Workplace Irritants and How to Become More Tolerant - Broke in London

Workplace Irritants and How to Become More Tolerant

What Are the Annoying Habits?

Guest Post by Sam Halmshaw

A minority of workers in the UK are fortunate enough to have jobs that provide an endless stream of joy and satisfaction, and where annoyance and frustration are completely absent. For the rest of us, things aren’t quite so blissful. Sometimes, it’s the nature of the job that’s to blame. Sometimes, it’s the people alongside whom we’re forced to work.

According to research commissioned by instantprint, a Rotherham-based printing company that produces leaflets, flyers and banners, around 7.9 million adults in the UK are willing to admit to being annoyed by the people they work with. As you might expect, having to work alongside an annoying person can have a tangible impact on productivity: around a third of workers claim to have been impacted in this way – but only three-fifths of us are willing to actually confront the person responsible.

Of course, if you’re reading this thinking ‘it’s a good thing that I don’t have to work with anyone like that’, then you might want to consider a more uncomfortable possibility: it might be you!

What Are the Annoying Habits?

So what habits did the study name? Let’s look at the top five. If you’re guilty of any of the following, then you might be the one causing stress for your co-workers.

Poor Personal Hygiene

Poor personal hygiene is something that few of us can stand. With that said, it’s impossible to smell your own bad breath, and there’s no polite way of telling someone that they smell bad. As such, people with poor personal hygiene probably aren’t aware of the issue.

Eating Smelly Food

This one’s a little bit less forgivable. As appetising as a microwave jalfrezi might be, the fact that it stinks out an office space for hours on end can be a significant source of irritation. The worst offenders here are smoked fish and spicy foods – though there are others, too.

Taking Frequent Smoking Breaks

Smoke indoors and you’re creating a problem of air pollution (to say nothing of the smell). Smoke outdoors, and you’re going to be taking frequent breaks over the course of a shift, which can add up to serious resentment.


Even the most gifted whistler can be a source of irritation when you’re trying to focus on a serious task. Maintaining silence is often the safest option.


Unfairness is something that we’re all attuned to. Turn up late to every shift when every other worker turns up on time, and you’re almost guaranteed to ruffle feathers.

Tips on Becoming More Tolerant

If you can’t bring yourself to confront an annoying colleague, then you might employ a coping strategy. You might learn to value the contributions that your co-workers make, in spite of their annoying quirks. You might take a look at yourself and ask whether you have any annoying habits that might travel in the other direction. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to make yourself more aware of your own thoughts and feelings, including your own annoyance – it’s growing increasingly popular in modern office spaces.