Revealed: the five most annoying things you can do in the office

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Eating smelly foods is the most annoying thing you can do in the office, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 office workers across the UK was conducted by business telecommunications provider 4Com, and aimed to find out which habits most get under people’s skin in the work environment.

According to respondents, the top five behaviours that office workers find most irritating are:

• Colleagues eating smelly food in the office e.g. egg and fish (39 per cent)

• Colleagues eating someone else’s food (28 per cent)

• Colleagues eating loudly (27 per cent)

• Colleagues speaking too loud (27 per cent)

• Colleagues whistling/singing (24 per cent)

When it comes to the habits workers admit to having themselves, notably, a third (33 per cent) say they have no irritating habits at all.

On the other hand, one in seven (15 per cent) are aware they speak loudly, and 13 per cent know they have a tendency to sing while they work.

The research also looked at the way people react to workplace irritations. Over a third (37 per cent) of workers say they’ll tell the culprit face to face that their habits are irritating, while one in seven (15 per cent) would rather drop an email to express their annoyance, and one in nine (11 per cent) will just leave a passive-aggressive note.

But over a third (38 per cent) will just ignore the problem altogether.

Survey shows ‘Northerners more polite than Southerners’

Interestingly, men are more likely than women to tell a colleague in person that their behaviour is annoying (42 per cent vs 34 per cent). Yet men are also more likely to gossip to a co-worker about it, hoping that the colleague will pass on the message (13 per cent vs 10 per cent).

Mark Pearcy, head of marketing at 4Com, said: “If you work full time, you probably spend more time with your colleagues than anyone else, so it’s no surprise that certain habits can start to rub you up the wrong way.

“In those situations, we’d recommend letting the person know what’s bothering you in a clear, friendly and polite way, as well as being as patient as possible. After all, who knows, there are probably some things you do that make your colleagues grit their teeth!”