On average, we spend over 42 hours a week at work. Inevitably, most of us therefore spend a lot of time with colleagues – often more than we do with our families. Most colleagues get on perfectly well, and the work place is the starting point for many lifelong friendships and more than a few romances.
However, spending all that time with people can lead to difficulties, and a recent survey by Vapourcore has identified the 10 things which colleagues did (or didn’t do) which irritated them the most. According to the survey, the 10 most irritating traits were these:
1. Body odour (43%)
Nobody wants to work with smelly colleagues, but it is obviously quite an embarrassing issue to raise with someone. We have advised employers who have had issues with smelly employees, and in one case this led to dismissal and a claim for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. This claim failed because the employer had behaved sensibly in dealing with the issue, despite the claimant’s wife telling the Tribunal that her husband didn’t smell, and she should know because she slept with him every night!
(Check out our previous article: ‘What should we do about an employee’s poor personal hygiene?’).
2. Ignoring emails (31%)
This was found to particularly annoy women. Certainly having to chase people who have ignored emails is time consuming and frustrating, but sometimes people do tend to send emails far too frequently and to far too many recipients. It sometimes seems that they are touching you with knowledge and covering their backs if anything goes wrong.
3. Not washing up (30%)
This was found to particularly annoy men. I am not sure why – perhaps they are spoilt at home!
4. Messy desks (26%)
Again, this particularly irritated men – perhaps for the same reason.
5. Interrupting people when they are talking (21%)
I suspect we are all guilty of this.
6. Taking too long in the toilet (20%)
This one surprised me – why would anyone choose to spend too long in the loo? If they do, perhaps they should look for a new job.
7. Talking loudly on the phone (18%)
I am certainly guilty of this, but I get annoyed by people who mumble – but that didn’t feature in the survey.
8. Smelling of cigarettes (15%)
I personally find this distasteful, but possibly more of those surveyed were smokers so didn’t notice the smell on their colleagues.
9. Cooking smelly foods in the staff kitchen (12%)
This, and smelling of cigarettes, annoyed men more than women. I have no idea why!
10. Wearing the same clothes day after day (10%)
Perhaps not surprisingly, this annoyed women more than men, especially when it was women doing it.
So there we have it – at least you now have some idea how to annoy your colleagues.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).