Workplace Issues

A Free Survey of Workplace Issues - And Some Communication Recommendations

What are the biggest "communication" issues in your workplace? Below is a list of 56 workplace situations people have identified that reduce their productivity and effectiveness at work. Your answers will state how often you see these issues where you work. When you finish, hit ‘Submit’ and you will see a summary of ways to make some positive changes - and maybe even turn things around.

An Administrative Assistant told us, "I spent 15 minutes answering these questions and realized that I could improve communication in my whole office just by changing one thing about the way I interact with bosses and staff members. So I made that change and I noticed people acting friendlier and being more productive. Two weeks later, I re-took the Survey, and sure enough, some of those issues had disappeared. I told my boss about it, but the fun part is that nobody else knows how it happened except me!"

A department manager said, "I took this quiz and realized I needed all my staff to do it too. They did it, and then we put our answers together to get a good look at the different challenges we face. We picked the issue most of us agreed was the biggest problem, and we began to implement the ideas for improvement. We started that day and we noticed a difference before the week was out! By the next meeting, we were looking to tackle our second-biggest challenge."

SCORING: Please indicate, for any of the following actions, behaviors, or situations that you observe or encounter at your place of work, "How often do you observe or experience each item occurring in your workplace?"

1 = Never Happens

2 = Rarely Happens

3 = Sometimes Happens

4 = Frequently Happens

5 = Happens All the Time

Workplace Challenges







Work assignments are turned in late.


Clear standards for work quality have not been established.


Some people do only the minimum work necessary, or don't do their assigned work, making it hard for others to get their work done.


There are a lot of unexpected "emergencies" and time spent "putting out fires".


Equipment or systems are outdated and/or there are insufficient materials and supplies.


Meetings focus on isolated problems or "issues of the day", but not discussing whether work assigned to individuals or groups is done completely, accurately, and on time.


Managers keep changing their minds and their priorities, making it difficult to get anything done.


When people cause a problem, they don't always own up to it and apologize.


Projects don't meet their planned due dates.


There are significant differences in the quality of work people do.


Some people expect someone else to motivate them or tell them what to do, which slows things down and makes it harder to get work done.


The goals and objectives of the group and/or organization are not clear, making it harder for people to work together in accomplishing them


Projects are planned without identifying where resources will come from, who else from other places need to be involved, or how the work will be carried out.


Staff cuts and/or restructuring have disrupted former channels of communication.


There is no differentiation between "doing tasks" and "producing results", so people are busy but not necessarily getting the right things done and delivered to others


When people ask for something, they don't always say when they need it and why it’s important to them.


Some people have to be continually reminded or "micromanaged" to get them to do their work properly or on time.


Assignments do not include clear due-date deadlines.


People who do poor quality work are not held to account for improving it.


There isn't any follow-through on people who don't keep their agreements or do complete work.


Training is needed for some staff for using new systems and procedures, for being more effective in managing remotely, and/or for improving cross-functional communications.


There are no good measures of efficiency, quality, or effectiveness for our work, so we can't really tell if we are doing what is expected.


People don't coordinate their work with each other, so they work at cross- purposes and make extra work for themselves and others.


Changes are implemented without discussing them with the people whose jobs will be affected by the change.


People say things are a "priority" rather than say a specific time by when they want it.


There are clear work standards, but not everybody uses them.


Argumentative, unfriendly, or otherwise disagreeable people cause trouble at work.


There is no team, just people working on their own.


People work hard but not always on the right things


Procedures and processes are outdated, making it more difficult to complete the work.


Measures are not used to track either staff or team performance.


People accept assignments without getting clear on exactly what is expected of them.


People do not stick to schedules and due dates.


Team goals are not clearly understood or spelled out to everyone involved.


The bosses give out work assignments but there is no plan for the best way to get things done, so people are mostly on their own to figure it out.


There is no discussion about projects when they are finished or if they are terminated in some way – it’s just moving on to the next thing.


Performance reviews are subjective and not helpful in giving guidance for improvement.


Work quality doesn't seem to matter very much.


Some people resist using new methods and procedures in their work.


There’s not much follow-through on tasks, results, or communications to be sure things worked out well so that people know what worked and what didn't work.


People do not cooperate with each other in getting the work done.


People use personal differences or disagreements as a reason for not collaborating with others.


Some projects and assignments involve other teams, groups, and departments, but it is difficult to get their cooperation and support.


Meetings start and/or end late.


Work is done, but it is incomplete or inaccurate.


People have more work to do than they have time in which to do it.


Some people gossip and make others look bad, or blame others for their problems, and they are unpleasant to work with.


When people arrive late or turn in their work late, nobody tells them it’s important to be on time.


There is no "scoreboard" for tracking progress on group goals, so people don't know if the group is succeeding.


Meetings are not well managed, waste time and run too long. They have no agendas, are poorly structured and people come unprepared.


Managers promise to provide support for completing a project, but then don't deliver.


Bosses focus more on the psychology of employee motivation and satisfaction than on having people be accountable for the results they produce.


People or groups are seldom recognized or thanked for what they do, even when they go the extra mile to accomplish something.


Work has to be redone because it is incomplete, inaccurate, or poor quality


Some people are chronic complainers, taking up the time, attention, and energy of others.


Projects are initiated and assignments made without the resources (people, money, time) necessary to complete them.

Please provide your email so you can be sent your score.

© 2014 Jeffrey Ford and Laurie Ford