News & Politics

“He Took Off His Pants”

And other tales of office life—from the colleague who exercised at his desk to a memorable Take Your Child to Work Day

We asked the more than 13,000 employees who took our Great Places to Work survey: What’s the funniest or most bizarre behavior you’ve seen or heard about in a Washington office?

Making Yourself at Home

• “A new employee attempted to run a DirecTV cable into his office from the roof.”

• “I witnessed an employee taking off his pants on a rainy day, placing them over a heater to dry, and walking around in his boxer shorts.”

• “One of my coworkers attempted to cook his lunch on a hibachi in his cube.”

• “One of my colleagues propped up his desk on cinder blocks and installed a stationary bike under it because he said he was unable to get enough exercise. There he was, typing and talking on his headset while biking vigorously. And he was wearing sunglasses.”

• “A colleague kept a change of clothes, toiletries, and a sleeping bag in her cubicle in case she overindulged at happy hour, because she didn’t want to go home and face her parents.”

• “Hanging running clothes on the air vent.”

• “A flower vase with artificial flowers was filled with vodka, not water.”

Takes All Kinds

• “A hypochondriac regularly stored urine samples in the office kitchen.”

• “An employee wallpapered her office with aluminum foil because she thought she was being bugged by the CIA.”

• “We had a colleague who we noticed hadn’t been in for a couple of days. We went into her cubicle and found a Post-it that said ‘I retired.’ ”

• “A former supervisor shared a four-by-eight-foot cube with me at a customer site. Rather than talk to me, this person would e-mail me questions. I just had to swivel my chair and answer.”

• “Following a very long meeting, one employee became stiff and wanted to stretch. Instead of standing up and stretching, the person got on the conference table and performed yoga.”

• “I had a colleague who would open a can of sardines near the end of a meeting to, as he explained, ‘keep the meeting ending on time.’ ”

Foot Faults

• “A person at my fiancé’s office takes his shoes and socks off when he uses the restroom.”

• “We had a temp who would give herself pedicures—from exfoliating her heels to giving herself a foot massage with copious amounts of lotion—and transition seamlessly into shaking people’s hands.”

Nap Time

• “I used to work with a guy who during his lunch break would go out into the hall and lie down on the floor to take a nap—suit and all.”

• “Three people with cubes adjacent to mine would watch Days of Our Lives every day. Each one had a TV in their cubicle, and they would holler, ‘Did you see that?!’ to each other while the show was on. They took to bringing in blankets and pillows, sometimes nodding off during the show.”

• “At my former workplace, an employee insisted on taking naps on our reception-area couch.”

• “Someone fell asleep in the restroom around mid-afternoon and didn’t wake up until the next morning.”

Drunken Excess

• “My officemate got very drunk at the Christmas party. She threw up on my side of the office and told me later that she hadn’t wanted to mess up her side.”

• “A woman got so drunk at a work happy hour that she returned to the office and threw up on the copy machine, then in a senior partner’s office, then in her own office before passing out and being woken up—naked in her desk chair—by staff members in the morning.”

Hygiene Hijinks

• “I once was asked if I would come into the restroom and shave the hair off the back of my boss’s neck because he needed a haircut and had an appointment to go to.”

• “One afternoon, I went over to talk to one of the people I supervise, and she couldn’t talk because she was using teeth-whitening strips.”

• “I witnessed a person dyeing his hair in the bathroom.”

• “There was a gentleman on a floor we once occupied who would brush his teeth and shave in the public drinking fountain.”

• “The IT manager at my first company would, while talking to you, pull dental floss from his pocket, floss his teeth, then proceed to twirl the floss around his finger.”

• “I had a coworker who kept tweezers in her pocket and pulled them out during professional conversations to pluck her chin hairs.”

Bring Lunch?

• “A former female developer used to go into the men’s handicapped bathroom and eat Chinese food.”

• “A high-level exec would throw her chicken bones on the floor of her office and tell her assistant to pick them up.”

• “A coworker whose wife is a vegetarian and doesn’t allow meat at home often brings in hams to cook in the office toaster oven.”

• “On his first day, a 19-year-old new hire asked how many beers were permitted at lunch.”

In the Act

• “Two employees were having oral sex in a computer room and were unaware that there was video surveillance.”

• “An employee had a cell-phone ring tone of someone passing gas. During a high-level meeting, much to her embarrassment, she received a phone call.”

• “A salesman forgot he was on a video conference call and was lying on the hotel bed in the buff.”

• “A single coworker became pregnant. After she left on maternity leave, her work station was assigned to another worker. This coworker uncovered e-mails indicating not only that one of our other coworkers was the baby’s father but that the conception had taken place during one of their many lunchtime rendezvous in a stairwell.”

• “The president of our company was shredding paper, and the shredder got jammed. He was poking around in the machine, without turning it off, when it began working again. His tie was now in the shredder. It was a peculiar sight—our president, bent over the shredder, trying to extract his tie while trying to act nonchalant. Later that day, when asked what had happened to his tie, he said, ‘Tie? What tie? I didn’t wear a tie today.’ ”

You’re Joking

• “A colleague asked somebody in the IT department if he could create a folder on his computer’s desktop for his porn pictures.”

• “I was asked by a 25-year-old on my team if she could expense a $10,000 life coach, as she felt she needed additional help given that she was not married.”

• “During Take Your Child to Work Day, two teenage participants decided to go out back and smoke a joint.” 

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