As coronavirus restrictions continue to ease – to the point where the requirement to self-isolate after a positive test could be scrapped early we are slowly but surely returning to a more normal way of life. It’s a welcome development after two years of turmoil, but not every aspect of pre-pandemic existence is quite so appealing.

Many businesses are now operating under hybrid working policies, which allow employees to work in the office, from home or a combination of the two, as befits their individual circumstances. Many will relish the chance to return to the office environment, even if it is only for one or two days a week.

It offers greater structure, fewer distractions and of course the chance to catch up with colleagues in person. But it’s not all positive. There are some parts of office life that we don’t enjoy, and online printing experts instantprint have polled 1,000 people to help identify the habits that we really hate to see in our co-workers.

What are the worst office habits?

Of those surveyed, 45% replied that they were now more aware of off-putting habits in the wake of the pandemic. With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that what they found most disgusting was anyone not washing their hands after coming back from the toilet, with 42.9% putting this at the top of their list of bug-bears.

And number two was also germ-related, with 37.4% of workers being distressed by those coming into work with a cough or a cold. Greeting with a kiss (32.9%), hugging (27.8%) or keeping an unwashed gym kit in the office (26.5%) rounded out the worst five habits, according to the survey.

Who is more repulsive, men or women?

The answer to this really depends on the habit in question. More women than men (45% vs 40.9%) wish to ban not washing your hands after a trip to the toilet. Meanwhile, slightly more men than women (38.5% vs. 36.2%) would like to prevent anyone with a cough or cold from coming into the office. The survey also found that 29.9% of men were dead against keeping sweaty gym gear in the workplace, quite considerably higher than women (22.9%).

How can we deal with bad habits at work?

There are a number of approaches you can take when faced with someone’s poor office etiquette. One is to speak to the person directly – not necessarily in a confrontational manner, but just to let them know how you feel and to kindly ask them to stop. Another option is to speak to your line manager and see if they would be happy to raise the issue on your behalf. What we don’t recommend is a passive aggressive note taped to the office door!