The Strangest HR Requests Ever Received

Business woman with envelopes Shutterstock

Asking to use the company credit card to pay for a cat sitter, requesting to work from home to watch an important tennis match and enquiring about the possibility of a late start (and thereby equating the importance of childcare with the need for a nail appointment) – these are just a few of the weirdest requests HR departments around the UK have ever received.

A community survey conducted by CIPD course providers DPG has uncovered some of the weirdest and most wonderful requests and queries ever sent to HR and personnel staff across the country.

Paul Drew, the Managing Director at DPG, says: ‘To celebrate the launch of DPG’s Level 5 Online Programme, we researched some of the strangest requests that DPG’s online community have received to provide advice (as well as a little comic relief) for HR specialists.’

Aiming to highlight just how much goes on unseen in the world of HR – some of which you will hardly believe is true – DPG has also created a visual representation of some of the strangest emails their community has received.

Here are some of the weirdest requests submitted by the DPG community:

#1 Asking for a late start to get their nails done – and likening it to dropping children off at school.

HR nails request


#2 Requesting a day off after staying up too late and feeling tired.

Late night HR request


#3 Asking to use company expenses account to pay for a cat sitter.

Cat sitter HR request


#4 Asking about the frequency of drug tests and whether they’re compulsory… right after New Year’s.

Drug test HR request


#5 Not so subtly asking about whether an employee has to declare having been arrested whilst in employment.

Police arrest HR request


#6 Asking whether managers can make surprise visits to employees’ homes as a ‘way of getting know them’.

Home visits HR request


#7 Asking to spend some of the Christmas party’s spare budget on hair and makeup.

Christmas budget


#8 Requesting to work from home (and watch tennis).

Tennis HR request

Some of these requests, whilst strange, actually have a chance of being approved in some capacity. Many companies focus on inclusivity, flexibility and employee wellbeing as part of the benefits package they offer employees, so there’s an increasingly high chance that a weird request just might be approved – as long as it doesn’t affect your or your colleague’s work.

However, other requests simply aren’t likely to get through.

‘Part of working in HR is taking the usual with the unusual. Dealing with weird and wonderful requests can be entertaining (and occasionally taxing), but maintaining a professional outlook is the most important factor,’ says Drew.

‘The best way to deal with awkward or strange requests is to establish a conversation with the employee and approach it as professionally and candidly as possible. It’s important to strike a balance between being open to out-of-the-ordinary requests and maintaining a level of standards. Sometimes, however, you might just have to disappoint the employee making the request.’

Do you work in HR? What are some of the strangest employee requests you ever received? Let us know in the comments section below!