Study reveals the bad office habits Brits hate the most

UK office workers rate having poor hygiene as the most annoying thing a colleague can do, according to a new study exposing what angers Brits in the workplace.

The study found that 65% of UK workers believe that having poor hygiene is the worst office habit and that figure rose to 72% for women.

With many people now choosing to eat at their desks, it’s perhaps not surprising to see that 39% voted eating smelly food as a bad office habit.

Interestingly, using bad language in the office was seen by more than one in three as an annoying office habit and this received more votes than sucking up to your boss (31%) which has so often been mentioned whenever an office worker is talking about what winds them up in the workplace.

The study (which involved 1,028 respondents), conducted by Cartridge People, also asked what UK workers felt was the worst trait in an employee. Coming out on top was dishonesty with a whopping 66% stating that this was the worst trait in an office worker. Not following too far behind was laziness with half of us picking this out a bad trait in a fellow worker.

Alarmingly, the study found that more than one in seven people have had a colleague steal from them in the workplace.

When it comes to the methods we use to try and cope with annoying office habits and colleagues behaviour, UK workers are more inclined to try and ignore co-workers behaviour than talk to them about it. This is backed by 48% telling us one of the ways they’d try and deal with it would be to ignore it versus 44% opting to tell the person annoying them to change their behaviour.

Incidentally, there’s a bigger split between ignoring office habits and confronting people about them when you compare male and female responses to our study. Our results show that 54% of women would ignore what was bothering them compared to 46% of men. Only 32% of female respondents said they’d tell a colleague to stop doing what it was that was annoying them. We found that women were far more likely to talk to fellow co-workers about someone’s annoying habits than men (17% of women versus 10% of men).

Despite the number of bad habits named in our survey, running to management to complain isn’t a course of action our respondents are very likely to take with only 5% saying they’d complain to their boss. Alarmingly, 4% would take the drastic step to look for another job just to get away from a co-worker’s behaviour.

Commenting on the results of the study, Cartridge People spokesperson Andrew Davies said: “Our study has uncovered some revealing insights into what’s annoying UK office workers. As many use the start of a new year to evaluate where they are in their career, it’s important for business owners to ensure that something that may be viewed as just a small annoyance, doesn’t become the reason why a member of staff leaves. Through communicating to employees and making sure that there’s an environment where colleagues can talk to each other honestly and most importantly, respectfully, you can go a long way to making sure that some of the bad office habits mentioned by our respondents don’t become a big issue.

“We find it alarming the number of workers who have had a colleague steal from them. This is unacceptable and can be a massive contributor to a toxic working environment!”

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