Brits spend on average 1,740 hours in the office each year; that’s 76,360 hours across a lifetime! Therefore, it’s very important we get on well with our colleagues, whether it be civil or close natured; considering we spend more time with them than our friends and family. It is therefore only natural that they will occasionally get on our nerves, and rub us up the wrong way with their irritating habits.
Vapourlites.com wanted to find out what the most irritating colleague habits were by conducting two surveys. 586 working Brits were surveyed and asked to list the colleague habits they found most irritating.
Once a list was compiled, another survey was conducted to find out the top 10 most annoying habits. It seems bad smells are something that bother working Brits, with poor body odour topping the list at 40 per cent, demonstrating that it’s a good idea to take your shower in the morning.
The next most voted irritating colleague habit was being interrupted in a meeting at 34 per cent, followed by a messy, overflowing desk at 30 per cent. Smelling of cigarette smoke (12 per cent) and cooking smelly foods (ten per cent) formed the last two irritating colleague habits.
In today’s digital age, communicating over the phone and via emails are a necessity in the office – with the average office worker receiving 36 emails each day. Missing the odd email seems understandable, but colleagues do not like it when other colleagues ignore their emails. Conversely, it was an issue with 15 per cent of the sample when colleagues email rather than just speak to them face-to-face.
However, of all communication issues; talking over someone in a meeting was the biggest gear-grinder for 34 per cent of working Brits.
There were differences in responses between men and women. Both were irritated by bad smelling colleagues, but communicative difficulties annoyed women the most, who rated being interrupted in a meeting, poor hygiene and ignoring emails as the most irritating habits.
Men, on the other hand, are more put-off by mess, stating a messy desk as their most annoying, followed by body odour and colleagues talking loudly on the phone.
Social psychologist, Clare, comments, ‘When you’re working day-in-day-out with the same people, of course conflicts will occur. You don’t choose your colleagues, you’re put together and must strive to work together in the best way you can. Unfortunately, people in general are not the best listeners so communication problems are a common occurrence. In meetings, people strive to be the dominant voice; putting forward the best ideas and solutions. It’s in part due to wanting to look desirable to managers but also to assert ones dominance and power.’
Helen, head of HR at a digital agency, adds, ‘When dealing with conflict at work, it must be approached carefully as you do not want to damage a professional relationship. Approach a colleague in a friendly and open manner, taking them away from sight of other colleagues where possible. Try not to attack them on a personal level, but relate any issues as to how their habits impacts upon your work. If they get defensive, demonstrate that can you can see it from their point of view and come to a compromise of some sort. It’s crucial to end any conversation it in a polite manner, so there is no ongoing bitterness which could affect your productivity at work.’