Our research reveals what makes UK office workers tick

Our name labels are used by people of all ages, for a huge range of purposes. In recent years we have noticed a rising trend for customers using our name tags to keep their possessions safe at work. This got us thinking, why are so many office workers keen to keep tabs of their prized items in the workplace, and why are they having to go to such lengths to do so? Keen to find out more, we conducted research amongst UK office workers into the psychology behind our behaviour at work, and the rituals that become so important to us.



Forming Bonds

In true British fashion, making a cuppa, cracking a joke and lending a pen were found as the fastest ways to form bonds with colleagues. In fact, as many as 65 percent of office workers believe that the social aspect of making a brew brings them closer to their co-workers.

We also looked into the actions that are most likely to boost popularity in the office, and found that helping a colleague with their workload, assisting with technical issues and saving a colleague from a challenging customer call were the top ways to win-over teammates. Taking charge of the office tea round also scored highly, with 77 percent of people agreeing that this is very valuable during the working day.

Unsurprisingly, the teammate who makes other colleagues laugh was voted the most popular in the office, whilst 70 percent said that sharing stationery also goes a long way in winning over co-workers.

The research also found that social interactions form a key part of our working life, with over half of those researched admitting that they would prefer office perks, including a happy working environment or never having to interact with annoying colleagues again, over a pay rise.


What the Experts Say

Beverley Stone, Charted Psychologist, explains why social interactions are so important to our overall experience at work: “From my perspective, the most significant finding from the research is the large extent that people are motivated by small gestures. These are often overlooked by organisations, or even considered not important.  The environment we work in has a huge impact on our self-image and we need to feel valued and respected in order to thrive. Positive interactions with colleagues are so vital, as they reinforce feelings of belonging and being appreciated. Not feeling supported or believing that their colleagues lack integrity can lead talented people to look elsewhere for work, which will have a big impact on a business. This is why social rituals, however small, are an important part of UK office culture.”



Office Bugbears

Our research also investigated the habits that are likely to cause friction in an office environment, finding that colleagues not pulling their weight, (56 percent), taking credit for someone else’s work (45 percent) and repeatedly coming in late (37 percent), were the top faux pas. People spending too much time on social media (33 percent), leaving washing up in the sink (32 percent) and confrontational colleagues (31 percent) were also listed as gripes.

When it comes to conflict, agreeing on the thermostat temperature was cited as a major issue amongst office workers. Eating smelly food or chewing loudly, stealing stationery and food thieves were also found to be causes of irritation.

We were shocked to find that 35 percent of those researched have had their food stolen from the office. While one third of people said they use name tags to prevent food theft, some admitted to going to extreme measures to prevent further incidents, including licking food or even putting laxatives in their meals to catch the culprit.

And it’s not just food that goes missing in the office. Over one third of workers have also lost stationery, with the majority (87 percent) revealing items have been taken from their own desk. This can also be a cause of tension, with a whopping 72 percent of office workers claiming they would be upset to lose certain items of stationery. Over half of workers also admitted being irrationally protective over their favourite item, such as their best pen.


With this in mind, it came as no surprise that many feel compelled to take action if they have such items taken from their desk. Workers confessed to shouting across the office or sticking name labels on all their stationery as a reaction to having prized items stolen. Some even admitted to hiding or locking away their favourite items, while others said stealing from co-workers was the way they re-gained missing stationery.

Our new, smaller set of labels is perfect for sticking on office stationery, lunch boxes and snacks, helping to prevent the causes of tension in the workplace. To find out more click here.