Work Enemies

Packed with dynamic visualization, this scrolling editorial story explores why and how we fall out with our work colleagues.


An illustration in the pixel art style of old arcade machines. The image shows several desktop items like a stapler, mug and books next to a large arcade cabinet which displays 'Player 1 'You' vs 'Player 2' Them' implying the reader versus their work enemy.

What happens when working relationships turn sour?

We worked with Totaljobs to create an entertaining piece of digital journalism that would inspire stories in the media and drive traffic to their website.

As we dug into Totaljobs’ survey data on more than 7,000 UK workers, we unearthed an abundance of insights. Including how 297 people accuse their work enemy of clipping their nails at work. Shudder...

We visualized these stories with expand-on-scroll bar charts, an interactive scatterplot about work enemies’ most disliked behaviors.

Psychological insights from workplace experts Good&Co, snappy video content and thought-provoking quotes from survey respondents all added a human element to the narrative.

We took a light-touch editorial approach, keeping the tone curious and sensitive rather than sensationalist.

This was reflected in the 8-bit arcade-game visuals we used to capture themes of competitiveness, adversaries and tension, while providing moments of playful delight for the reader.

Work Enemies proved a big hit for Totaljobs. It sparked press coverage across numerous national broadsheets and tabloids, from the Guardian and VICE to The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Metro.

Screenshots from the Work Enemies website on a purple background. The screenshots are a mix of text, data visualizations and data visualizations/graphics themed on arcade games.
A bar chart with titled 'Having a work enemy makes us...' each bar is a different end to that sentence including 'Cry or get emotional' or 'Pick up a hobby or activity.' Each category has a bar for men and women. The most commen female recation was 'cry or get emotional' at 62%. Men's highest answer was 'isolate yourself from colleagues' at 36%.'
A bar chart showing what action people surveyed would take against their work enemy. The highest answer was 'Start looking for a new job' at 70%. The lowest answer at 6% was 'leave the team.'
A screenshot of the Work Enemies website on a purple background. The page includes text and a bee swarm plot showing the behaviours people find the most and least annoying from their work enemies.
A selection of graphics based on work enemies in the style of arcade pixel art graphics. They include a fingernail, cigarrettes, a crown and a pig.

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