HR Excellence Awards 2023 Singapore
Google’s top 8 workplace queries by colleagues

Google’s top 8 workplace queries by colleagues


We spend an inordinate amount of time with our colleagues – about a third of each day in fact (from Monday to Friday at least). So it’s hardly surprising that tensions and passions are aroused, in the crucible that is the modern workplace.

When employees have a workplace issue they are generally encouraged to talk to their supervisor or HR manager. But increasingly – it seems – they are turning to Google, especially when it comes to dealing with disputes with co-workers, or how to conduct themselves in a professional manner when they fancy a colleague.

Just-published findings by Viking Direct have revealed that the alliterative combo of complaints, crushes and conflicts are among the most frequently googled terms by employees about their colleagues.

Office politics also featured prominently on workplace-related Google searches. “How to resolve conflict with a colleague” and “How to work with a colleague who undermines you” are both popular Google searches.

Here are the eight most common terms searched by employees about their colleagues:

  1. Like
  2. Compliant
  3. Crush
  4. Fancy
  5. Complain
  6. Hate
  7. Conflict
  8. Attract

“While office gossip used to be restricted to the water cooler, it seems we’re eager to ask Google about burgeoning workplace romances,” Bob Huibers, a marketing exec at Viking Direct, told the HR Grapevine website.

“From a more serious perspective, there were some more significant and extremely important topics being googled, showing that UK employees have a greater appetite than ever for improving their HR and employment law knowledge and are likely to avoid the traditional route of speaking to a manager or HR department,” Huibers added.

The research was also quite revealing regarding what employees most frequently googled about their boss. Three of the most commonly searched phrases were: “Can my boss watch me on CCTV from home?”, “How to kill your boss” and “Does my boss fancy me?”

Here are the 14 most common terms searched by employees about their boss:

  1. Bully
  2. Pregnant
  3. Leaving
  4. Raise
  5. Fire
  6. Hate
  7. Romantically
  8. Complain
  9. Affair
  10. Crush
  11. Fancy
  12. Maternity
  13. Notice
  14. Sex

What should HR do?

With employees seeking advice from Google in ever-greater numbers on how to deal with workplace concerns, it appears to indicate that some staff are uncomfortable raising questions or problems with HR.

It is therefore essential that HR managers create out an open culture that enables employees to feel comfortable raising their concerns. This will not only boost morale and productivity, but may even reduce turnover rates.

Parts of this article were first published on the HR Grapevine website.

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