These are the top 50 office gripes

By Richard Jenkins
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 4:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 4:59 pm

Sitting in tiny meetings rooms with lots of people, having to hot desk and no longer being able to wear comfy clothes are among the UK’s biggest office gripes.

A survey polling 2,000 office workers revealed the most common moans have evolved during the pandemic with a fifth no longer liking it when colleagues get close.

Another quarter - just as pre-lockdown - judge others for coughing and sneezing without putting a hand in front of their mouth.

Sign up to our daily Hemel Today newsletter

People seemingly not washing hands after using the toilet, failing to sanitise regularly or opening windows without checking with colleagues nearby also annoy many.

While reams of paper being used on the printer and others spreading themselves also made the top 50 list.

Frustrated employees

Staff also get frustrated with colleagues who leave lunch dishes lying around and think nothing of discarding paper towels on the floor.

As many as 42 per cent of employees admit they are far more irritated with their surroundings now they have returned to the office.

And four in 10 are less tolerant of colleagues, the boss and customers than they were pre-pandemic.

A spokesman for hygiene and health company Essity, which carried out the study said: “Office gripes have always existed but the global pandemic and the heightened focus on our own hygiene and health has changed what behaviours we find frustrating now that we’re starting to head back to the office more regularly.

“Poor hand hygiene, coming in with a cough or a cold, and a failure to show any care or courtesy towards being environmentally friendly, have all shot to the top of our lists of bugbears.

“For employers, now is the time to put measures in place to minimise any chance of these office gripes upsetting employees that are being welcomed back after so long at home.”

Hygiene standards matter even more now

It emerged the standard of hygiene in the office since going back has been a concern for almost half of those polled.

As a result, 28 per cent now take their own cutlery to work, while 38 per cent clean their own workspace daily and four in 10 carry their own hand sanitiser or soap.

A further 24 per cent have tried to avoid using public transport since returning to the office, preferring to walk or use a private vehicle, and 44 per cent think nothing of wearing a mask while working, if requested.

And more than a third now refuse to take part in the tea round and take their own mug to work for when they want a brew.

Employers have some way to go to keep staff happy, as 36 per cent say they would like a daily cleaning regime to include sanitisation of desks and communal areas and 31 per cent want things like anti-bacterial wipes available around the building.

A fifth of workers have already talked to management about getting recyclable items like paper towels and sanitary products in for staff to use.

While 18 per cent have asked the boss to supply appropriate recycling bins and 24 per cent want them to address the overall temperature of the building.

The space between desks, getting rid of single use items like plastic cups and turning off electrical items are all things workers have tried to implement with their superiors.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than two thirds of office workers say their whole working day can be ruined by a few bug bears, and nearly half admit they did feel really anxious about returning to their workplace.

The average worker, polled via OnePoll, admits they grumble up to quarter of an hour every day, about things like people speaking loudly, computers being slow, IT issues and the phone ringing constantly.

The spokesman for Essity added: “There are lots of small measures employers can take to make the workplace a better space for workers.

“Whether it is improving recycling practices, making the office feel more sanitary, or giving workers the surroundings they need to feel comfortable, small steps go a long way.”

Top 50 modern day office gripes 

1.            People speaking loudly

2.            People coughing and sneezing without putting their hands in front of their mouth

3.            People coming into work when ill

4.            Computers being slow

5.            IT issues

6.            Smelly toilets

7.            People who leave dirty dishes in the work sink

8.            People not washing their hands after using the loo

9.            Filthy toilet seats / bowls

10.          Computers crashing

11.          People not cleaning the microwave when their food spills

12.          People who get too close when talking to you

13.          People that wear their face mask under their nose, when asked to wear

14.          Printers breaking down

15.          Someone sucking up to the boss

16.          Someone cooking smelly food at lunch

17.          Someone calling in sick when you know they aren't ill

18.          Food left in the fridge which is past its use-by date

19.          The phone ringing constantly

20.          Someone who opens the window in the winter when it’s cold and the heating is on

21.          Freezing cold air conditioning

22.          Covid / vaccine conspiracy theorists

23.          People who think nothing of discarding paper towels all over the toilet floor

24.          Having to sit in small meeting rooms with lots of people

25.          Lights left on in rooms unnecessarily

26.          People leaving packets/rubbish on desks/in meeting rooms

27.          Lunch dishes left lying around on desks

28.          Hotdesking

29.          People who refuse to recycle

30.          People who open the windows without checking with people nearby

31.          Grubby fingers on shared keyboards/mouse if hot desking

32.          Not being able to wear comfy clothes

33.          People not putting a new toilet roll on the holder

34.          People who don’t sanitize regularly

35.          Empty milk cartons left in the fridge

36.          People leaving half eaten food in the fridge/kitchen

37.          People printing off huge documents and wasting paper

38.          Not being able to listen to music

39.          People ‘spreading out’ their desks onto yours

40.          The wrong things left in recycling bins

41.          Fighting over parking spaces

42.          No one ever saying thank you

43.          People who start a phone conversation without any pleasantries first

44.          People who sing or whistle without realising it

45.          No recycling bins

46.          People putting food in bins right next to your desk

47.          Someone who turns the air con on and then opens a window

48.          No air conditioning

49.          Someone stealing your favourite cup

50.          People who hang up the phone without saying goodbye