Average employee spends over six working days a year slagging off their boss

  • Emma Finamore
  • 01 May 2016

This means the average worker is effectively being paid £678 a year…just to complain about their boss.


The average employee spends the equivalent of more than six working days a year slagging off their boss, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 office workers found more than 60% regularly have a moan about their manager to other colleagues during lunchbreaks, on social media or even while sitting at their desks.

This adds up to a total of an hour and five minutes each working week – the equivalent of almost six-and-a-half working days each year.

This means the average worker is effectively being paid £678 a year…just to complain about their boss.

And it’s women who are most likely to have a moan, with 68% admitting to it compared to just 57% of men.

They don’t always get away with it though: nearly one in five workers said they’ve been caught slagging off their boss.

An unlucky one in twenty said they had been overheard by the very person they were talking about.

A spokesman for UK-based recruitment company RSG, which commissioned the research, said: “Most people will have the occasional moan and groan about work, but it’s staggering to see just how long these little moans amount to over a longer period of time.

“No-one expects you to be happy at work every single second of every day, but getting stuck in a cycle of endless moaning can quickly bring your mood down.

“Even sitting next to someone who is regularly complaining about your manager can affect your own mood, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

“We spend a lot of our time at work so if you aren’t happy about something, it’s important to deal with it in the right way to try and rectify it.

“But it’s also important for employers to make sure their workforce is happy – happy workers are likely to be far more productive than those who spend their days needing to let off steam.”

Researchers revealed the average worker complains or talks about their boss to another person once a day, and has negative thoughts about their manager another eight times a week.

One in five workers even admitted to spending the equivalent of at least one hour every day feeling unhappy with their boss.

Despite this, 62% say they try and avoid getting dragged into it whenever someone is complaining at work.

Half of workers moan about their manager while at their desk, with another 14% using instant messages or Skype to discuss their gripes with friends and colleagues.

More than one in 10 emails their fellow workers, with one in 20 letting off steam on their social media profile

Less than three in ten save their complaints for their break time.

But this can lead to trouble: 19% said they’ve been caught out – one in 20 by the person they were talking about.

One respondent complained about their boss in an email to their colleague – only for that email to be forwarded to the person they were discussing.

Another was taking the mick out of their manager over the phone, but later discovered that the call was recorded.

Three quarters of workers said there is a “moaning culture” in their workplace, especially if a certain member of staff or manager is in, and said they would be far more productive if there was less grumbling going on around them.

A spokesman for RSG added: “Good employee engagement should be central to the overall business structure so that people can feel they are being listened to when they have a problem.

“Not having a listening programme in place can create a negative culture that, as our survey shows, only breeds more negativity.

“Business leaders, senior teams and human resource managers have a role to inspire, encourage and listen to their employees or risk losing the best of them.”



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