How annoying are your colleagues?

Authored by karl_young
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 8:03am

There are millions of offices all around the world, with tens of millions of workers in them, but they all have one thing in common: the annoying colleague.

Exeter’s office workers find a colleague whining to be the most annoying workplace habit, a new study reveals, although only 29% are prepared to do anything to try and stop the problem.

Although just under 30% of workers stated that their colleague’s behaviour had made them consider leaving, only 2% of South West had actually followed through with the decision – a lower figure than the national trend of a 5% leaving rate.

Whining colleagues caused significant bother to Exeter’s office workers, but co-workers that were regularly late were found to be Exeter’s second most hated thing in the office, the study by Viking found.

Time-wasting seemed to be the biggest annoyance overall with Gossiping, taking lots of cigarette breaks and Constant procrastination all scoring highly.
Exeter’s top 20 most annoying office habits are ranked below;

1. Whining all the time
2. Being regularly late
3. Gossiping
4. Taking lots of cigarette breaks
5. Deliberately taking a long time to do something/constant procrastination
6. Eating stinking food
7. Talking on the phone too loudly
8. Having bad hygiene (coffee breath, BO, visibly dirty clothes)
9. Not replacing things that run out (e.g. printer paper, coffee)
10. Coming to work when very ill
11. Spraying deodorants, aftershaves and perfumes at desk
12. Having an untidy desk
13. Texting/using mobile phone all day
14. Invading personal space
15. Talking too much about private life
16. Not making a tea round
17. Constantly tapping/clicking pens/typing too loud
18. Stealing other people's food/lunch
19. Humming/whistling/singing
20. Using jargon

When it came to reporting an annoying employee almost 30% of workers would rather avoid conflict with their employees and instead discuss the issue with other colleagues. Only 25% were happy to approach the culprit and 7% of respondents would approach senior management.

Across the UK as a whole the results were similar: lateness, smelly food and whining took the top three positions and over a third (40%) had considered leaving their jobs as a result of the annoyance caused.

Interestingly, women are more likely to be riled up by an empty toilet roll holder, whereas men ranked office gossip as a top bad habit. When it comes to confrontation, women are more likely to keep quiet in order to keep the peace.

Ruud Linders, Marketing Manager Europe at Viking, said:
“Close knit environments such as offices can be a hotbed for behavioural differences, and when you throw some of those against differing personalities you can end up with irritated colleagues. I think the key to a happy office is striking a balance between feeling comfortable and tolerating some people’s behaviour – however questionable”.

A full breakdown of the National study can be found on the site:

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