Procurement · 31 January 2018

Google search data reveals the workplace concerns of employees

Google search data provided a window into employee concerns

Are you aware of the Google searches your staff making? It might give you a revealing insight into life under your employment.

An analysis of Google’s autocomplete suggestions, undertaken by First4Lawyers, offered a unique window into how employees feel at work, and what questions are driving them to the search engine for answers.

The employment law experts tested simple phrases such as “can my boss”, “can my boss tell me” and “is my boss allowed to” to assess commonly searched questions from workers.

Although a few results were innocuous, the majority suggested serious concerns around employment rights and workplace behaviour, and whether employers had crossed legal boundaries.

Suggestions for the first phrase revealed general queries relating to statutory workplace rights, such as “can my boss change my contract”, with workers keen to clarify their rights via the internet’s library of resources.

The second phrase dug a little deeper, presenting the types of conversation happening between some staff and their employers. The suggestions, including “can my boss tell me to wear makeup”, showed the pressure many workers feel to look or dress a certain way at work, with many bosses potentially crossing boundaries.

Finally, “is my boss allowed to” revealed some of the most worrying trends. The autocomplete suggestions, such as “is my boss allowed to text me”, showed the invasion of privacy experienced by many workers, and the confrontational environment inside many workplaces.

Commenting on the findings, First4Lawyer’s Andrew Cullwick, advised employees to ensure grievances are made known to the appropriate personnel.

“One of the worst situations anyone can face in life is being unhappy in the workplace – especially when it is a result of working for an inappropriate employer. We would advise anyone in a difficult workplace situation to make sure they are fully aware of their rights and to inform your HR department for any misconduct.

He added: “Alternatively speak to your solicitor who can advise you on the action you can take. ”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and has previously worked as a content editor in local government and the ecommerce industry.

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