Bad smells a source for office stress
Noise from talkative co-workers also proved to be a thorny issue.
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LONDON, England -- Smelly offices are making working life unpleasant and sending stress levels soaring for many people in Britain, according to new research.
As temperatures rise in the Northern Hemisphere summer, overheated and stuffy offices are increasingly irritating employees.
Respondents objected to co-worker body and foot odour, especially people who remove their shoes at work and others who sweat from cycling into the office.
The survey by UK employment agency, Connections, included the views of 500 British workers on what irritates them in the office -- 34 percent cited their physical environment.
"With temperatures rising, it is more important than ever that employers ensure a clean, healthy office environment," said Michelle Kingsley from Connections.
"A stifling office makes for irritated employees and severely affects output."
Soaring temperatures are not the only problem, 23 percent said that dysfunctional equipment, such as slow computers, faulty printers and temperamental e-mail systems sent their stress levels rising -- especially when preparing important documents.
Toilets were another cause for complaint, with 13 percent condemning them as smelly and dirty, while six percent were shocked that their co-workers neglected to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Lunchtime habits also upset some office workers, nine percent objected to smelly lunches, especially egg or tuna sandwiches brought in by co-workers.
Noise from talkative co-workers also proved to be a thorny issue for eight percent of those interviewed. They described background chatting and joking as an unwanted distraction, especially when a deadline was imminent.
Other office problems did not escape the survey -- filing fingernails, leaving the milk out, cutting hair at the desk, not reclaiming festering food from the fridge, leaving dirty mugs on desks and stealing other people's pens were also cited as annoying habits in the workplace.
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