Are you guilty of the top three most annoying workplace habits?

According to a recent survey, the top three most annoying things work colleagues do are, moaning, taking smoking breaks and using buzzwords like ‘touch base’.

Moaning about work is officially the UK’s most annoying workplace habits, closely followed by taking smoking breaks and using irritating workplace buzzwords like ‘touch base.’

In a survey of 2,000 people, Flavour Boss finds the most annoying habits work colleagues do are:

Moaning (31 per cent)
Taking smoking breaks (19 per cent)
Using buzzwords like ‘touch base’ (16.5 per cent)

Other answers to the survey included typing too loud, farting, body odour, going on Facebook, and one disgruntled person said, ‘just breathing’.

From the age of 18 until the time we’re 68 we spend approximately 35 per cent of our waking hours at work. So if you’re sat next to a Negative Nancy or a Smoke-break Steve, what could your company be doing to stop you tearing your hair out?

Flavour Boss operations director, Graham McKenzie, comments, ‘The biggest gripe for a fifth of the workforce is their colleagues’ smoking breaks. This makes it not just dangerous to the smoker, but also toxic to the workplace, causing bitterness among colleagues and managers.

‘Businesses that encourage smokers to quit and start vaping will not only be benefiting smokers’ health and lifestyle but also decreasing resentment and improving the teamwork culture in the office.’

Is smoking e-cigs at work legal?

The government’s stance on vaping in the workplace is clear:

‘E-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes and have the potential to help drive down smoking rates, denormalise smoking and improve public health.

‘The health of bystanders from second-hand e-cigarette vapour is extremely low and insufficient to justify prohibiting e-cigarettes.’

What about moaning? Is it ever a good thing?

Some believe moaning at work has its advantages, letting off steam and building camaraderie among staff as HR director Gary Cookson explains:

The benefits of having a whinge:

‘From a cultural perspective, it’s got to be a good thing that people feel able to moan in the workplace and say that they’re unhappy. A culture where communications are open, honest and transparent will help a company to grow. It’s also positive from an engagement perspective, as even though those people are moaning, they clearly care enough to actually have a moan – it would be worse if they just stayed silent and were apathetic about things.’

When moaning gets too much:

‘But if they present their moans in the wrong way it can create a great deal of resentment, both within their peer groups and from management. It can be a sign of a toxic culture in that there is more moaning than actual performing. And the vocal nature of some moaners can be a smokescreen to detract from their own poor performance and lack of ownership of said performance.

‘There isn’t a tipping point in terms of when moaning gets too much. It’s not a quantity thing, more a quality thing. It’s what the moans are about and how they’re presented. Are they in line with company values and behaviours, and are they intended to generate discussion and improvement? If so, great. If not, it’s a problem.’

Further reading on workplace habits

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Workplace Culture