Recent research commissioned by Perkbox, Europe’s fastest growing employee experience platform, to coincide with Halloween, has found that over half of working Brits have had a nightmare about their boss at least once in their life, with 46% admitting they have had this occur several times.

The research, which polled 1,000 employed UK adults, found that when asked what workplace horror they feared the most,  having a ‘bullying boss’ came top, chosen by 28% of respondents. This was followed closely by having a toxic workplace culture (21%), team conflicts and surprise overtime hours – with the two latter chosen by 10% of employees.

Interestingly, despite the rise of tech and new communication channels entering the workplace which in some instances may be oversaturating workplace communications, ‘communication overload’ came bottom of the pile and was only chosen by 3% of employees as their most feared workplace horror.

With regards to mistakes at work that haunt employees the most, the more traditional error of calling a colleague by the wrong name ranked in first place (19%), followed by making an embarrassing typo on a document (18%) and sending a confidential email to the wrong contact (13%). On the flip side, finishing early was the preferred treat, chosen by 40% of employees. This was followed by a company bonus scheme (27%), perks in the office such as table tennis, free snacks and coffee (18%) and free beers on Fridays (6%).

Finally, when asked ‘what would a nightmare colleague have to do to annoy you the most?’, having bad manners such as chewing food loudly and not cleaning up dishes and mugs after themselves ranked in first position. Taking credit for others’ work ranked in second place, followed by playing music extremely loudly and being an office slacker pretending to work.

Madlena Pozlevic, Employee Experience Lead at Perkbox says:

With Halloween fast approaching, these findings are meant to give us a “humorous” insight into a side of workplaces that aren’t – perhaps not surprisingly! – quite so appealing to employees. Whether Halloween or not, as employers, we should take these findings as one of the many reminders that workplace rules around professionalism at work always apply, without exception. As these findings show, they certainly do not go unnoticed amongst employees.” 


  1. Having bad manners
  2. Taking credit for others’ work
  3. Playing music extremely loudly
  4. Being an office slacker
  5. Drops by your desk unexpectedly
  6. Being jealous of others