Gossip Tops Biggest Workplace Pet Peeves, According to Randstad Survey

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Employees want colleagues to clean up their act in the workplace, including cutting down on idle chitchat, washing their own dirty dishes and be better at managing their time. In a pet peeves-themed survey released today by Randstad USA, a leading staffing firm and workforce solutions provider, employees revealed their biggest annoyances in their places of work. The top three pet peeves found in the workplace (among those who have a biggest pet peeve) are gossip (60 percent), others' poor time management skills (54 percent) and messiness in communal spaces (45 percent).

As the multi-generational workplace evolves and with colleagues spending more time together, personal and professional behaviors begin to blend, affecting the overall workplace culture, attitudes and experiences within an organization

    "As the multi-generational workplace evolves and with colleagues spending more time together, personal and professional behaviors begin to blend, affecting the overall workplace culture, attitudes and experiences within an organization," said Genia Spencer, Managing Director of Operations and Human Resources for Randstad USA. "While managers impose standards for corporate culture, employees play a greater role in upholding desirable behaviors. Communication and openness are key factors in achieving a positive work environment."

Rounding out the top seven pet peeves among employees are potent scents (42 percent), loud noises (41 percent), overuse of electronic personal communications devices in meetings (28 percent) and misuse of email (22 percent).

When it comes to responding to the biggest annoyances in the workplace, the survey reveals that employees' verbal reactions vary based on the pet peeve. Though gossip proved employees' number one pet peeve, workers responded that they are more likely to say something directly to the person(s) involved about loud noises (42 percent) and messiness in communal spaces (38 percent) than say something directly to those who gossip (34 percent).

And of the top pet peeves, employees said they are least likely to address gossip with their boss (8 percent), and 41 percent said they would do nothing, perhaps solidifying their distaste for idle chatter.

Employees' annoyance with other's misuse of email, which ranked last among the top seven pet peeves (20 percent), is less likely to be addressed by saying something directly to the person(s) involved (25 percent) and the more likely to be ignored (41 percent) by an irritated employee.

Involving a boss to handle annoying behaviors is not always a first choice, but of the top seven pet peeves, employees are most willing to go to their supervisor to deal with others' poor time management skills (20 percent).

Randstad commissions quarterly surveys on relevant and provocative workplace trends.

Survey Methodology

Randstad's workplace pet peeves survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Randstad between July 11-13, 2007, among 2,429 U.S. adults aged 18 and over among whom 1,540 were employed. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with non-response, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Randstad USA

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Randstad USA is a leading employment services provider with more than 400 branches and client-dedicated locations in the United States. In 2006, Randstad USA's 2,000 employment experts put an average of 49,000 people to work each week. Randstad fulfills all aspects of employment for temporary, temporary-to-permanent and permanent placement including Office, Executive Office, Industrial, Call Center, Finance & Accounting, Technical and Creative as well as other HR services such as payrolling. For eligible employees, Randstad provides skills assessments, career counseling, training, health coverage, paid vacation and 401(k) matching contributions. More company information is available at http://www.us.randstad.com. Investment information is available at http://www.randstad.com.

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and one of the fastest-growing market research firms in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

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