Has your boss ever leaned round the door, smiled insincerely and asked if they can ‘grab five minutes’ with you?
New research has shown that when a senior member of staff asks you for those 5 minutes, the average actual time taken is 22 minutes and 40 seconds; an effective increase of 453%. The study of these awkward conversations also showed interesting trends within the workplace:
- The longest times for informal one-to-one chats were recorded among bosses who suffer from halitosis and other personal hygiene issues – these can often exceed 43 minutes, particularly in enclosed places like stationery cupboards, broom cupboards or broken lifts.
- At the other end of the scale, attractive lady bosses recorded the lowest figures, generally succeeding in confining their chat to within the 5 minute window.
- It is thought that these brief, awkward chats cost the UK economy over £2bn per year in missed meetings, unanswered emails, and missed time spent on Facebook.
- The research also found that if you were asked if you ‘have 5 minutes’, there is a 4% chance that you are about to be fired, and 2.5% that you are about to be sexually propositioned, offered illegal drugs, or Coldplay concert tickets.
“On balance, there is good reason for avoiding these little chats”, said HR guru Roy Dundant. “They take up way more time than initially promised, and it’s pretty much a certainty that you’re in trouble, something terrible is going to happen, or that you’re going to be given some work to do. The chances of getting a pay rise, or being told that Kerry in Finance has finally split up from her boyfriend are so infinitesimally tiny, it is not worth the trouble of attending. My advice is to ignore the request, and point out that you are not contractually obliged to be ‘grabbed’ in this way, and that a proper meeting be diarised.”
Still, business has yet to sink to the levels experienced on the high street – in a recent study, one female shopper in Leicester was heard to be “nipping into TK Maxx for 5 minutes”, and was next seen 3 days later, bankrupt, delirious and suffering from dehydration.