At Work Swearing is Still a No-No but Piercings Are OK: Survey

New research from global staffing firm Accountemps reveals some do’s and don’ts for today’s workplace. While nearly all senior managers surveyed in Canada (90%) said organizations have loosened up over the past decade, certain behaviours are still frowned upon, the most common being using foul language (55%), bringing pets to the office (51%) and displaying political décor (47%).

But about one-third of companies are now more tolerant of employees donning non-traditional piercings (34%), visible tattoos, casual attire and non-traditional hair colours (all tied at 32%).

Managers who said the workplace has become more relaxed cited looser societal standards (65%) and companies catering to younger professionals (54%) as the top reasons for the shift.

“As workplaces evolve, many professionals are looking for greater flexibility from employers when it comes to their individual preferences at work,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, district president for Accountemps. “How an organization’s company culture is perceived can have an impact on the kinds of professionals it attracts, and ultimately retains. It’s up to employers to set the tone for the environment they want to promote by creating clear guidelines around office etiquette and using their own behaviour to set an example.”

The survey also found:

  • Twenty-seven per cent of employers said using casual language or emojis in emails is more acceptable now than in the past. 
  • In addition to exhibiting political décor at work (47%), many senior managers said streaming political events (42%) and talking about politics (22%) was and continues to be inappropriate. 
  • Roughly two in five respondents reported playing music without headphones (41%) and streaming sports events (39%) remains an office no-no. 
  • While employers, in general, identified loosening societal standards as the top reason why office etiquette rules have changed, 44% of companies pointed to tech culture’s influence on organizations as the number-one impetus.

The online survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 600 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in Canada.

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