Do you worry about what your co-workers think of you?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, according to our latest research, almost a third of UK workers suffer from FOOC (fear of offending colleagues).
Most people worry about saying or doing the wrong thing in the workplace at some point in their careers. Whether that’s getting someone’s name wrong, asking a silly question, or talking about a subject that could be considered too personal.
Sometimes the workplace doesn’t feel like somewhere you can be unapologetically yourself. But it really should be.
We did some research to find out more about people’s attitudes towards work – and whether or not they have a ‘workplace persona’.
How many people hide their true personalities at work?
Surveying over 2,000 UK adults, we found that almost one in five mask their true personality to fit in at work.
However, we also found that people who feel like they can be their true selves at work are happier in their jobs and more likely to #LoveMondays.
Gen Z and women worry more
Among age groups, Gen Z (those born between 1997 – 2012) worry most about what their colleagues think of them, while workers aged 45+ are concerned that being themselves at work may offend others (31%).
One of the reasons for this is the fear of what their colleagues might think of them (22%), something women (24%) seem to worry more about than men (19%) – and, for those who identify as LGBTQ+, this rises to 29%.
Top five workplace worries
Whilst there are many different reasons someone might suffer from ‘FOOC’, there were certainly some common themes among survey respondents.
The biggest worry among workers is asking a question that could be considered too personal (31%). This includes talking about anything from breakups, bereavement, and body piercings (probably).
Calling a colleague by the wrong name, or mispronouncing their name (21%), came next on the list. Followed by not being sensitive to religious beliefs and sexual identity, and finally, alluding to their work not being good enough.
We count on our colleagues
Unsurprisingly, having a good relationship with colleagues came in as the most important factor in helping people open up and be themselves at work (45%). So let your relationship with your work BFF blossom. It may help you Love Mondays in the long run…
Simon Wingate, Managing Director at Reed.co.uk, says: “At Reed.co.uk, we want to help people Love Mondays, and allow them to find jobs that suit both their career and personal goals. Our research suggests that whilst some people worry about showing up as their authentic selves at work, it’s something that British workers value really highly. We hope, by providing a range of different types of jobs, that our users can find jobs that they love and employers that allow them to be who they are, so they can show up as themselves with confidence every day.”