We have spoken at length in the past about how everything from workload to daily practices to the design of the office itself can impact upon the productivity of the workforce, however one area we could be accused of someone neglecting is the effects, be they positive or negative, of our colleagues.

Fortunately for us this subject has been explored as part of new research conducted by CABA, a non-profit organisation committed to supporting the wellbeing of chartered accountants. CABA’s research found that a staggering 59% of British employees find their work colleagues impact on their productivity, with 19% stating that the biggest distractions in the office are often not related to the work itself.

While potential colleagues continue to rank highly in terms of what we seek when looking for employment, as stated by 41% of respondents, they often also prove to be the greatest distraction. As many as 28% of employees revealed that they get annoyed by their colleagues feigning hard work while doling little, while others say they are routinely irritated by colleagues excessively talking or gossiping about non-work related things (22%), and being quick to complain about workloads (20%). Colleagues taking credit for their co-workers work was also mentioned by 10% of respondents.

Additionally, 28% of respondents said that they have a dispute with a colleague or manager at least once a fortnight, while 28% went so far as to insist that they could actually do a better job than their manager.

Kelly Feehan, Services Director for CABA, commented, “If you work with someone who constantly complains or takes advantage, you may dread coming to work even if you like your job. Colleagues have a profound impact on their co-workers’ performance and job satisfaction, and a poor work ethic and attitude can drive employees to low productivity, absenteeism or even quitting a post. Behaviour can be contagious, so employees may, consciously or unconsciously, mirror the actions and attitudes of their workplace peers.”

The impact of our colleagues on our working lives is however not altogether negative, with 31% of employees saying they like spending time with their colleagues and often use them as a pillar of support; 30% admitted to relying on their peers to help manage stressful situations at work, further reinforcing their potential value.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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