The workplace can't

Who are the most obstructive and unhelpful colleagues in your workplace? According to a new survey by Powwownow, most of them work in the HR Department!

In conjunction with OnePoll, Powwownow have conducted national research to determine certain characteristics, personality traits and even people’s behaviour and opinions towards our most obstructive and unhelpful colleagues; which have been named ‘The Workplace Can’t’. They have also created a very clever illustration of The Workplace Can’t.

Almost 18% of those polled named the Human Resources department at their workplace as being the most obstructive and most likely to reject reasonable requests. It received almost double the amount of votes against the first runner up: the Finance/Accounting department.

The person most likely to be uncooperative and unprepared to help in a British workplace – or ‘can’t’ – is female, according to 54% of those polled. 46% cited a man as the biggest ‘can’t’ where they work.

A unhelpful and obstructive female colleague is most likely to be called Sarah and her male equivalent David, after all participants were asked to name those workmates that best fit the description of a ‘can’t.’

The most popular physical characteristics of a ‘can’t,’ or an apathetic and unhelpful colleague, are as follows:

  • 31% of those polled cited that their workplace ‘can’t’ is a brunette
  • The majority (16%) said that he or she is between 160 and 165cm (approx. 5’ 3” to 5’ 4”.)
  • Average height is 172cm (approx. 5’ 7”.)
  • Most respondents (30%) claimed that their office ‘can’t’ was between 45 and 54 years old. Average age was 44
  • 19% of those polled said that their workplace ‘can’t’ work from their employer’s Human Resources department.

Some unusual and distinguishing characteristics that respondents cited of their workplace ‘can’t’ include:

  • Horn rim glasses
  • Large nose
  • Moustache
  • Red face
  • Wears sandals all year round
  • Tattoos

The majority of respondents (53%) admitted that unproductive or obstructive employees are more prone to bullying in the workplace, because of their nature.

A league table of what respondents have considered as a result of working with an obstructive or unhelpful colleague:

  • Scream of shout silently/in private out of sheer frustration (40%)
  • Changing where they’ve sat to be further away from the person in question (39%)
  • Seek new employment (36%)
  • Approach their superior in an attempt to ‘cut them out’ of processes and protocol (30%)
  • Change profession/career path entirely (22%)
  • Compete with that person professionally (22%)
  • Consider working from home/remote working (22%)
  • Call in sick in a bid to avoid a meeting with that person (20%)
  • Seek advice or buy tools/instructional material in a bid to ‘bust stress’ (18%)
  • Consider counselling (15%)
  • Relocate/move away (12%)

The reasons respondents attribute to why the most obstructive and unhelpful colleague at their workplace acts as he/she does:

  • Illusions of grandeur (68%)
  • Attempt to retain power and hold others back (67%)
  • Inherent to his/her personality (64%)
  • Feeling unsatisfied/unfulfilled with life (53%)
  • Dislike of his/her job and/or colleagues (46%)
  • Laziness/indifference to job (43%)
  • Confusion/lack of training/lack of confidence (40%)
  • Distracted by factors outside of work (37%)

Who are your workplace ‘Can’t’s’? Let us know by commenting below or across our social media!