Survey Shows Many Workers Go Straight to the Top with Protocol Questions

MENLO PARK, CA -- Who's the "go-to" person for sticky situations at work? For many people, it's the boss, a new nationwide survey of office workers shows. Nearly half (47 percent) of employees polled said they seek advice from their managers when faced with questions of protocol.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 525 men and women, all 18 years of age or older and employed full-time in professional environments. OfficeTeam, a leading staffing firm for administrative professionals, developed the poll as part of its monthlong "Jumpstart Your Career" webcast/chat series. The third segment in the series, "The Art of Workplace Protocol," airs Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. EDT at OfficeTeam is sponsoring the series in recognition of Administrative Professionals Week, April 22-28.

Survey respondents were asked, "When you have a question about workplace protocol, whom do you consult first?" Their responses:

Your manager 47%
A co-worker 28%
A friend or family member outside of the office 13%
An administrative assistant 7%
Don't know/no answer 5%

"For sensitive protocol issues, such as how to handle staff conflicts or vendor disputes, a manager is the most appropriate person to provide guidance," said Liz Hubler, executive director of OfficeTeam. "By virtue of their experience and big-picture perspective, senior team members are well positioned to recommend a course of action." She points out, however, that workers may be missing out on a valuable resource. "Administrative professionals are experts on such matters as when and how to best approach senior executives, and what communication style is preferred."

Hubler added, "Support staff frequently have the inside track on how a matter would be handled most efficiently. They may also be easier to reach since they serve as 'ground control' for an increasingly mobile workforce."

For those who wish to test their own skills in office protocol, a downloadable quiz is available at (in the Resources section).

OfficeTeam has over 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

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