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Poll: Office environment is a bit like high school

July 24, 2013 at 12:11 AM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, July 24 (UPI) -- A survey of U.S. workers found offices can be clique-prone environments not all that different from high school.

The survey conducted May 14 to June 5 that included nearly 3,000 responses found 20 percent of workers indicated they had gone out of their way to do something they didn't particularly want to do just to fit in with co-workers.

Of those who had bent over backwards to fit in, 46 percent indicated they had gone to happy hour to fit in, said CareerBuilder, the company that sponsored the Harris Interactive survey.

Twenty-one percent of those who did something to fit in indicated they had watched a television show or a movie just to be able to converse about it at the office.

Is that not high school enough? Nineteen percent indicated they had made fun of someone at work to be better accepted by colleagues.

Seventeen percent indicated they had pretended to like a certain food, while 9 percent indicated they had gone on smoke breaks to fit in at work.

Other common behaviors at work include not revealing religious beliefs or keeping their political affiliation or a hobby a secret, CareerBuilder said.

"Thirteen percent of workers said the presence of office cliques has had a negative impact on their career progress," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

"While it's human nature to associate with peers who possess similar personality types and characteristics, the presence of cliques can be counterproductive in the workplace," Haefner said, noting managers were increasingly turning to team-building strategies "to help discourage behaviors that can alienate others."

Harris Interactive said results of the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.79 percentage points, it can be said with 95 percent certainty.

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