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Study
DIVISION OF LABOR
STUDY ON WORKPLACE BEHAVIOR
Research conducted by The PARAGRAPH Project
2
INTRODUCTION
This study was commissioned as part of the book,
Stop Tweeting Boring Sh*t – The New Rules of Work,
published by Chronicle Books. While the book is written
as a humorous guide to the modern workplace, the study
takes an actual look into the behavior of today’s office
workers. 850 office workers around the country were
surveyed as part of the study. They were asked a series of
questions about their behavior, beliefs and life at work.
The results paint a very interesting picture of the way
people spend nearly a third of their lives.
4
HIGHLIGHTS
5
HIGHLIGHTS
6
HIGHLIGHTS
3
KEY INSIGHTS
PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. NOT WORKERS. When people are at the office,
they don’t change. If you communicate with them as if they are business people
and not regular people, you’ll miss the chance to truly engage with them.
EMOTION IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE OFFICE. It is not a purely rational
place devoid of feeling. People go through the same decision making processes
no matter where they are. And business decisions often have a large component
of emotion in the process.
THE TERM “BUSINESS TO BUSINESS ADVERTISING” IS OUT OF DATE.
Peoples’ behavior in the office varies wildly depending on their personality.
Whether you’re a business selling to another business or a business selling to a
consumer, you’re first and foremost a business selling to another person.
THE STUDY
8
WHILE MILLENNIALS AVOID CONFRONTATION,
BOOMERS PREFER OLD-SCHOOL SHOUTING MATCHES
WHEN IT COMES TO RESOLVING ISSUES.
Would you rather...
HAVE AN ARGUMENT OVER EMAIL?
54.8%
45.2%
ALL
44.6%
55.4%
MILLENNIALS
(18 - 33)
OR HAVE AN ARGUMENT OVER THE PHONE?
54.4%
36.9%
45.6%
XERS
(34 - 47)
63.1%
BOOMERS
(48 - 66)
FILTER APPLIED: Millennials (n = 193); Xers (n - 329); Boomers (n = 249)
9
MORE THAN OTHER POLITICAL TYPES, DEMOCRATS
HAVE CHEATED ON THEIR PARTNER AT WORK.
Have you ever cheated on your spouse or significant other at the office?
YES
8.1%
91.9%
ALL
14.0%
86.0%
DEMOCRATS
NO
5.5%
94.5%
REPUBLICANS
6.9%
93.1%
INDEPENDENTS
10
What’s your philosophy on posting things to social
media accounts that are visible to your co-workers?
WHEN IT COMES
TO SOCIAL MEDIA
AND OFFICE LIFE,
GOOD FENCES
MAKE GOOD
NEIGHBORS.
10.0%
19.1%
70.9%
YOU MEAN STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS RAMBLINGS AREN’T A GOOD IDEA?
I CAREFULLY CRAFT MY ONLINE PERSONA AND ONLY POST WHAT MAKES ME SOUND SMART
MUM’S THE WORD...I DON’T WANT MY CO-WORKERS IN MY PERSONAL BUBBLE
11
SPEAKING OF
BAD IDEAS:
MEN ARE AT ONCE
EAGER TO WORK
WITH THEIR
SPOUSE AND
TERRIFIED AT
THE PROSPECT.
MEANWHILE,
WOMEN ARE
PLAYING IT COOL.
I would love to work
with my spouse
I do currently work with my spouse
and I have the scars to prove it
I would go crazy if I
worked with my spouse
I’m not married
50%
42.4%
39.3%
40%
34.8%
31.8%
30%
23.8%
22.0%
20%
10%
4.0%
2.0%
0%
WOMEN
MEN
FILTER APPLIED: Men (n = 403); Women (n - 405)
12
% of all respondents who have Googled...
MANY PEOPLE
HAVE WISED UP
TO SEARCHING
THEIR OWN NAME,
BUT MORE SHOULD
CHECK UP ON
CO-WORKERS.
70%
61.7%
60%
50%
38.1%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
THEMSELVES
CO-WORKERS
13
What drug of choice most helps you
get through the work day?
REPUBLICANS
ARE MORE
LIKELY THAN
OTHER GROUPS
TO RESORT TO
SNIFFING.
0.9%
31.3%
10.6%
0.5%
2.3%
16.6%
3.7%
OVER-PRICED ESPRESSO DRINKS
COFFEE
SODA
TEA
NONE OF THE ABOVE
34.1%
VODKA
CIGARETTES
BOXED WINE HIDDEN IN DESK
SNIFFING MARKERS STOLEN FROM SUPPLY ROOM
FILTER APPLIED: Republicans (n = 217)
14
What drug of choice most helps you
get through the work day?
INDEPENDENTS
HAVE A GREATER
TENDENCY THAN
OTHER GROUPS TO
SMOKE CIGARETTES
IN ORDER TO
CALM DOWN.
27.3%
13.8%
1.0%
0.3%
0.3%
14.9%
4.2%
OVER-PRICED ESPRESSO DRINKS
COFFEE
SODA
TEA
NONE OF THE ABOVE
38.1%
VODKA
CIGARETTES
BOXED WINE HIDDEN IN DESK
SNIFFING MARKERS STOLEN FROM SUPPLY ROOM
FILTER APPLIED: Independents (n = 289)
15
AT THE END
OF THE DAY,
MOST PEOPLE
CHOOSE THE
PATH OF LEAST
RESISTANCE.
Would you rather...
41.8%
58.2%
HAVE MORE RESPONSIBILITY WITH MORE STRESS?
OR HAVE LESS RESPONSIBILITY WITH LESS STRESS?
16
Would you rather...
IN TERMS OF THE
BURDEN THEY’RE
WILLING TO
BEAR AT WORK,
MEN ARE MORE
MASOCHISTIC.
WOMEN
MEN
34.8%
51.1%
48.9%
65.2%
HAVE MORE RESPONSIBILITY WITH MORE STRESS?
OR HAVE LESS RESPONSIBILITY WITH LESS STRESS?
FILTER APPLIED: Men (n = 403); Women (n - 405)
17
WITH REGARD TO
ACCOUNTABILITY,
WOMEN ARE
LESS PUMPED
ABOUT THE
PROSPECT OF
TAKING ON A
LEADERSHIP
POSITION.
% of respondents who want their boss’s job
35%
31.5%
30%
25%
20%
15%
14.1%
10%
5%
0%
WOMEN
MEN
FILTER APPLIED: Men (n = 403); Women (n - 405)
18
% of respondents who want their boss’s job
COMPARED TO
THEIR ELDERS,
MILLENNIALS
ARE MORE
INTERESTED IN
DISPLACING
THEIR LEADERS.
35%
32.6%
30%
24.9%
25%
20%
14.5%
15%
10%
5%
0%
MILLENNIALS (18 - 33)
XERS (34 - 47)
BOOMERS (48 - 66)
FILTER APPLIED: Millennials (n = 193); Xers (n - 329); Boomers (n = 249)
19
MORE THAN OTHERS, INDEPENDENTS WANT
THEIR CO-WORKERS TO PUT A SOCK IN IT.
What’s worse...
CLOSE TALKERS?
32.4%
67.6%
ALL
OR CO-WORKERS WHO WON’T SHUT UP?
36.8%
63.2%
DEMOCRATS
29.1%
32.3%
67.7%
REPUBLICANS
70.9%
INDEPENDENTS
20
What do you consider to be the most appropriate work attire?
IN THIS DAY AND
AGE, MOST
PEOPLE STILL
THINK
THE BEST
WORK OUTFIT
STARTS WITH
PLEATED
KHAKIS.
0.5%
6.8%
0.4%
14.3%
11.8%
29.5%
16.8%
1.2%
0.7%
18.1%
SUIT
JEANS
PLEATED DOCKERS
SKIRT
ANYTHING CLEAN
BOARD SHORTS
SLAYER T-SHIRT
LOW-CUT JEANS WITH THONG HANGING OUT
BLAZER WITH ELBOW PATCHES
NONE OF THE ABOVE
21
What do you consider to be the most appropriate work attire?
18.9%
INDEPENDENTS ARE
HAPPIER THAN
ANY OTHER
POLITICAL GROUP
JUST TO HAVE
SOMETHING CLEAN
TO WEAR TO WORK.
5.7%
0.3%
10.4%
26.3%
13.8%
1.4%
2.9%
20.3%
SUIT
JEANS
PLEATED DOCKERS
SKIRT
ANYTHING CLEAN
BOARD SHORTS
SLAYER T-SHIRT
LOW-CUT JEANS WITH THONG HANGING OUT
BLAZER WITH ELBOW PATCHES
NONE OF THE ABOVE
FILTER APPLIED: Independents (n = 289)
22
BEING PICKY ISN’T
THE WORST THING
IN THE WORLD.
IT’S NOT SEEING
THAT YOU’RE
ANNOYING
THE SHIT OUT
OF EVERYONE.
What’s worse...
40.6%
59.4%
SOMEONE WHO CONSTANTLY CORRECTS OTHERS’ GRAMMAR?
OR SOMEONE WHO MISSPELLS EVERYTHING IN OFFICE COMMUNICATIONS?
23
IN THESE DAYS OF CONSTANT CONNECTIVITY,
INDEPENDENTS ARE MOST ANAL ABOUT
GETTING EMAIL REPLIES IN A TIMELY MANNER.
What’s worse...
A CO-WORKER WHOSE SMARTPHONE IS GLUED TO HIS/HER HAND?
OR A CO-WORKER WHO NEVER ANSWERS HIS/HER EMAILS?
45.3%
54.7%
ALL
55.2%
44.8%
DEMOCRATS
51.2%
48.8%
REPUBLICANS
41.5%
58.5%
INDEPENDENTS
24
PEOPLE ARE
HAPPY TO REPORT
PORN SIGHTINGS
AT WORK.
OWNING UP
IS ANOTHER
STORY.
Do you personally know of
co-workers that have looked
at porn at the office?
14.4%
85.6%
YES
Have you ever looked
at porn at the office?
6.8%
93.2%
NO
YES
NO
25
REPUBLICANS ARE LEAST LIKELY TO
REPORT OTHER PORN-WATCHERS.
Do you personally know of co-workers that have looked at porn at the office?
YES
14.4%
85.6%
ALL
14.4%
NO
13.8%
85.6%
86.2%
DEMOCRATS
REPUBLICANS
14.9%
85.1%
INDEPENDENTS
26
YET, MORE REPUBLICANS LAY CLAIM TO A
WORKPLACE PORN HABIT. FUNNY, THAT.
Have you ever looked at porn at the office?
Do you personally know of co-workers
that have
YES
NO looked at porn at the office?
6.8%
93.2%
6.8%
93.2%
8.3%
91.7%
5.9%
94.1%
ALL
DEMOCRATS
REPUBLICANS
INDEPENDENTS
ALL
DEMOCRATS
REPUBLICANS
INDEPENDENTS
27
MEN ARE MORE AVID WORKPLACE
PORN WATCHERS THAN THE FAIRER SEX.
Have you ever looked at porn at the office?
YES
2.2%
97.8%
WOMEN
NO
11.4%
88.6%
MEN
FILTER APPLIED: Men (n = 403); Women (n - 405)
28
WHEN IT
COMES TO
WORKPLACE
DECEPTION,
SOMEBODY
ISN’T
OWNING
UP.
Which of the following
things have you done
at the office before?
Which of the following things do
you personally know co-workers
to have done before?
50%
42.2%
40%
30%
30%
27.3%
19.4%
20%
9.6%
10%
7.3%
16.4%
3.9%
14.7%
3.5%
0%
FALSELY
CALLED IN
SICK AND
STAYED
HOME
LIED ON
TIME SHEETS
FALSELY
CALLED IN
SICK AND
GONE ON A
JOB
INTERVIEW
LIED ON
EXPENSE
REPORTS
LIED ON
RESUME
29
IN TODAY’S
WORKPLACE,
PERSONALITY
QUIRKS CAN GO A
LONG WAY. BUT
NOT ALL THE WAY.
WHAT SEALS THE
DEAL IS TALENT.
Would you rather...
38.6%
61.4%
WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE FUN BUT LESS TALENTED?
OR WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE TALENTED BUT LESS FUN?
30
DEMOCRATS PUSH BACK MOST ON WANTING TO BE
SURROUNDED BY FUN, REPUBLICANS THE LEAST.
Would you rather...
WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE FUN BUT LESS TALENTED?
OR WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE TALENTED BUT LESS FUN?
38.6%
54.8%
61.4%
ALL
34.6%
45.2%
DEMOCRATS
65.4%
REPUBLICANS
37.7%
62.3%
INDEPENDENTS
31
Would you rather...
WHEN A WORK
ARRANGEMENT
DOESN’T WORK OUT,
MOST WOULD
RATHER BE
LET DOWN GENTLY.
29.5%
70.5%
BE TOLD YOU WERE FIRED?
OR BE TOLD YOU WERE DOWNSIZED?
32
BUT MEN
ARE MORE
LIKELY THAN
WOMEN
TO PREFER
STRAIGHT
TALK.
Would you rather...
WOMEN
MEN
20.0%
50.6%
49.4%
80.0%
BE TOLD YOU WERE FIRED?
OR BE TOLD YOU WERE DOWNSIZED?
FILTER APPLIED: Men (n = 403); Women (n - 405)
33
WIT AND CHARM GET LOST IN TRANSLATION
WHEN OPPOSING GENERATIONS
ARE THROWN INTO ONE OFFICE.
What’s worse...
HAVING A BOSS THAT’S SIGNIFICANTLY OLDER THAN YOU?
OR HAVING A BOSS THAT’S SIGNIFICANTLY YOUNGER THAN YOU?
16.6%
83.4%
ALL
24.9%
75.1%
MILLENNIALS
(18 - 33)
14.9%
85.1%
XERS
(34 - 47)
11.2%
88.8%
BOOMERS
(48 - 66)
FILTER APPLIED: Millennials (n = 193); Xers (n - 329); Boomers (n = 249)
34
Do you personally know co-workers
to have slept with other officemates?
WITH NEARLY 1/4 OF
AMERICAN WORKERS
ALLEGEDLY SLEEPING
WITH CO-WORKERS,
THOSE
VALUABLE VIRGINS
MUST BE PROTECTED.
24.5%
75.5%
YES
NO
35
SOMETIMES,
FANCY TALK
AND A SHINY
EXTERIOR CAN
CLOUD OUR
JUDGMENT.
Do you personally know co-workers to have
based an important decision on the cute
accent/appearance of someone else in the office?
15.2%
84.8%
YES
NO
36
What drug of choice most helps
you get through the work day?
MORE THAN ANY
OTHER ILLICIT
HABIT, WE STAY
SANE AT WORK BY
NURSING A
COFFEE HABIT.
0.2%
29.4%
12.4%
0.4%
1.8%
0.6%
14.7%
3.5%
37.1%
OVER-PRICED ESPRESSO DRINKS
COFFEE
SODA
TEA
NONE OF THE ABOVE
VODKA
CIGARETTES
BOXED WINE HIDDEN IN DESK
SNIFFING MARKERS STOLEN FROM SUPPLY ROOM
37
What time do you typically leave the office?
THAT MOST PEOPLE
LEAVE WORK AT THE
APPROPRIATE TIME MEANS
THE REST OF US
CAN DO
WHATEVER THE HELL
WE WANT.
45.6%
7.8%
4.1%
4.4%
38.1%
RIGHT AT THE OFFICIAL END OF THE WORKDAY
JUST BEFORE THE OFFICIAL END OF THE WORKDAY
JUST AFTER MY BOSS LEAVES
LATE INTO THE NIGHT
IT DEPENDS -- THERE IS NO OFFICIAL END TO THE WORKDAY
38
PEOPLE AREN’T
FESSING UP TO
OFFICE THEFT,
ESPECIALLY
WHEN IT
COMES TO
LOOTING
THE FRIDGE.
Which of the following things have
you done at the office before?
Which of the following things do you personally
know co-workers to have done before?
40%
33.7%
32%
29.3%
23.7%
24%
23.7%
19.6%
16%
11.8%
8%
5.9%
5.3%
0%
STOLEN OFFICE
SUPPLIES
MAILED PERSONAL
ITEMS THROUGH
THE MAILROOM
STOLEN FOOD THAT
WAS BROUGHT IN
FOR A MEETING
BEFORE THE MEETING
HAPPENED
TAKEN AND EATEN
SOMEONE ELSE’S
FOOD FROM THE
OFFICE FRIDGE
39
What’s worse...
FOR MOST PEOPLE,
WORK IS MORE OFTEN
DISRUPTED BY
STRONG PERFUME
THAN BY
STINKY FOOD.
40.6%
59.4%
THE SMELL OF BURNT POPCORN?
OR A CO-WORKER’S OVERPOWERING PERFUME?
40
WHEN PEOPLE RIFF
ON WHAT REEKS
AROUND THE OFFICE,
BURNT POPCORN
AND FISH
ARE THE MOST
HATED FOOD SMELLS.
Question: What’s the worst smell at the office? (most common responses)
41
DEMOCRATS ARE MOST INTERESTED IN
STICKING THEIR NECKS OUT,
REPUBLICANS THE LEAST.
Would you rather...
BE VIEWED AS INTERESTING AND SLIGHTLY CONTROVERSIAL?
46.5%
53.5%
ALL
46.8%
53.2%
DEMOCRATS
OR BE VIEWED AS DEPENDABLE AND SLIGHTLY BORING?
41.0%
59.0%
REPUBLICANS
52.6%
47.4%
INDEPENDENTS
42
A DISTURBING
NUMBER OF US
LIKE TO LIVEN UP
THE OFFICE WITH
OUR KIDS’ ARTWORK.
OTHERS THINK
THOSE PEOPLE
ARE DUMB.
Which of the following
statements best describes you?
15.6%
56.3%
20.4%
7.7%
I LIKE TO HANG ARTWORK IN MY OFFICE
I LIKE TO HANG MY KIDS’ ARTWORK IN MY OFFICE
I ROLL MY EYES AT PEOPLE WHO HANG THEIR KIDS’ ARTWORK IN THEIR OFFICE
NONE OF THE ABOVE
43
WITH EMAIL SO
CENTRAL TO OFFICE
COMMUNICATION,
DIGITAL
EMBARRASSMENT
IS THE STUFF OF
NIGHTMARES.
What’s worse...
29.2%
70.8%
HAVING SOMEONE FIND A PERSONAL DOCUMENT OF YOURS ON THE COMPANY PRINTER?
OR ACCIDENTALLY HITTING “REPLY ALL” ON WHAT WAS INTENDED TO BE A PRIVATE EMAIL?
44
% of respondents who answered “yes” to:
Regardless of whether or not you’d ever act upon it, have
you ever thought about physically harming a co-worker?
THE YOUNGER
THE WORKER,
THE BIGGER
A LIABILITY.
35%
30%
25%
20%
18.7%
17.3%
15%
10%
6%
5%
0%
MILLENNIALS (18 - 33)
XERS (34 - 47)
BOOMERS (48 - 66)
FILTER APPLIED: Millennials (n = 193); Xers (n - 329); Boomers (n = 249)
45
IN OVERALL JOB SATISFACTION,
BOOMERS HAVE A DEFINITE EDGE OVER
YOUNGER GENERATIONS.
% satisfied with
current job:
ALL
48.1%
MILLENNIALS (18 - 33)
40.4%
XERS (34 - 47)
45.6%
BOOMERS (48 - 66)
30%
54.3%
36%
42%
48%
54%
60%
Question: How satisfied are you with your current job? // Top 3 box summary on 10-point scale, where top box = “very much” // FILTER APPLIED: Millennials (n = 193); Xers (n - 329); Boomers (n = 249)
46
What’s worse...
EARLY MEETINGS
MAY NOT BE AS
CRINGE-INDUCING
AS LATE NIGHTS,
BUT THEY STILL
MUST BE STOPPED.
52.7%
8AM MEETINGS?
47.3%
OR WORKING LATE?
Question: Regardless of whether you’d ever act upon it, have you ever thought about physically harming your boss?
47
Would you rather...
AT THE END OF THE DAY,
MOST PEOPLE WANT
A DIRECT PAYOFF,
NOT A LONG-TERM
COMMITMENT FULL
OF SACRIFICE.
23.1%
76.9%
BE OFFERED PROFIT SHARING?
OR BE OFFERED A PAY RAISE?
48
MEN ARE
MORE LIKELY TO
GO FOR A
NONTRADITIONAL
COMPENSATION
STRUCTURE.
Would you rather...
WOMEN
MEN
15.1%
84.9%
BE OFFERED PROFIT SHARING?
31.3%
68.7%
OR BE OFFERED A PAY RAISE?
FILTER APPLIED: Men (n = 403); Women (n - 405)
THE APPENDIX
50
ABOUT THE STUDY
This study was commissioned as part of Chronicle Books’,
Stop Tweeting Boring Shit – The New Rules of Work.
While the book is written as a humorous guide to the modern workplace,
the study takes an actual look into the behavior of today’s office workers.
850 office workers around the country were surveyed as part of the study.
They were asked a series of questions about their behavior, beliefs and life
at work. The results paint a very interesting picture of the way people
spend nearly a third of their lives.
All the information is sourced from Division of Labor's Annual Study on
Workplace Behavior, first conducted in October of 2012.
If you are going to reprint anything from the study, please give credit.
That’d be the cool thing to do.
51
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Division of Labor is not a government agency. So if your nanny is in the country
illegally, we really don't care.
We are a more nimble version of an ad agency. We provide the thinking of
a creative department with the capabilities of a production company.
To find out more about Division of Labor, visit divisionoflabor.com
For questions or inquiries, please contact:
Laura Davis
415.944.8185 / [email protected]
If you want to find out more about our friends at The PARAGRAPH Project,
visit theparagraphproject.com or contact:
Dan Carlton
919.246.4958 / [email protected]