Brits love to complain, and the workplace is no exception.
In fact, 5% of office workers admit that complaining is the first thing they do when they arrive at work, and another 15% say that they complain throughout the day. That said, most don’t feel comfortable to do anything about it.
Some of the most common complaints revolve around temperature. If it’s too hot or too cold, your employees could be distracted from doing their job effectively. Other popular issues are IT-based, leaving many workers frustrated about wasted time caused by poor technology performance.
With half of office workers claiming that pet peeves in the office can ruin their entire day, it’s important to address these issues and maximize your employees’ productivity.
In this post, company formation agent 1st Formations reveals the most common workplace grievances and shares ways in which you can put some of these office fires out. Some of the issues on the list might surprise you and some will be a given, but whatever grinds your teammates’ gears, they’re not alone and it’s easy to solve them all and maintain a happy workforce.
1. Freezing cold air conditioning
Super-low temperatures are one of the most common office complaints. Everyone deals with temperatures differently, but generally, an environment that’s too cold can leave your employees feeling lethargic and generally uncomfortable. It can also increase their chances of catching an illness and missing work.
Even though studies have found almost a 50/50 split between the workers who find their office too warm and those who find it too cold, the good news is that there is an easy fix.
Try setting the air con to somewhere between 22 and 24°C. While it’s impossible to find a temperature to please everyone, this is the optimal setting that should suit the majority.
Those who are particularly sensitive to temperatures should make individual adjustments such as bringing in extra layers or sitting far away from the air con outlet.
Cleanliness in general is a common office complaint. More specifically, people get frustrated when others use their desks and leave them messy. While this might sound trivial, a desk is a very personal space for many people, so having that interfered with can be seen as disrespectful.
People also often complain about dirty communal areas like bathrooms and kitchens. This might not be a huge priority, but ultimately, no one wants to work in an unclean environment, and it can impact your team’s performance and happiness levels.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to adhere to the health and safety regulations in your workplace. If you haven’t done so already, you should familiarise yourself with these and ensure that your office environment is appropriate for your employees.
If you have office cleaners, they should be vetted regularly to make sure that they do a thorough job.
For desk-related problems, you could try leaving a few notices around the office to remind people to tidy their spaces when they’re finished, especially if they hot-desk.
3. Too much noise
With many workers returning to the office nowadays, you might find that the workplace is getting noisier – and some of your employees might not be happy about it. Too much noise could be caused by:
- Phones ringing
- People having conversations
- Doors slamming
- Social and entertainment (e.g. people having lunch or watching TV on their break)
While being in the office can be positive for your team, too much noise can affect their cognitive performance by reducing general alertness and attention. It can also increase anxiety and fatigue.
A simple solution is to offer your employees dedicated quiet spaces. These could be small rooms where people can work without disruptions for as long as they need.
Another solution is to have break out and social areas that are separate from desks. If someone is on their break or has a personal phone call, for example, they should be taken in these specific areas.
4. Colleagues who are difficult to work with
Another common office complaint is having to work with difficult colleagues. An office is naturally made up of different personalities, but when they clash, it can be hard for people to work together effectively.
One of the main potential problems is friction, which can impact your employee’s mental health and work performance. Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common mental health symptoms in the workplace and they are the top reason for sick days taken in the UK.
This can be a delicate matter, so it’s important to be cautious and understanding.
To start with, consider reassigning their duties. If it’s not essential for the two colleagues to work together, it might be helpful to simply assign them to separate projects where they can maximise their potential.
If it’s a collaborative task that requires a team effort, the matter should be confronted respectfully. Speak to the employees who are struggling (together or confidentially) to understand where the issues lie and use their feedback to make appropriate adjustments. In more serious cases, it may need to be escalated to HR.
5. Printer problems
Another frustrating office gripe is repetitive printer problems. Some of the most common issues are bad print quality, printer lifespan, unreliable Wi-Fi, and paper jams.
While it might sound menial, IT-related difficulties can halt your employees’ workflow.
If printers are used a lot in your office, it’s worth investing in reliable tech that can service your team’s needs. Buying cheap alternatives will simply cost you valuable time and money.
For micro or small companies, this might only be one printer for the whole office, but if you have a larger team, it’s worth getting top-of-the-range printers for the departments that need it most.
6. Computers crashing
As we get closer to the top of the list, IT troubles are making a regular appearance.
Similar to printer problems, computer crashes are a recurring office annoyance that can significantly interrupt your team’s productivity. In fact, a survey by Fox Business found that 75% of small businesses consider computer crashes to be more disruptive than sick employees. What’s more, it can be extremely costly for you to fix if the issue persists.
Computer crashes are inevitable, so every small business needs a computer crash plan. Firstly, like printers, it’s worth investing in adequate machines that help your employees do their jobs effectively.
When computers do crash, to get your team back up and running as quickly as possible, you should have a sizeable IT team that can service your company size. Budget-permitting, you could also have a spare laptop or two as a backup.
7. Unscheduled phone calls
The most common office complaint is getting unscheduled phone calls – especially if they’re at the end of the day.
There are several ways that impromptu calls can negatively impact your employees, such as:
- They disturb focus
- They can be disrespectful of people’s schedules
- They can be time-consuming
- If someone is surprised and doesn’t give the conversation their full attention, communication can be unproductive
- The call could also be unproductive due to a lack of agenda
- It can be hard to make good decisions when someone is caught off-guard
- They can make people anxious and affect their mental health
As a business owner, you lead your team by example. If you want to put a stop to unscheduled calls at work, you could reinforce calendar sharing.
Apps like Calendly make it really simple for colleagues to find the perfect time to collaborate. It can boost productivity with hundreds of integrations and extensions that fit seamlessly into their workflow.
So, there you have the most common complaints from office workers. Unsurprisingly, the temperature and poor tech have made the list. Some of the other annoyances that feature beyond the above are:
- Being copied into irrelevant emails
- Office jargon
- Smelly office lunches
- Bad phone signal
- An uncomfortable chair
If your team experiences any of these (or other issues), they’re likely to be an easy fix, and getting them sorted can make a huge difference in their productivity, health, and happiness.