomfortable at work, then absenteeism can rise, there are turnover increases and managers must spend time mediating conflict. Fuller says smart companies know that people capital is their most important resource and these companies ensure that HR have adequate staffing, authority and procedures to address such grievances and misunderstandings. For those that don't, there could be trouble down the track.
Have your say: what are some of the worst offences you've seen at work? Share your story.