The huge office ‘icks’ young Aussie employees are complaining about in 2024 – and you’re probably guilty

An expert with more than 25 years experience is has shared his definitive ‘ick’ list for offices in 2024 – and almost all Aussies are guilty of at least one.

Craig Sneesby, the Managing Director of U&U Recruitment Partners, has noticed a massive shift in attitude in offices – especially with more returning to the workplace after long periods at home.

Here he spills his top ‘alarm bell’ behaviours with FEMAIL – from passive aggressive email tone to micro management and inflexible work hours.

Frustrated employees need bosses with boundaries

Craig Sneesby (pictured) is an expert on how bosses can avoid giving their employees the ick

1. Constant availability expectations

A flexible workplace doesn’t mean you always need to be available to your employer.

So it’s no surprise that being expected to respond immediately or be available all the time outside of work hours comes in as the biggest employee turn-off.

‘Candidates want to hit the “pause” button on work when the day ends. Expecting them to be on call 24/7? That’s a major no-no,’ he said.

‘Respect those boundaries so everyone can recharge and be their best selves when they’re “on”.’

2. Creating a toxic workplace culture

Employers would also do well to steer clear of office drama, gossip and office politics and to keep the focus on creating a workplace culture that is fun, uplifting and positive. 

Workers are gravitating towards workplaces and employers who deliver inspiring leadership, flexibility and show empathy. The old style of dictatorship is on the way out. 

‘They want to work somewhere that feels more like a team hangout than a high school cafeteria,’ Craig said.

3. Email faux pas

It seems no one wants to read an overly formal or long email from their boss, either. Craig advises you to avoid this by being direct and having a comfortable level of informality that sounds more like how you would speak in person. 

‘Cut to the chase,’ Craig said. ‘Long, stuffy emails are so last decade.’

Trust employees and give them the freedom to manage their time reduces stress

Trust employees and give them the freedom to manage their time reduces stress

Employees also should avoid CCing the boss in emails unnecessarily. Mr Sneesby likens this to inviting the principal to a group chat about weekend plans. No one wants to be guilty of that.

Craig’s final email faux pas is sending repeated follow-up emails.

‘Don’t,’ Craig warned. ‘When you find yourself wanting to follow-up yet again, it might appropriate to try and “chill” instead, or failing that, try another approach.’

Positive workplaces avoiding drama and gossip will make sure employees don't get the ick

Positive workplaces avoiding drama and gossip will make sure employees don’t get the ick

4. Inflexible work hours

Flexibility and trust are key to keeping staff happy, Craig says.

He advises that if a worker wants to start early or work late, ‘let them do that 10am yoga class without giving them side-eye’. 

Trusting them with the freedom to manager their own time is what he calls the ‘secret sauce for happy workplace’.

5. Judging emoji use

Recruitment expert Craig is – perhaps controversially – encouraging bosses to embrace the emoji. 

He also cautions that managers should keep communication light and respectful and never be passive aggressive. 

If you’re an employer who is guilty of not always being friendly and who might have the odd anger issue, then a smiley face emoji might come in handy after all. 

Just be sure to steer clear of these top 10 emojis that will definitely make you look too ‘old’.

6. Toxic traits 

There are three things that don’t fly in 2024: authoritarianism, inflexibility and a lack of empathy. 

‘Ditch the dictator act, keep an open mind and show some heart! Empathy isn’t just a buzzword; it’s essential,’ Craig said.

‘Leaders who understand and care about their team’s feelings and actually treat employees as humans score big in the modern workforce.’