October 27, 2008 / 5:49 PM / 10 years ago

Jokers in the real office are no laughing matter

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The office joker, a traditional workplace mainstay, may be on the way out, according to a new report identifying eight key workplace personalities.

The ‘T-Mobile Workplace Motivation Report’, authored by leading business psychologist Honey Langcaster-James reveals that despite the recent financial doom and gloom David Brent-style office jokers are no laughing matter when it comes to motivating a disheartened workplace.

This is bad news for those who fall under the report’s Joker category, as 15 percent of those interviewed said that they found constant gag-cracking — by people similar to the fictional Brent in the BBC television comedy series “The Office” — to actually have a de-motivating influence in the workplace.

On the contrary, workers are turning to go-getting “Cheerleader” types to raise office morale, with more than a quarter of those interviewed saying that the ‘can-do’ attitude of this type of worker was a beneficial and motivational influence in the workplace.

The report concludes that a third of British workers identified themselves as a down-to-earth, pragmatic “Realist” type, likened to straight-talking British entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar, characterized by their black and white thinking and sarcastic, dry sense of humor.

The report identifies the eight most common workplace personalities ranging from the nurturing and approachable “Mother Hen,” always ready with advice and a shoulder to cry on, to the laid back, unflappable “Dude,” whose ability to remain unflustered has a calming influence in a stressed-out workplace.

Other personality types include the socially connected “Link,” who believes it’s not what you know but who you know, the creative and resourceful “Innovator,” and the fastidious, technically minded “Geek.”

“The trick is to identify which profile most closely fits your own personality and to see if it is affecting the way you work and how you interact with colleagues,” Langcaster-James said.

She said the research showed that particularly in the current climate, people prefer to be surrounded by upbeat, enthusiastic personalities.

“We don’t feel motivated by colleagues who spend their time joking around and making flippant comments - or at least that’s the case at the moment,” she said.

T-Mobile, who commissioned the report, said that they commissioned the report to gain further insight into ‘changing role of motivation within the workplace’. They stressed that these personality types are simply a model and as such cannot be so regimentally applied to real workers.

“While we would never dream of categorizing our employees as one of the typologies outlined in the report, it’s a great platform to get all of us thinking about our roles within the workplace, and how we motivate each other,” Julia Porter-Robinson, HR senior recruitment manager for T-Mobile, said in a statement.

Editing by Paul Casciato

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