Workers across the UK have revealed what they think are the top ten most socially awkward situations that, inevitably, occur in the workplace. The survey was conducted as part of the British Heart Foundation’s Raise Funds Your Way campaign to get workplaces fundraising to fight heart disease.

Top of the list was spilling something down your clothes moments before an important meeting (22 percent), followed by accidentally clicking reply all to a private email (20 percent). Making small talk at the tea point came in third (17 percent) followed by that tricky moment when your boss calls you the wrong name and you don’t know whether to correct them (17 percent).

Some of these awkward encounters might be explained by the fact that a third (33 percent) of people surveyed confessed they don’t know the names of some of their colleagues even though they work in the same office, while well over a quarter (29 percent) were guilty of not knowing what many of their fellow employees actually do.

Some even go to extraordinary lengths to avoid uneasy situations with colleagues by taking a different lift, eating their lunch at their desk or even taking an entirely different route home from work.

The BHF is calling on workers across the UK to avoid these socially awkward situations and get to know their colleagues better by holding a fundraising event at work and raising funds for life saving research.

Close to half (44 percent) of adults polled said fundraising in the workplace was a great way to break down barriers and get to know colleagues, while 41 percent said it helps boost staff morale.

Every year thousands of workplaces across the UK choose to support the BHF, and bring together teams to raise vital funds with events such as coffee mornings and cake bakes to lunchtime walks and dress down days.



Top Ten Awkward Work Situations

1)  Spilling something down your clothes just before an important meeting – 22.35 percent

2)  Accidentally clicking reply all to a private email – 19.85 percent

3)  Making small talk at the tea point or queuing for the microwave – 17.35 percent

4)  When your boss calls you the wrong name and you don’t know to correct them 16.90 percent

5)  Bumping into a colleague in the toilets – do you say hello? – 16.70 percent

6)  Bumping into a colleague on the way home and not knowing what to talk about – 15.15 percent

7)  Being too embarrassed to ask someone’s name in a meeting – 11.80 percent

8)  Breaking the printer and walking off without fixing it – 11.25 percent

9)  When someone’s phone goes off in a meeting with an embarrassing ringtone – 11.10 percent

10)   When your boss sits down with you in the canteen – 10.45 percent





Robert joined the HRreview editorial team in October 2015. After graduating from the University of Salford in 2009 with a BA in Politics, Robert has spent several years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past he has been part of editorial teams at Flux Magazine, Mondo*Arc Magazine and The Marine Professional.