The top 50 weirdest tasks that workers have been given to do at their jobs and it gets weird.

Peeling the pith from satsuma segments, stacking coat hangers and unknotting Christmas lights are amongst the most bizarre jobs Brits have been asked to do at work, according to new research.

A study of 2,000 workers across the country has revealed a top 50 list of the most unusual – and sometimes inappropriate – tasks assigned to employees.

This includes polishing cutlery with vinegar, shredding paper manually, removing hair from hairbrushes and dressing in a sandwich board in public.

Researchers found requests from the boss sometimes go from the sublime to the ridiculous – one unlucky respondent revealed they were asked to follow another member of staff who left work, as the boss suspected that rather than being ill, he was off to the pub.

Another, during their military career, was tasked with ironing ordnance survey maps simply so they would lie flat on the wall.

And a third was asked to work overtime to allow another colleague to nip home and make love – as his partner was at the fertile point in her month.

Jeremy Hulme, Chief Executive of working animal charity SPANA, which conducted the study, said,

“It’s surprising to see just how many British workers are routinely expected to carry out tasks that are a long way from their job description and that they didn’t sign up for. Many bosses seem comfortable asking their staff to perform duties that are bizarre and beyond the call of duty.

“However, although having to fulfil menial or unusual tasks can be a frustrating part of working life in the UK, these problems seem very minor compared to the tough working conditions endured every day by working animals in developing countries. These animals work long hours, often carrying back-breaking loads, with no holidays, retirement or sick days.”

A number of people surveyed have been asked to clean the toilets or sweep the floors at work, which were widely seen as unreasonable and unexpected requests in non-cleaning roles.

The study revealed one unfortunate respondent was asked to clean her boss’ house as his wife had left him, and his sister was coming to visit.

Another was asked to babysit a colleague’s children while continuing with their normal workload, while one ‘kind’ boss asked two staff members to dress up as the Easter bunny and deliver Easter eggs to all the other workers.

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Dressing up as a cyber dog for the local library and dressing up as a tomato to hand out leaflets were low points for other respondents.

But some of the weird tasks British workers are asked to carry out are surprisingly common – as the top 50 list reveals.

Feeding animals, separating security pins from tags and typing phone contacts into spreadsheets feature highly on the list of unusual jobs.

Playing computer games, cuddling someone and planning weddings are some of the nicer tasks to feature in the list.

While removing poo from swimming pools, cleaning up road kill and cleaning toilets are among the more unsavoury jobs.

One in 10 people say they currently work in a job where they are asked to carry out bizarre tasks – which include parading around in underwear, watching people sleep and creating sugar cube castles.

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But 13 per cent of employees have been so disgruntled about the work they were being asked to do, as the tasks were too far removed from their job description, they’ve left the job.

Jeremy Hulme continues,

“The good news is that the majority of people do have a choice, and if a job becomes too inappropriate, difficult or stressful, they can often leave or do something about it.

“That’s the difference between working people in Britain and working animals abroad, which have no choice. We need to support these working horses, donkeys, camels and other animals to improve their conditions and ensure they have the vet care they need when they are sick or injured.”


Sweep the floors
Cleaning toilets
Clearing up rubbish
Feeding animals
Unknotting Christmas lights
Cuddle someone
Type phone contacts into a spreadsheet
Removing hair from hairbrushes
Stack books
Play computer games
Pack and stack boxes
Erecting fences
Wash people’s hair
Plan a wedding
Soak and peel the labels off bottles
Cut pre-made sandwiches into triangles
Peel the pith from satsuma segments
Shredding paper manually due to a broken-down shredder
Polish cutlery with vinegar
Hand grating massive bowls of cheese
Attaching security tags / labels to products
Teach English to foreign colleagues
Remove stitches
Taste testing
Separating security pins from tags
Dressing up as a cartoon character
Stacking coat hangers
Dust books with a paintbrush
Dress in a sandwich board in public
Wear fake tan and wax chest
Wear revealing or indecent clothes to model in
Packing fish
Do all the boss’s Christmas shopping
Cleaning the top of changing room mirrors
Stuff crackers
Colour separate skittles / sweets
Being a Sports mascot
Remove poo from swimming pools
Cleaning up road kill
Post false good comments about the company online
Fire someone, even though it wasn’t your place to do so
Fill donuts with jam
Chopping the heads off kippers
Write Christmas card jokes
Eat dog food
Delete all emails and files from the boss’s computer
Pose as a member of the opposite sex for the day
Spy on senior management
Buy underwear for the boss’s wife
Stand in a line pretending to queue for the sales

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