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Can HR be trusted?

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People working in HR are more likely than any other profession to tell a colleague a secret, according to a new study. While an average of 33.6 percent of UK workers have spilled the beans to a workmate, 37.61 percent of HR professionals have divulged something private.

The report, which was commissioned by Mars Drinks Office Connections and surveyed 2,000 office staff, looked into the how people communicate in the office. It found that HR professionals spend 29 minutes and 26 seconds every day chatting to colleagues about non-work related topics, with family being the favourite topic of conversation, followed by last night’s TV and celebrity gossip. Other hot topics of conversation include the Great British weather, tea and coffee, relationships, money, children and health issues.

While HR professionals enjoy a good natter, the majority (64.1 percent) believe that technology has not made communicating in the office any easier. One in six prefer to chat face-to-face with colleagues, while a third would rather phone or email. Speaking about the results of the research, Jenni Morgan, trade marketing manager for Mars Drinks Office Connections, said: “Who doesn’t love a good natter in the office, especially over a nice cup of tea or coffee, and it’s great this research shows that people still value talking to their colleagues face-to-face, rather than from behind a screen.

“While emails, phone calls and even social media are certainly common ways for people to communicate with each other in the office, it’s encouraging to see that staff are taking the time to step away from their desks and engage with their colleagues in a more personal way. Not only is this great for nurturing working relationships, but it can also help make us more productive and create a much more positive and happy office environment.” When it comes to digital communication, more than half (54.7 percent) of HR professionals think it is acceptable to put kisses on the end of work related emails and nearly three quarters (72.65 percent) believe it is also fine to add smiley faces or other emoticons.

But terms such as ‘love’, ‘pet’ and ‘babe’ when referring to colleagues are not deemed acceptable by the vast majority, with three quarters insisting they are not expressions that should be used in the workplace.

A third (32.48 percent) believe the office has become a much less formal place and nearly a quarter (23.93 percent)) say they have more fun at work now than they ever did before. Jenni Morgan, trade marketing manager for Mars Drinks Office Connections, added: “The office environment has really changed over the past decade and it is always interesting to see how those changes affect staff. It is great to discover that many workers are having more fun than ever before, and one imagines this is linked to the fact that offices have generally become less formal, which is a welcome development.”

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