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A third of UK workplaces have "ridiculous rules"

22 August 2017

A third of UK workplaces have "ridiculous rules"Research by CV-Library suggests that almost a quarter (22.5%) of UK workers don't believe they are trusted by their employers, with more than a third of UK workplaces also having "ridiculous rules in place".

The survey gathered responses from 1,000 UK workers. More than half (57.2%) of respondents said they were prepared to disobey "silly" rules. Among the most ridiculous, according to the survey, were employees having to ask to use the toilet or having "a strict time frame" of no more than three minutes, while some were even searched before going to the toilet.

Some respondents said had to wear colour-specific clothes to match corporate ID, while some women were not allowed to wear trousers. One respondent said they were sent home for not dressing down.

Employees said they were not allowed to talk out loud unless they were in the staff room, while others were not allowed to say "hello" to customers, only "good morning" or "good afternoon". Timekeeping was another area where "ridiculous rules" were found to exist. Being two minutes late in one business would mean the employee would be docked 15 minutes' pay, while other employees were not allowed to travel more than 20 metres away from their place of work at lunch time to prevent them returning late.

Some workplaces didn't allow their staff to drink water, which is illegal, because employers must provide safe drinking water. Others didn't permit workers to have drinks on their desks or to carry them up and down the stairs. The research suggests the cities most likely to have ridiculous workplace rules included Glasgow, Cardiff, Sheffield, Birmingham and London.

It seems that some employers could do with tightening up their rules if they want their staff to waste less time and get more work done. A survey of 865 office workers carried out by digital marketing agency,, suggests that British workers spend more than two hours a day "procrastinating", which meant that only 3.7 days out of five were actually spent doing work.

According to, the annual average income for the office workers it surveyed was £32,782. But because workers were spending 27 per cent of their time not doing the job they are paid to do, £8,851.14 per employee was being wasted. Office workers who took part in the research admitted to spending 37 minutes of their working day on social media. To combat the problem and increase productivity, Reboot said, some employers are now giving their employees agreed "social media breaks", while acknowledging that others had blanket social media bans in the workplace. found respondents to spend about 15 minutes a day making coffee/tea, while toilet visits took up 12 minutes, although almost two-thirds admitted to doing both sometimes "purely to relieve boredom".

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