HR Strange But True

10 Workplace Habits That Bother the Brits

Our British friends are known for keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of grave adversity. However, there are some little (and often nasty) things that their coworkers do that really bother them.

In a recent survey of over 5,000 workers on the Top 10 Workplace annoyances, in the UK, the winners (in order of annoyance) were:

  • The smell of hot food causes offense—especially curries and fish dishes;
  • Taking your shoes off at your desk;
  • Lacking personal hygiene—not washing hands after using the restrooms, clipping toe nails or picking noses at desks;
  • Leaving the kitchen facilities in a messy state;
  • Taking possessions without asking—mugs, stationary goods, etc.;
  • Bringing crying babies into the office;
  • Quick-fire spreading of idle office gossip;
  • Sending unnecessary e-mails;
  • “Skiving” (British for shirking) tasks and not putting in the required effort; and
  • Use of unnecessary vulgar language.

Alan Price, group director for Peninsula Business Services, the employment law consultancy commented on the results, saying “Workers should leave their bad habits at home. Taking your shoes off at work is unacceptable—this is the office not your living room. There are a number of habits that anger managers and employees alike; whilst it may seem comical it really is not.”

Price continues that, “Before you take hot food to your desk think about how the smell may affect other workers. It can linger, make the air smell stale, and may even transfer to coats and garments. It can also be messy, so use break areas or eat out of the office.
Such annoying habits are not to everyone’s taste so make sure that you take this into consideration.”

Price concludes by saying, “Employees have just as big a part to play as their employer in ensuring such habits are minimized. Annoying office habits are becoming a serious workplace issue, and with open plan offices on the increase, it seems more of us have to contend with the bad habits of fellow workers and the evidence shows that it seems to be making us unhappy.”