As the weather cools, we spend an increasing amount of our days behind our desks, wrapped up in the warmth. This can result in a tinder box of office workers cooped up inside, snipping and sniping at one another over every perceived slight and disagreement. Today, we’re going to be sharing what the five most common causes of workplace arguments are, as well as how to diffuse these fraught exchanges!
We’ll start with the biggie, with the most contentious office topic around… the temperature of your office. A massive 70% of office workers argue over the thermostat, with 1 in 8 officer workers admitting to secretly adjusting the thermostat when no one else is watching! We want to stop this subterfuge and share the ideal temperature with you. As we’ve previously discussed, the office temperature debate tends to be grounded in gender differences, with women typically comfortable as a temperature that is 2.5 degrees warmer than men’s preferred temperature. We recommend keeping an office temperature of between 22 – 24 degrees to keep all warm and productive!
This item shouldn’t even be on the list – stealing other people’s food is never okay! If an item in the fridge is not explicitly yours, or provided by your company, keep your paws off! Conversely, if you’re bringing in food, do take two seconds to write your name on it, to save you from the heartbreak of a stolen dinner!
Overly loud office conversation
As we’ve previously discussed, people vary greatly when it comes to preferred office noise levels. Introverts prefer to work in a quiet environment, whereas extraverts prefer hustle and bustle. However, this preference affects introverts a great deal more. Excess noise levels can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and concentration difficulties. Respect this by monitoring how loudly you are speaking within the workplace, if you need to have an in depth, lengthy conversation, save it for a break or lunchtime.
Coffee & tea rounds
On a more light hearted note – the equality of tea and coffee rounds is up for debate! Recent studies have found that less than a third of office workers prefer to make themselves a beverage than provide a full round. Whilst completing the office tea round is a noble thing, do not expect others to do it for you! We are all very busy, and some of your colleagues may not have the time.
Unfair sharing of communal spaces
As winter closes in on us, a trip into the outside world during your lunch break becomes less and less attractive. This leads to an increased demand on the shared spaces within the office buildings. This is why the unfair sharing of communal spaces, such as conference and meeting rooms, office kitchens, and breakout areas, causes friction among colleagues.
Where possible, create a rota for such areas to reduce conflicting demands and clashing schedules. When it comes to areas such as office kitchens and break out areas, this is not always possible. Utilise the space to allow for separate seating and food preparing areas, and advise colleagues to be mindful of one another. Whilst some may enjoy a lunchtime debate, others may wish to use their breaks for quiet contemplation.
Consideration costs nothing
In short, take the time to consider the feelings of those you work alongside. We spend 30% of our waking hours during the working week with our colleagues. Taking the time to consider how we are affecting the environment that we have to share with colleagues will go a long way to improve office relations, and stress levels!