Job Hunting

Sex in the City of London

New survey reveals what workers in the U.K. think about their own, others, ethics.
Lisa YoonDecember 12, 2002

A new survey British workers by U.K. media-research firm Suntop Media finds many young British aren’t too impressed with their companies’ ethics. They’re also the first to admit their own ethics aren’t the best, either.

Thirty percent of employees are ambivalent about their employers’ ethics. Only 27 percent of employees consider their employers to be completely ethical, while five percent would call their employers completely unethical.

The poll also takes a pruriernt turn. Get this, nearly 70 of employees under 30 said they’d consider sleeping with their boss for a promotion (only 35 percent of the total survey group said they would do so.). The under-30 set also had the most negative views of their own ethical standards: only 24 percent gave themselves the highest ethical rating as opposed to 42 percent of the 30-50 group and 36 percent of those over 50.

So if Brits think their companies are so unethical, would they do anything about it? Depends on what the offense is. For instance, 52 percent of respondents would definitely blow the whistle if they discovered that the roof of their office was made of asbestos.

On the other hand, only 19 percent said they would call the newspaper if they found out that their company was polluting.

Props for Props

What’s getting in the way of success at many companies? Why, the furniture, of course.

At least, that’s according to office-furniture maker Steelcase Inc. It’s new survey claims physical environments at many offices hamper collaboration among employees, in turn hindering innovation.

Before you dismiss this as mere self-serving propaganda, consider the survey. Over 1,500 corporate executives, facility managers, and design professionals from various industries were polled — a sizeable group. Interestingly, 68 percent said “talking to people” is the most valuable source of information to support new ideas. But almost 40 percent said their organization does nothing to stimulate informal interaction in the work environment.

About half said that the biggest problem caused by their physical work environment is the need to access others, resulting in the interference with day-to-day business activity.

According to Steelcase, people find it hard to collaborate and exchange ideas effectively because their office spaces don’t make the most of the social and intellectual capital within their organizations.

The survey also reports that physical comfort is one key to improving worker satisfaction and productivity. An overwhelming 79 percent believe that physical comfort has a serious impact on worker satisfaction — no surprise there. More than half (53 percent) of those surveyed thought their organizations had minimal information regarding the level of satisfaction people have with their physical work environment.