Behind the blushes: most embarrassing work mishaps revealed

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Men more likely to suffer red cheeks in the workplace than women

If you’ve ever had a hot and cold moment as you realise you’ve done something unprofessional at work then you’re not alone. In fact, two thirds of British workers admit to having had a job-related embarrassing mishap, with men more prone to such calamities than women – 72% compared to 63%*. The research by vocational distance learning provider Home Learning College revealed a range of faux pas from the mildly awkward to the spine-chillingly inappropriate. Topping the list of embarrassing mistakes for 10% of men is calling their boss ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, while only 3% of women mentioned this as their most uncomfortable moment. This is closely followed by 9% of men who have been caught in an inappropriate situation with a colleague at a work party. Just 6% of women agreed this was their most embarrassing professional slip-up. The fairer sex, however, are plagued by wardrobe malfunctions. Clothes-related incidents, such as their skirt being stuck in their pants or wearing slippers into the office, have caused red cheeks for 9% of women, compared to just 4% of men. Interestingly, men and women are equally likely to bring shame on themselves by vomiting in front of their boss of colleagues due to over-indulgence – an occurrence experienced by a startling 5% of the working population. A further 9% of men and women admit to having sent an unprofessional or bitchy email to the wrong person – very often the subject of the message and the last person they would want to read their inappropriate comments. “Most of us try to maintain at least some semblance of a professional persona in the workplace,” says Dave Snow Academic Director at Home Learning College. “However, over the course of our working lives it’s likely that we will all have at least one memory that makes us cringe with embarrassment. If you’ve shown yourself up at work then you can either face the situation with your head held high or wipe the slate clean and start again in a new company. If you need to move on to pastures new then you might want to think about boosting your CV with a professional, vocational qualification that will give you something positive to talk about in interviews.” Top five embarrassing work mishaps (men and women) 9% = Mistakenly sending an unprofessional or bitchy email to the wrong person 9% = Being caught in an inappropriate situation with a colleague at a work party 7% = Having a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ i.e. skirt stuck in pants, wearing slippers into the office 6% = Calling my boss mum/dad 5% = Vomiting in front of my boss or colleagues due to over indulgence Regional figures Londoners are the most likely to have embarrassed themselves at work. Almost three quarters (73%) of workers in the capital admitted to a business-related mishap, compared to just 60% in Yorkshire and the Humber. The most common mistake was calling their boss mum or dad (12%) followed by sending an unsuitable email to the wrong person (11%). People working in the South West are most likely to have vomited in front of their boss or colleague due to over indulgence (8%), while their peers in Wales are least likely to have suffered this fate. Scottish employees are most likely to have been caught in an inappropriate situation with a colleague at a work party (10%) and have suffered the most wardrobe malfunctions (9%). Workers in the West Midlands and South East share the dubious honour of being most likely to have sent an unprofessional or bitchy email to someone other than the intended recipient (12%). For details of all Home Learning College courses please visit *Research conducted amongst 3,000 British adults in employment ENDS