Top 5 work bloopers
Most of us try to be on our best behaviour and create the right impression at work. However, research by distance learning provider Home Learning College shows that two thirds of British adults have had an embarrassing mishap in the workplace which they'd rather forget.
Here we reveal the top five most common work bloopers, ranging from the mildly awkward to the spine-chillingly inappropriate:
- Sending an unprofessional email to the wrong person
It's all too easy to send an email we later regret, which explains why 9% describe this as their most embarrassing professional slip-up. Whether it's firing off an angry reply in the heat of the moment or accidentally forwarding a message to an unintended recipient, there are many ways that misuse of email can land us in hot water.
The advice here is to always think before you send.
It's fine to let someone know if they've upset you, but leave it a few hours so you have time to calm down and draft a more professional response.
If you do feel the need to snipe about a work acquaintance then try to avoid doing it over email. You can't be sure who's monitoring your messages so the key is to never write anything you wouldn't be happy to share publicly.
- Being caught in an inappropriate situation with a colleague
If email is the modern cause of embarrassment at work, then being caught having unprofessional relations with a co-worker is the time honoured way to generate blushes. Long before email was invented, colleagues have been giving new meaning to the phrase "good working relationship"!
Whether it's a drunken liaison at the staff party, or too many late evenings working side by side, there are numerous opportunities for workmates to end up in a passionate clinch. Unfortunately, because this is happening on public premises, there's also a high likelihood of being caught in the act, as experienced by 7% of workers.
If you can't resist the temptation of an attractive colleague then options include to find somewhere suitably private or risk being found out.
- Experiencing a ‘wardrobe malfunction'
The phrase wardrobe malfunction was coined by Justin Timberlake in 2004 after an unfortunate event that included Janet Jackson's top live on stage during the SuperBowl XXXVIII half time show.
Whilst not many people can match that level of worldwide exposure, clothes-related incidents are all too common in a professional setting. Whether it's women's skirts getting stuck in their underwear or men mistakenly wearing their slippers into the office, wardrobe malfunctions have caused red cheeks for 7% of British workers.
If you are prone to leaving the house in the wrong attire then keep a spare set of clothes at work so you can perform a quick change if you end up in the office wearing your pyjamas.
- Calling the boss ‘mum' or ‘dad'
Whether consciously or subconsciously it can be easy to place your boss in the same authoritative position as your parents, which explains why 6% of people accidentally call their professional superiors mum or dad.
While not the most embarrassing thing you can do at work, this is sure to make you the bullseye of numerous office jokes for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately there's not much you can do to prevent this from happening, apart from always calling your parents by their first name as a preventative measure.
- Throwing up in front of the boss
While only the more saintly among us have never gone into work suffering from the effects of a late night out, a surprising 5% admit to actually being sick in front of their boss or colleagues. Not all of these incidents will have been alcohol induced but it's safe bet that a good proportion will be the result of over-consumption on a 'school night'.
"Over the course of our working lives it's likely we will all have at least one memory that makes us cringe with embarrassment," says Dave Snow – Academic Director at Home Learning College. "If you've shown yourself up at work then you can either face the situation with your head held high or wipe the slate clean and start again in a new company. If you need to move on to pastures new then you might want to think about boosting your CV with a professional, vocational qualification that will give you something positive to talk about in interviews."
For details of all Home Learning College courses please visit http://www.homelearningcollege.com .
*Research conducted amongst 3,000 British adults in employment.