Our new study finds office workers spend SIX days a year complaining about their boss

Staffing Industry AnalystsSurvey also shows three quarters think there is a culture of moaning in their workplace

The average employee spends the equivalent of more than six working days a year complaining about their boss, a study commissioned by recruitment organisation RSG has found.

A poll of 2,000 office workers found more than six in ten regularly have a moan about their manager to other colleagues during lunchbreaks, on social media or even while sat at their desks.

But these little moans add up to a total of an hour and five minutes of each working week spent grumbling about their boss – the equivalent of almost six-­and-­a-­half working days each year.

This means the average worker is effectively being paid £678 a year – to complain about their boss.

And it’s women who are most likely to have a moan, with 68 per cent admitting to doing this compared to just 57 per cent of men.

They don’t always get away with it though, with almost one in five workers getting caught slagging off their boss – with an unlucky one in twenty being overheard by the person they were complaining about.

Mike Beesley, CEO of UK-­based recruitment company RSG, said: “Most people will have the occasional moan and groan about work, but it’s staggering to see just how long these little moans amount to over a longer period of time.

“No-­one expects you to be happy at work every single second of every day, but getting stuck in a cycle of endless moaning can quickly bring your mood down.
“Even sitting next to someone who is regularly complaining about your manager can affect your own mood regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

“We spend a lot of our time at work so if you aren’t happy about something, it’s important to deal with it in the right way to try and rectify it.

“But it’s also important for employers to make sure their workforce is happy – happy workers are likely to be far more productive than those who spend their days needing to let off steam.”

Researchers revealed the average worker complains or talks about their boss to another person once a day, and has negative thoughts about their manager another eight times a week.

One in five workers even admitted to spending the equivalent of at least one hour every day feeling unhappy with their boss.

Despite this, 62 per cent say they try and avoid getting dragged into it whenever someone is complaining at work.

But worryingly for employers, half of their workers moan about their manager while at their desk, with another 14 per cent using instant messages or Skype to discuss their gripes with friends and colleagues.

More than one in ten emails their fellow workers, with one in 20 letting off steam on their social media profile
Less than three in ten save their complaints for their break time.
But their unguarded moans have led to trouble for some with 19 per cent being caught out – one in twenty by the person they were talking about.

One respondent complained about their boss in an email to their colleague – only for that email to be forwarded to the person they were discussing.

Another was taking the mick out of their manager over the phone, but later discovered that the call was recorded.

The study also found three quarters believe there is a ‘moaning culture’ in their workplace, especially if a certain member of staff or manager is in.

And 71 per cent say you only need one person to be moaning about the job or their boss for it to bring everyone else’s mood down as well.

But more than three quarters reckon they would be far more productive if there was less grumbling going on around them.

Mike Beesley added: “Good employee engagement should be central to the overall business structure so that people can feel they are being listened to when they have a problem.

“Not having a listening programme in place can create a negative culture that, as our survey shows, only breeds more negativity.

“Business leaders, senior teams and human resource managers have a role to inspire, encourage and listen to their employees or risk losing the best of them.

Coverage received in:

The London Economic

The Scotsman


Staffing Industry

HR Grapevine

Staffing Industry Analysts



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