I can recall a text from a friend of mine about an altercation at work that had gotten out of hand. Her coworker threw a tantrum (think yelling, screaming and hand flailing) and things almost turned into a scuffle. All I remember doing is asking, in disbelief, “This was at the office?” Turns out, adolescent behavior is actually quite prevalent in today’s office culture and a new survey by CareerBuilder has confirmed as much.
While we’d love to think the office is a “sacred space” of professionalism where everyone knows how to mind their manners, the truth is things happen — often. Between May 14 and June 3, 2015, CareerBuilder surveyed more than 3,000 full-time U.S. workers and more than 2,000 full-time U.S. hiring and human resources managers across industries. The survey found that 77 percent have witnessed some type of childish behavior among colleagues .
The survey found the following child-like behaviors to be the top 10 witnessed by colleagues at the office:
- Whine: 55 percent
- Pout over something that didn’t go his/her way: 46 percent
- Tattle on another co-worker: 44 percent
- Make a face behind someone’s back: 35 percent
- Form a clique: 32 percent
- Play a prank on another co-worker: 36 percent
- Start a rumor about a co-worker: 30 percent
- Storm out of the room: 29 percent
- Throw a tantrum: 27 percent
- Refuse to share resources with others: 23 percent
The managers and higher-ups also noted that many of these behaviors do not go overlooked. When asked what immature behavior they’ve kept an eye out for, employers mentioned inappropriate cell phone use and disappearing after a lunch break. The following are a list of real-life observations some managers shared:
- Employee hid to get away from duties and work responsibility.
- Employee intentionally set up a co-worker to get him/her in trouble.
- Employee ate other employees’ food from the company refrigerator.
- Employee blocked parking spots to prevent other employees from parking closer to the front door.
- Employee gossiped about all of his direct reports, then pretended to be their advocate.
- Employee constantly pulled up inappropriate content on her cell phone and showed it to her “clique.”
“There’s a fine line between innocent fun and inappropriate behavior,” said Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer of CareerBuilder. “Actions like spreading rumors, ‘tattling,’ and forming cliques to exclude others can be perceived as mean-spirited, bullying and even harassment.”
And it’s all fun and games until you are overlooked for a promotion. CareerBuilder found that managers are less likely to promote employees who are constantly seen as negative, use foul language and spread rumors.
A majority of employers (62 percent) said they are less likely to promote employees who have a pessimistic attitude (whining, pouting, etc.) and 44 percent of employers think twice before moving a gossiper up the ranks.
What’s the most childish thing anyone’s ever done to you at work?