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Was that “Friendly Reminder” Necessary?


SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Go1, an e-learning solution for on-demand training and resources, released its Workplace Behavior Study that reveals how prevalent passive aggressive behavior is within the workplace and its effect on company culture. Go1 partnered with survey company OnePoll to determine how US employees are experiencing passive aggression, the reasoning behind it, and potential solutions to combat this workplace phenomenon.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the American workforce has seen countless trends take over the workplace from ‘The Great Resignation’ to the most recent ‘Quiet Quitting’,” said Ashleigh Loughnan, Chief People Officer at Go1. “We’ve also found that since the pandemic, passive aggression in the workplace is worse than ever before, which can lead to a host of issues. This report is finding that apart from affecting company culture, passive aggression is impeding productivity, and in order to align the workforce, business leaders need to invest in soft skills training to ensure their companies are working in a cohesive manner.”

The results indicate a larger issue occurring within the American workforce, where passive-aggressive behavior is becoming more commonplace. If left untreated, it can result in cyclical behavior that contributes to further harm of a company’s culture and workforce. The data provided within this study can serve as an opportunity for employers and employees alike to look within and break the cycle.

Over 2,000 employed Americans who have witnessed passive-aggressive behaviors participated in the survey, with the data revealing the following key takeaways:

Workplace Passive Aggression Higher than Pre-Covid Era

  • 69% stated passive aggression has become a problem at their workplace with nearly half (48%) claiming the behaviors have increased since the pre-Covid era.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) witness passive aggressive behaviors in their workplace at least once a week and for 16%, it occurs every day.
  • One in five (19%) women witness passive aggressive behaviors every day, compared to 12% of their male counterparts.

Sarcasm Among the Most Observed Passive Aggressive Behaviors

  • Among entry-level employees, the most observed behavior is sarcasm (76%). The upper echelons of senior management are able to spot talking behind the backs of others (60%) and executive management can sniff out “friendly reminders” from a mile away (55%).
  • Entry-level (71%) and executive managing respondents (59%) agreed that passive aggressive behaviors “harbor negative relationships” with their colleagues.

There Is A Direct Correlation Between Heightened Stress Levels And “Quiet Quitting”

  • Junior (67%), middle (60%) and senior management (58%) believe passive aggression increases stress levels among employees. It’s enough to have caused 71% to only do the bare minimum expected from them at work.
  • Nearly as many (69%) have witnessed the same behaviors from their coworkers.

Workplace Passive Aggression is Contributing to Decreased Productivity

  • Passive aggression is likely to lead to negative workplace relationships (63%), increased stress levels among employees (55%) and decreased productivity (49%).
  • The most common passive-aggressive behaviors in the workplace include:
    • Complaints and Resentment (50%)
    • Silent Treatments (49%)
    • Sarcasm (42%)
    • Dishonesty (37%)
    • Talking Behind Coworkers’ Backs (54%)
  • Close to half (47%) found these behaviors are most likely to occur face-to-face. However, 41% said it’s also likely to occur either through email or online messaging channels.

Employees Are Intentionally Passive Aggressive

  • 68% of respondents admitted to being passive aggressive themselves.
    • Those who admit the bad habits claimed it tended to stem from general work-related stress (18%), frustrations with colleagues (16%) and poor communication skills (12%).
  • Self aware employees show their passive aggressive behaviors through:
    • “Friendly Reminders” (41%)
    • Talking Behind Coworkers’ Backs (38%)
    • Complaints and Resentment (36%)
    • Silent Treatment (32%)
    • Sarcasm (32%)

Soft Skills Training is the Key to Mitigate Workplace Passive Aggression

  • Seven in 10 (71%) said passive-aggressive coworkers would benefit from appropriate soft skills training.
    • When asked to identify the most important soft skills — character traits that decide how well a person interacts with others — respondents said:
      • Time management (53%)
      • Communication (50%)
      • Problem-solving (47%)
  • In order to address passive aggressive behaviors in the workplace, employees said they need to feel empowered to educate coworkers on better ways to:
    • Communicate (74%)
    • Settle Passive Aggressive Situations (56%)
    • Motivate Others to Maintain a Positive Culture (52%)

“Feeling stressed and lacking in communication or problem solving skills can all lead to passive aggressive behaviors and as this research shows – reduces productivity and damages workplace culture.” said Loughnan. “Overcoming these behaviors at work starts with proper education and training. If people are better equipped with soft skills, such as communication or stress management, it can help solve the problem before it begins. We’re calling on companies to provide an open line of communication between their HR specialists and employees. They can implement and share resources to reduce passive aggressive behavior and in turn, create healthier work environments.”

Go1 Methodology:
This online survey of 2000 UK adults was commissioned by Go1 and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected between 13/10/2022 and 21/10/2022. This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team. OnePoll are company partners of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR.

About Go1:
Go1 is the world’s content expert. An organisational learning solution, Go1 curates content from top learning providers to deliver high-quality education and training across a world-leading range of industries and topics. It enables organisations to offer their employees the skills and training that are relevant for them, in the formats that suit them best – all in a single solution. To learn more, visit

Media Contacts:
Lexi Partell
+61 7 3188 7528

Praytell Agency
USA and UK

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