As with any office-based job, frustrations will ultimately froth over like a temperamental work coffee machine. Laptop plugs disappear. Chairs lose their back support. And the internet decides Monday morning is the best time to have a funny turn.
Such moments require a mini explosion of expletives, even though cursing will, of course, do nothing to get Photoshop to behave. And I’m glad to know I’m not alone.
New research from 4com indicates the average British worker hears an average of 11 swear words from their colleagues every single working day.
Indeed, more than one in 10 employees (11%) have confessed to hearing more than 25 swear words at work each day. And without pointing any fingers at my own dear colleagues, this honestly doesn’t surprise me too much.
Reflecting on the frequency of their own bad language, one quarter (25%) of UK workers confessed to rarely reining in their tongue, with one in eight (12%) stating they never hide their coarse language in the workplace.
However, there are some gallant workers among us who strive to keep things PG. One in five (19%) said they tried never to swear in the presence of their co-workers, a feat surely deserving of some sort of award.
Psychotherapist and founder of The Luna Hive Dr Jo Gee told 4com:
Studies suggest swearing can be beneficial, as the process of swearing is often cathartic, letting out pent-up emotion, as well as aiding storytelling or jokes. Perceptions of those who swear are also more likely to be linked to the words ‘honest’ and ‘credible’. As to why people use them at work, alongside the above reasons, for some, offensive language might be a ‘test’ for the work setting – with employees experiencing a thrill when swearing or using swear words to draw attention to themselves in a busy workplace. That said, swear words often include a range of taboo words including sexual language, profanities, animal names, and vulgar terms, so this is part of why people find them offensive. Additionally, they are linked to negative emotions and our minds associate them with anger, even if they’re not used aggressively.
Interestingly, the most frequently-cursing culprits were found to work in middle management, with more than one quarter (28%) of British workers admitting their supervisors and line managers regularly exercised their potty mouths. Second-place offenders were entry-level and admin staff, who both had 18% of votes.
At the other end of the scale, catering staff were viewed to be the most polite, with just 1% of colleagues stating they regularly used foul language.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, interns and those on work experience were also found to be keen to exhibit their very best behaviour, with just 3% using swear words while at work.