Is Your Office Full Of Can’ts?
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Is Your Office Full Of Can’ts?

18th March 2014
By Jacqui Beel

We recently undertook a survey of 2,000 people to look into those colleagues in work who stop you from getting your job done, who get in the way of your can do attitude and hinder your progress at every turn. We even created a fun and interactive graphic – feel free to share it with the Can’ts that are getting in your way.

We found that the biggest Can’t in a UK workplace who tends to be uncooperative, unhelpful and  who attempts to hold others back is typically a female (54%, Male’s at 46%) named Sarah (or David for the men), she is 44 years old, (30%) has brunette hair (31%) and works in Human Resources (18%).

According to the survey, the most popular action that Brits take to vent their frustration from this person is to scream or shout in private (40%) however moving seats to be further away from this person comes a close second with 39%.

The drastic action of seeking new employment comes third. 15% of people questioned even admitted to considering counselling because of the effect this colleague has on them and a staggering 12% have actually considered relocating or moving away to get as far away from them as possible. These results are typical of a Brit’s tendency to avoid confrontation and refrain from dealing with problems directly.

Competition against the same sex proves apparent with 70% of female respondents and 63% of male respondents confessing it is a colleague of the same sex who they find the most obtrusive, stating they tend to compete with this person for an ‘alpha’ role in the workplace.

The difference in gender is that 55% of men said they would openly compete with their male colleague to get their own way whereas only 45% of women would. The majority of female respondents (45%) would cope with this frustration by shouting in private compared with the majority of men (35%) who would swap seats.

This shows that men are more confrontational when it comes to a disagreement at work, whereas women tend to bottle their anger up more.

Some of the unusual and distinguishing characteristics that respondents cited during the survey, of their workplace ‘Can’t’ included:

  • Horn rim glasses
  • Large nose
  • Moustache
  • Red face
  • Wears sandals all year round
  • Tattoos

And from a list of professional and unprofessional personality traits, the top five that respondents recognised in their workplace ‘Can’t’ were:

  • Argumentative
  • Confident
  • Deceitful
  • Unproductive/inefficient
  • Completely committed to their job

So the workplace Can’t – gets in the way and stops you from getting the job done. Don’t let them, join the can-do club instead.