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Irritants and Niggles at Work

31 January 2014:    Niggles and Irritants at Work:

According to a survey reported in the Metro Newspaper this week, the biggest causes of disputes between colleagues are:


  • Booking annual leave (35%)
  • Stealing from the office fridge (25%)
  • Taking a long lunch (17%)
  • Arguments about who’s making the tea or coffee (13%)
  • Being over-friendly to other colleagues (10%)


Some employees assume that they can simply book a package holiday and then inform the employer. Employers however should be able to refuse holiday requests for business planning reasons. If maintaining cover is an issue, it is worth putting a system in place to ensure that half a dozen staff don’t all try to disappear at once for a week in the sun.


Helping yourself to a bit of milk from the office fridge should not normally be a disciplinable offence. Wholesale pillaging if you’re feeling peckish probably would be. Staff taking long lunches can become a problem in the same way as people getting in late in the morning. Formal warnings can be used to address this if a quiet word does not achieve the required improvement.


If staff are arguing about who should make the tea, it might be easier for them to simply get their own cuppa. It’s not clear what being ‘over-friendly’ means in the survey, but it’s important to have an Equal Opportunities policy in place which also deals with harassment!


Hopefully however a harmonious working environment will reign supreme in your office.


We are employment lawyers based in Holborn London WC1, just by Chancery lane tube and covering Central London and the City

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