Outstand 2014 Campaign: Create a Complaint Free Workplace

Outstand 2014 Campaign: Create a Complaint Free Workplace

According to research a complaint is made on average  15 – 30 times each day by the average worker. When you multiply that by the number of employees in your organisation then you can see the scale of the problem. 46% of UK employees describe their working atmosphere as “bad” – the 2nd worst in Europe. We complain today more than ever before in history but few of our complaints get us the results we want. Instead we usually find ourselves repeating the same repetitive stories of dissatisfaction in an effort to rid ourselves of our frustration.

Complaints to fix problems

Our experience of consulting across all sizes and sectors, complaining has a considerable impact on individual and organisation effectiveness. Although it’s true that complaining about a colleague or manager behind their back can provide some emotional validation, it does not solve the problem. It is harmful and cultivates a toxic working atmosphere. Complaining drains the motivation, enjoyment and creativity from the workplace. Even when a colleague agrees with our complaint and we receive validation for our feelings, we typically find ourselves reliving and solidifying the negative emotions every time we recount the story.

Unfortunately, our pessimism is contagious. De-motivation can occur if the workplace conversations are centered around how bad things and people are, and how they’re getting worse. When we have so many dissatisfactions and frustrations, yet don’t do anything constructive about it, we are left feeling victimised, hopeless, and bad about ourselves. This accumulation of frustration can add up over time and impact our mood, self-esteem, and ultimately our mental health.

This is why Outstand is making 2014 the year of the Complaint Free Workplace. Our campaign is to help our clients eradicate the damage that complaining in the workplace does.

Why Make 2014 the Year of the Complaint Free Workplace?

A harmonious and productive workforce is one that complains constructively, in a way that leads to a problem being solved. A good complaint, where the purpose is to rectify a problem and initiate a positive change is a necessary feature in working life. However a complaint about someone that serves no constructive purpose is moaning, and is a damaging influence.

Research shows that positive people are typically healthier, increased life expectancy, are more successful and report higher levels of satisfaction. Positive people are able to use a complaint as an opportunity to create change.

Being proactive and complaining effectively can be incredibly empowering. Learning to raise issues directly can have a tremendously positive impact on our relationships and our effectiveness.

above the line - below the line behaviour

The Outstand Challenge

Next month we will be setting you the challenge to go 21 days without complaining. We will be giving away a number of ‘Complaint Free bracelets for those willing to take up the challenge.

Psychologists believe it takes 21 days to form a new habit and complaining is habitual for most of us.

Here are the rules:

  1. Begin to wear the bracelet, on either wrist
  2. When you catch yourself complaining, gossiping or criticising (it’s ok, everyone does) move the bracelet to the other arm and begin again.
  3. If you hear someone else who is wearing a bracelet complain, you may point out their need to switch the bracelet to the other arm; BUT if you’re going to do this, you must move your bracelet first!
  4. Stay with it. It may take many months but when you reach 21 days you will find that your entire life is happier, more loving and more enjoyable.


“Success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm”

Winston Churchill

You will find that the more you stop articulating your complaints the less complaining thoughts you have. Through this process it will enable you to challenge your thought process and become a more action orientated person.

What does the challenge entail?

It means not complaining about your work, your ‘incompetent’ co-workers or your unreasonable manager. Not judging others, even if they are incompetent or at fault. No agreeing to another person’s complaint or allowing them to continually repeat their problems (this makes you an accessory to complaining).  You are not even allowed to complain about the speed of your computer or the weather.

If you would like to know more about the campaign and how to make your workplace a complaint free one, please get in touch with us at info@outstand.org or 0203 697 12 16.