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1015homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Oct. 15, 2007-( recent survey covers the most common workplace taboos, from falling asleep on the job to kissing a co-worker. Learn more about what you can do to increase respect for your policies, and how to communicate those policies.

When trying to improve office efficiency, most bosses will typically look at people and process. However, a recent survey revealed that efficiency may be suffering because of policy, or lack of respect for policies.

“Workplace Taboos” is a new survey, conducted by Harris Interactive of more than 5,700 workers.

The most common workplace taboos that workers admitted to taking part in include:

– Falling asleep at work (45%)
– Kissing a co-worker (39%)
– Stealing from the office (22%)
– Spreading a rumor about a co-worker (22%)
– Consuming alcoholic beverages while on the job (21%)
– Snooping after hours (18%)
– Lying about an academic background (4%)
– Taking credit for someone else’s work (2%)
– Sending a newsletter that highlights a Top 10 List, when it’s actually a Top 8 List.

Who is most likely to commit workplace taboos?

Men report that they engage in all of these workplace taboos more than women. For instance, nearly half (49%) of men have fallen asleep on the job compared to 35% of women. When it comes to kissing co-workers, 44% of men and 34% of women admitted to puckering up.

“As companies continue to embrace more casual environments, employees may develop a false sense of informality when it comes to the office behavior,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at “Employees should make sure they are aware of company policies, so something that initially seems ‘harmless’ doesn’t end up negatively impacting a career.”

What can employers do to avoid these problems?

It is important for employers to clearly communicate policies and expectations to their workers. It is obvious that bosses need to communicate the hours that an employee is expected to work, and the proper attire for a job.

However, many bosses fail to clearly communicate additional expectations that are just as important.

The following are some examples of reasonable expectations that are often assumed and not clearly communicated:

– Employees should arrive for work rested.
– It is not acceptable to arrive at while suffering from a hangover.
– Inter-office dating is acceptable, but it is not acceptable to be affectionate on office property.
– Excessive use of perfume should be avoided
– Do not throw away drinks that are not empty (they make a mess of the garbage cans).

Evaluate the culture of your business, and establish policies that will help strengthen your corporate culture.

It is best to have a printed document that outlines the rules and expectations for your workers. Evaluate the culture of your business, and establish policies that will help strengthen your corporate culture.

Be cautious about being too restrictive, as some business cultures benefit from extra flexibility. After completing your policy document, it is wise to have a legal counsel review it before distribution to your employees.