Office Loudmouths Making Life Tough

March 23, 2006 ( - If you want to get along better with your workplace colleagues, turn the volume down a bit on your conversations and stay away from profanity.

An employee poll taken for Randstad USA, a personnel consulting firm, found that almost a third (32%) said ‘loud talkers’ most made their work lives harder, ahead of ringing cell phones (30%) and using speakerphones in public (22%).

According to the survey, 91% thought profanity is unacceptable in the workplace.

Perhaps a bit less intrusive but still annoying, according to a news release about the poll, were:

  • condescending tones, cited by 44% as one of their biggest pet peeves at work,
  • public reprimands, cited by 37%, and
  • micromanaging, selected by 34%.

The survey on workplace etiquette also indicated that American employees are “disciplined in their jobs, skipping lunch breaks and working longer hours that cut into the weekend,” said Genia Spencer, managing director of operations and human resources for Randstad USA. “Employees are focusing on productivity, and they are looking to their colleagues and employers to limit excessive distractions.”


  • 91% say they do not call in sick when they’re not really sick.
  • Nearly two in five employed US adults (38%) indicated they do not usually take a lunch break.
  • One-third (33%) state they work overtime without additional compensation.
  • 31% work on Sundays.

A total of 2,318 employees were surveyed online by Harris Interactive.