Too much information?
The research, which included 3600 respondents in the UK, reveals that Brits are more likely than their European counterparts to divulge details of their private lives to work colleagues, but the topic of personal finances is strictly off-limits.
84% say they love to broadcast their holiday plans far and wide, in comparison to three quarters of French office workers. In China, diet and exercise tips appear to dominate office conversation (66%).
Over half of all UK respondents report that they are willing to talk about their partner, compared to just 38% of Americans and a quarter of French and Germans. 58% regularly chat about their children. One in five Brits is happy to connect with colleagues on personal social media, compared to just 13% of the French.
When it comes to discussing previous employers, the nation is only too happy to spill the beans. Over three fifths (61%) admitted to gossiping about their old job – significantly above the global average. Yet just 4% feel it is appropriate to discuss salary and other job benefits, compared to 12% in France. In China, respondents deem it perfectly acceptable to discuss the outcome of their review (22%).
Steve Purdy, UK Managing Director at Regus comments: “It appears that UK office workers are unexpectedly open about their private lives, and keen to form personal as well as professional relationships with colleagues. This may stem from the fact that we work more flexibly than previous generations, and boundaries between work and home lives are becoming blurred.
“It is clear that conversation comfort zones vary greatly across the globe. Topics that are seen as a polite safe-haven in the UK may be off-limits elsewhere and could potentially cause misunderstandings and offence. Understanding local etiquette is a serious business challenge, not only for people moving overseas with their current employers but also for companies looking to expand into new markets. Cultural knowledge is the cornerstone of success overseas.”
Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, with a presence in 104 countries.