[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 22:26 GMT 23:26 UK
Workmates' habits 'drive us mad'
Colleagues are not always the best of friends...
One in three workers have come close to resignation because of the irritating habits of their colleagues, a survey has revealed.

The poll of 1,500 workers by recruitment firm Office Angels found that most complaints were about noise levels or technology.

Virtually everyone said they hated being sent an e-mail by someone sitting a few feet away.

In addition, chief irritations included listening to voicemails on speaker phone, swearing at computers, and refusing to take turns making the tea.

Escape tactics

In fact, those surveyed agreed that workers who were loud on the phone or refused to make tea were more likely to be gossiped about.

More than half the workers surveyed said colleagues' habits could be so irritating that they would willingly forego a week's holiday if it meant they didn't have to work alongside people who annoyed them.

A third said they had considered leaving their job to escape noisy and irritating colleagues.

"It sometimes feels like we spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our friends and families," said Paul Jacobs, managing director of Office Angels.

"The smallest habits can irritate and cause discord in the office."

Your comments:

I used to have a colleague that would only talk when you held eye contact. It got to the point where I would be eating a sandwich in my lunch break and he would come across and sit at my side and then lean right in front of me to gain eye contact (whilst I was still eating and couldn't reply) and start talking.
Anonymous, New Zealand

Unreasonable bad temper
Anonymous, Hong Kong

A chick in the next cubicle who talks about her personal life all day.
Anonymous, USA

An irritating habit is when people talk about an argument they have had with their partner on the phone and you have to listen to the same story about ten times as they phone people to tell them about it.
Anonymous, England

The most annoying thing about my colleagues in the office is the disgusting stench from the smokers. They reek of stale cigarettes. Their hair smells, their clothes smell and their breath smells.
Anonymous, UK

We have an office colleague that constantly eats with his mouth open, picks spots and never makes the tea
Anonymous, UK

I would like to thank the colleague who used my desk one day and left me the unenviable task of cleaning his lunch off of everything he touched including what he had spat at the screen.
Anonymous, UK

Colleagues who send faxes from the fax machine with the speaker phone on full blast and the fax machine has to keep re-trying, and these colleagues don't sit near the fax machine like I have to.
Anonymous, Hong Kong

Those who consistently delete jobs of the laser printers to get to their's
Anonymous, UK

I come into the office everyday earlier than most, to escape spending time with a annoying workmate.
Anonymous, England

Our boss sits in a Hannibal Lecter style Glass walled office 12 feet away and rings us on his phone, on speak phone! Very annoying!
Anonymous, UK

Moaning and winging in general about work load
Anonymous, England

What irritates me is people holding conference calls on speaker-phone gathered around somebody's desk.
Anonymous, England

Colleagues who stay in the office late specifically to call up everyone they know and tell them how late they are working.
Anonymous, England

We have an office colleague that constantly eats with his mouth open, picks spots and never makes the tea. Everyone considers is very rude, thankfully he has gone before the rest of us.
Anonymous, UK

Slurping of tea, and then insisting on making the "ahhh" sound after every slurp is just about as much as I can handle at 8:30 in the morning!
Anonymous, UK

I have a terrible habit of tapping my hands and feet, being a drummer I sometimes don't realise that I am doing it. I find out I am doing it when several of my colleagues shout in unison for me to stop!
Anonymous, UK

Colleagues who sit/stand two inches from your face when they come to discuss things with you!
Anonymous, U.K

I have a supervisor that has the most amazing selective hearing. When ever she speaks she feels the need to shout to get her point across. Even the building next door complains.
Anonymous, UK

Polyphonic ring tones, somebody having an argument with their bank and half the office has to listen, smelly lunches (sardines, garlic mayo etc) eaten at a desk nearby, speakerphones, people commenting on every thing you do, being nosy and rubbernecking to find out what's on ones screen, I mean where do we stop? That's all part of our modern life, just tell them what annoys you!
Anonymous, UK

Knuckle biting. Teeth cleaning with fingernail, followed by wiping of the fingernail on the shirt. Ear cleaning with fingernail, followed by wiping of the fingernail on the shirt. Etc. etc. etc.
Anonymous, UK

Talking about their children all day long, people who talk about every calorie that they consume.
Anonymous, UK

I am irritated when people relax because the boss is not around and then show a completely different work ethic when they are in the office.
Anonymous, UK

A colleague who says "Fantastic" all the time. I actually counted 37 times in one day.
Anonymous , UK

People who wear headphones and then act offended just because you need to interrupt their listening pleasure to speak with them as part of the working day.
Anonymous , UK

I have a colleague that shouts and guffaws when he's on the phone but the minute he is off is very quiet and placid. A different colleague is quite probably the nosiest eater that this planet has known, the crunching and general noise from his mouth goes through me like a grating chalkboard.
Anonymous, UK

One of our directors has no awareness of how rude and patronising his body language is. When you go to talk to him in his office, he immediately puts his hands behind his head and stretches his whole body out, and keeps his eyes averted to the wall, so it's clear that you're the idiot in the room. Also he creeps up on people at their desks and just starts asking them for stuff without saying hello, or excuse me, so they always get a shock.
Anonymous, London

Why flexible hours can work
23 Apr 03  |  Business
'I felt chained to my computer'
21 Apr 03  |  Health
Worker tried to poison colleagues
14 Mar 03  |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific