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Survey: 23 percent of workers bothered by loud talking, speakerphone

Many workers are bothered by the habits of their co-workers in the office, according to a recent survey.  

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Christopher Robbins, ThinkStock

The survey by Accountemps, a staffing firm, revealed that using a speakerphone or talking loudly on the phone was the number one thing that annoyed workers. In fact, 36 percent of respondents said this behavior bothered them most.

Business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, author of the book “The Essentials of Business Etiquette,” said when someone uses their speakerphone, it means everyone else can hear all the details. “They don’t need to hear that conversation, and also, if they’re working on something else, it can be very distracting.”

Twenty-three percent of survey respondents found it annoying when a co-worker talked or loitered around their desk.

“Many times they don’t even realize that their conversation is carrying over to the other person, so the person being distracted by the conversation needs to be polite and say something,” Pachter said.

Food with strong odors also topped the list, with 15 percent of responders who found smelly foods eaten by their co-workers annoying.

In some cases, workers don’t just complain about bad odors from foods.  “People complain that other people have body odor or bad breath, and that they can smell that also. Body odor can drive people crazy, clicking a pen or chewing gum can drive people crazy,” Pachter said.

Wearing sexy clothing can also be a breach of etiquette. “Do you really need to sit there in a tight muscle shirt or show a lot of cleavage,” Pachter said. “It can be incredibly distracting to people.”

The survey also found keeping a messy workplace had a negative effect on co-workers. “It may look chaotic, and oftentimes people don’t like to work in chaos,” Pachter said.

When it comes to the work environment, according to Pachter, workers never want what they do or how they present themselves to have a negative impact on other people.





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