Smelly food, talking too much and coughing - the top 10 office annoyances revealed

Taking personal calls at work is one of the top ten office annoyances.Taking personal calls at work is one of the top ten office annoyances.
Taking personal calls at work is one of the top ten office annoyances.
The top ten most annoying habits of office workers have been revealed.

Keeping your desk clean and tidy, knowing when it’s appropriate to spark conversations and keeping unattractive smells under control are just some of the ways employees can ensure they’re not pushing anyone’s buttons in the office on a day-to-day basis, according to experts.

Commercial property experts at have compiled a list of the top ten office annoyance that all employees should avoid if they don’t want to irritate fellow staff members in the workplace.

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If you’re a self-confessed over-talker and your desk resembles a pigsty, chances are you’re rubbing your colleagues up the wrong way by carrying out two of the top ten office annoyances.

Chris Meredith, of, said: “We’ve all shared an office space with an annoying colleague. Whether they’re constantly bringing in lunches that stink the office out, let their belongings trail on to your desk or are constantly tapping away on their mobile phones.

“One of the most important rules of office life is to just be aware of what you are doing around the workplace and think about how your behaviour may impact your friends and co-workers.

“There are huge numbers of unspoken agreements that all employees should stick to if they want to get through the working day without angering colleagues, and it could feel like you’re treading on egg shells so as not to upset anybody.

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“Yet if you simply avoid these ten office annoyances, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your presence has a positive impact on the office dynamic, instead of stepping on people’s toes.”


Unattractive smells

Smells and noises can be magnified when sitting in a confined office space, so be considerate when packing your lunch or snacks. Steer clear of any garlic and fish based meals if you’re going to be eating at your desk, as well as particularly spicy or cheesy foods. Be sure to empty your bin regularly too, to avoid the stench of rotting foods. And what is possibly more annoying than a smelly colleague? Staff who work in your immediate vicinity will be able to tell instantly if you’ve forgotten to spray deodorant in the morning, and don’t forget to shower!

Dirty desks

Whilst it may not be your sole responsibility to keep the entire office spick and span, the condition of your own desk falls down to you and you only. If it’s covered in a huge pile of unorganised papers and litter, this may be distracting for your colleagues and become a major annoyance in the workplace. If you share a desk, be sure to clear away any personal items at the end of every day too, such as mugs and office supplies.


It’s good to break away from your computer for five minutes to chat to your colleagues, but if they look deep in concentration or up to their ears in work then it might not be the best time to strike up a conversation.

Distracting colleagues

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Your colleagues have their own work-related issues to worry about, without having to listen to yours being shouted around the office. Remember to talk quietly, as your voice travels further than you might think, and keep annoying habits such as tapping on the desk, fidgeting or getting up and down often to a minimum.

Tea and coffee rounds

Making yourself a cuppa without offering to get anybody else one isn’t just annoying, but it could be perceived as being downright rude, particularly if you’re quick to accept your colleagues’ hot drink offers. Your workmates will quickly grow tired of the gesture not being reciprocated, so make sure you’re regularly extending the offer.


There’s only so many times you’ll be let off the hook for turning up to work or a meeting late, and when people are constantly having to wait around for you, it won’t be long before tempers start to flare.

Coughing and sneezing

You might think that you’re showing commitment and dedication to your team by valiantly turning up to work despite nursing a horrible cold or bug, but the fact is germs spread like wildfire and your co-workers don’t want to catch your illness, so stay in bed and recover.

Personal phone calls

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Using your mobile for personal calls at your desk is hardly the politest of things to do, especially whilst your colleagues are hard at work around you. Making sure it’s on silent at work is another important piece of phone etiquette to remember, as constant rings or dings will quickly become annoying and tiresome.

Respecting boundaries

Remembering to respect your colleagues’ boundaries – both physical and conversational – Is essential to ensuring peace and harmony in the office. Making inappropriate jokes, advances or not respecting someone’s personal space are rules that shouldn’t only be adhered to within the confines of the office walls, but in everyday life too.

Lunch thieves

You might think that stealing food without anyone noticing is the perfect crime, but remember that doing so will certainly ruin someone else’s day. It doesn’t matter if it’s been left unlabelled in your shared office kitchen; just don’t touch it.

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