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Workplace Hell Raisers: “Let’s Have a Chat” Strikes Fear in Workers, Finds Latest Survey

Workplace chats have become a common phenomenon in the COVID-19 disrupted era. It’s almost 50-50 when analysts reveal the effectiveness of online chatting tools for employees. 45% of the employees say that using a team collaboration and chatting tool helps to increase productivity. Yet, there are many who might prefer to lay low and continue with their business without engaging in any conversation online. Reason: Some workplace-specific keywords and phrases affect heartbeat and mood.

Business groups are increasingly finding new ways to stay in touch with team members and office colleagues, and messenger platforms are one of them. But, did you know that certain workplace phrases can actually stir anxiety in your colleagues and peers? The anxiety levels can be measured by tracking the number of heartbeats per minute after chatting using specific keywords that are commonly used in the enterprise messenger platforms.

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According to a survey, on average, the phrase “Let’s have a chat” raised respondent heart rate beats per minute to 147 BPM – an 84% increase to the average resting heart rate beats per minute (80 BPM).

In second and third place are the phrases “Would you be able to do a presentation for us?” and Can you share your findings in today’s meeting?” raising heart rates to an average 143 BPM and 138 BPM, respectively.

Other commonly used negative triggers that raised BPM rates were “Just make it happen!”, Have you done X (a task) yet?”, “Meeting’s minutes”, etc.  

Here is what survey found out –

  Workplace Phrase

Average Recorded Heart Rate BPM

Average Heart Rate (80 BPM) Increase

1 Let’s have a chat



2 Would you be able to do a presentation for us?



3 Can you share your findings in today’s meeting?



4 Just make it happen



5 Have you seen that urgent email?



6 It’s come to my attention…



7 Have you done X yet?



8 How do you think it’s going?



9 Can you elaborate on that?



10 Please advise



11 Would you mind covering an ex-employee’s role for a while?



12 What are the learnings here?



13 I tried to call/zoom you earlier…



14 I accidentally deleted it



15 Can I talk to you about what you’re wearing?



16 Do you have anything you want to discuss?




“Do you have anything you want to discuss?” Raises Workers’ Heart Rate Least’s heart rate study reveals the workplace phrase that raises our heart rate least is: “Do you have anything you want to discuss?”. On average, this phrase raised respondent heart rate beats per minute to 91 BPM – a 14% increase on the average resting heart rate beats per minute (80 BPM).

Other phrases with less impact on heart rate include “Can I talk to you about what you’re wearing?” and “I accidentally deleted it” raising heart rate to an average 93 BPM and 96 BPM, respectively.

Talveer Sandhu, a spokesperson for, comments:

“From project timelines to delegating the right work to the right staff and all the in-between, there’s much about work that can alter our heart rate. At a granular level, the study we conducted found even the words or phrases, commonplace in a work environment, can make a big difference to how somebody feels. Going forward, this might encourage us all to reconsider how we speak to staff and colleagues.”’s Talveer Sandhu also spoke with Ian Hurst, co-founder of mental health and suicide prevention non-profit, We are Hummingbird , to discuss tips on how to keep calm at work when you can feel your heart rate accelerating. 

Hurst notes: “Dealing with difficult people is often the biggest cause of work-related stress.

With the additional pressure of today’s pandemic, even a request for a chat can become a stressor. I recommend the following 4 steps, which can help you to assess the situation and alleviate some pressure before you move forward”: 

1. Talk about your feelings to a friend or colleague you trust – getting things off your chest can help relieve pressure. 

2. Use grounding techniques – such as breathing exercises. The 5 senses grounding technique is particularly effective. Look around and identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. 

3. Repeat a calming mantra – a mantra can be a mission statement or vision to repeat that is personal to you for example mine is “breaking the stigma with music”, this can help to ground you and make you feel more in control. 

4. Write down your worry – this will help you to assess what your concern is and accept it is not something you can control.


To achieve the data, asked 807 members of their staff to take part in a trial: 

Participating staff were asked to wear a heart rate tracker while working every day for six weeks. During the six-week trial, senior staff was told to say 16 common workplace phrases at random, such as “let’s have a chat”. All 807 staff were not told the nature of the experiment but were told they would be asked to jot down their heart rate beats per minute (BPM) at random times (actually it was after phrases like “let’s have a chat” were said).

Please note: A resting heart rate is measured by counting the number of beats per minute (BPM). A “normal” heart rate ranges between 60-100 BPM – this is an average of 80 BPM.

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