Survey: This is the most annoying thing coworkers do at work — and it’s probably happened to you

While we know that nearly 100% of women really don’t like it when others talk about intimacy at work, the same research from Paychex also reveals the most annoying work habit of all: when colleagues often gossip in the same setting.

The survey was based on self-reported information in 2017, from 1,005 Americans between the ages of 18 and 76.

The worst things your coworkers can possibly do at work

When coworkers act like this, employees say they feel “the most discomfort.”

  • “Partaking in frequent gossiping:” 63.7%
  • “Dropping by your desk constantly throughout the day:” 60.9%
  • “Bringing pets to work:” 50.6%
  • “Breathing heavily (and loudly):” 50.1%
  • “Taking frequent smoke breaks:” 49.8%
  • “Bringing in strong-smelling food for lunch daily:” 49.7%
  • “Laughing or conversing loudly:” 48.1%
  • “Tapping feet or fingers repeatedly:” 46.7%
  • “Using social media for personal use the majority of the workday:” 40.6%
  • “Taking frequent snack breaks:” 38.4%
  • “Receiving audible notifications on their cell phone:” 34.5%

The research also shows that 55.1% of employees overall have had to ask a colleague “to stop distracting them.” Furthermore, the top three “distractions” that would cause someone to approach HR are: “bringing pets to work” (58.7%), “dropping by your desk constantly throughout the day” (52.9%), and “taking frequent smoke breaks” (50.8%).

But in terms discrimination against people of different races at work, “using racial stereotypes to gauge work quality” was found to be the most serious reason that HR would step in.

How different generations feel about work disturbances

Among people ages 18 to 24 who have asked a coworker to stop bugging them before, these are the three most common reasons why they would approach HR:

  • “Partaking in frequent gossiping:” 60.4%
  • “Bringing pets to work:” 53.3%
  • “Dropping by your desk constantly throughout the day:” 52.5%

Among people ages 65+ who have asked a coworker to stop irritating them in the past, these are the most common three reasons why they would go to HR:

  • “Dropping by your desk constantly throughout the day:” 81.9%
  • “Laughing or conversing loudly:” 72.8%
  • “Bringing pets to work:” 72.7%

Many of the same things tend to bother people at work.