83% of people working in HR said they lie in the workplace, making HR workers the most likely to lie at work, according to new research from office stationery and furniture suppliers, Viking.

The study, which surveyed 2,000 British workers, sought to discover how often people lie at work and the type of lies they find acceptable. Behind HR, 76% of IT and Telecoms workers said they lie at work, with those working in Arts and Culture coming third with 72%.

Nearly one-in-seven (69%) British workers said they’d lied at work before, meaning that HR sits well above the average. The survey revealed that the most common lie told at work was lying about the reasons for taking time off (26%), followed by lying to avoid socialising with a colleague (25%).

When it comes to the HR industry, the most frequently told lies include bending the truth to avoid socialising with colleagues and making up false excuses for not answering phone calls, both of which have been told by 22.5% of HR workers.

The survey also asked respondents what lies they would tell in order to further their own career. 25% of HR workers said that they’d tell a lie to keep a client happy or to stop their own workload increasing, helping their career progression in the long term.

When asked about the lies that workers think are most acceptable in the workplace, nearly six-in-ten (58%) said that lying to make a colleague feel better was the most acceptable lie. This was followed by lying about liking your employer, with 55% of workers saying this is fine.

For HR professionals, lying about liking the company came out as most acceptable, with 58% of the respondents saying this, perhaps surprising considering modern attitudes towards wellness in the workplace. Although often involved in the hiring process, 38% of HR workers also said that lying on a CV is acceptable, with 30% saying they’d lied on a job application of their own.

Bob Huibers, Marketing Executive at Viking said the following about the results, “Our survey was intended to explore the attitudes of workers towards lying at work, and the results have certainly surprised us. As flagbearers of honesty and morality in the workplace, we certainly didn’t expect to see HR professionals leading the way when it comes to lying at work.

“We found that 48% of HR professionals actually thought it was acceptable for an employee to take the blame for their manager’s mistake. In the modern workplace, with an increased focus on mental health and wellbeing, these attitudes need to change so that employees can feel supported and protected by their HR department.”


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