Office workers 'swear approximately 55 times a week' - here's why

Office workers (Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)
Office workers (Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

By Charlie Duffield

In any office-based job, it’s likely that small annoyances will be simmering below the surface. Frankly, we all spend so much time at work (four day work week, anyone?) it would be strange not to expect your professional veneer to slide every so often.

Now, new research from 4com suggests the average British worker hears 11 swear words from their colleagues every single working day.

Furthermore, more than one in 10 employees (11%) have confessed to hearing more than 25 swear words at work each day. Are you surprised?

In light of their alleged used of 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.

Just 1% catering staff stated they regularly used bad language. (Photo: Patrick Seeger/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Just 1% catering staff stated they regularly used bad language. (Photo: Patrick Seeger/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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Of course, not everyone is a fan. One in five workers (19%) said they tried never to swear in the presence of their co-workers, which is an applause worthy effort.

Dr Jo Gee, psychotherapist and founder of The Luna Hive, told 4com why people swear at work.

She said: ‘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’.’

It turns out, offensive language might be a way to challenge the work setting. When swearing, employees can experience a thrill, or use swear words to draw attention to themselves in a busy workplace.

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However, Dr Gee added: ‘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.’

‘They are linked to negative emotions and our minds associate them with anger, even if they’re not used aggressively.’

Apparently, those most likely to swear work in middle management, while over a quarter of British workers said their supervisors and line managers were regularly foul-mouthed.

Contrastingly, catering staff were viewed to be the most polite, with just 1% of colleagues stating they regularly used bad language.

Office workers love to swear (Photo: AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Office workers swear approximately 55 times a week (Photo: AP Photo/Eric Gay)

How do I stop swearing?

Swearing might help you let off steam, but lots of people find it inappropriate for the workplace.

Most swearing correlates with anger, so one way to cut down on your foul mouth is to take a long deep breath before reacting to a situation.

Another option is to remove yourself, where possible, from the situation briefly, if you feel your blood start to boil. Go and take a few minutes for yourself.

Finally, if you find yourself using offensive language when relaying stories to your colleagues, try and think of some more polite synonyms to use instead and then you’ll keep everyone happy.

What are the most commonly used offensive words in UK workplaces?

If you’re curious as to what language is heard the most in UK offices, here’s the official ranking: