Can’t we all just get along? Considering we spend one-third of our weekdays with colleagues at work, harmony is an important component in workplace productivity. But there certain habits and behaviors that put employees on edge.
Cringe-Inducing Irritants in the Office
As much as we strive to be on our best behavior at work, some behaviors are going to irritate those in close proximity. According to a survey by a London organization, the following habits are most likely to generate scorn in the workplace.
- Loud or open-mouthed chewing. 70 percent of respondents complained about this bad habit. Your mom warned you not to chew with your mouth open!
- Strong smells. 68 percent found food smells, body odor and an overabundance of perfume or cologne offensive. Let’s go easy on the eau de toilette (and please refrain from microwaving fish in the office!).
- Coughing, sneezing and sniffling. If you’re sick, you shouldn’t come to work; doing so risks infecting others in the office, and at the very least, will offend nearly half of them. 48 percent found coughing, sneezing and sniffling to be bothersome. Sniffling drew the most ire. Blow your nose already!
- Rhythmic tapping. Constantly clicking a pen or tapping your foot, to music or your own internal dialogue, drove 43 percent of respondents crazy.
- Loud music. Even if you’re not tapping your foot, music that is played too loudly can annoy your coworkers. Do them a favor by listening through headphones or earbuds. It’s the courteous thing to do; just because you love gangsta rap doesn’t mean your cubicle mate does! Only 10 percent are bold enough to ask coworkers to turn down the volume, while 48 percent end up listening to their own music more loudly to drown out the offending tunes.
- Messy desks. A desk that is overflowing with paperwork, file folders and other detritus is bothersome to 36 percent of respondents, many of whom claim the clutter serves as a distraction.
- Loud breathing. Nearly one-third of respondents find loud breathing an annoyance. Try to keep your inhaling and exhaling to a whisper, please!
- Clinking cutlery. The fact that 27 percent of respondents are bothered by the sounds of silverware is a good argument for eating sandwiches.
- Loud typing. We’re betting more than 26 percent of people would complain about this if we were still using typewriters instead of computers.
- Antisocial coworkers. You don’t have to be buddies with everybody you work alongside, but 16 percent find keeping to yourself troubling.
Obviously, the results of this survey should be taken with a grain of salt, though U.S.-based studies produce similar results. The key takeaway is this: be respectful of those you work closely with and your job will be more satisfying…for everybody concerned.