The average employee spends the equivalent of two working weeks a year grumbling – with the top gripes about IT, air con and printers, a study has found.
Researchers say the typical employee will also find time to whine about unnecessary all-staff emails – and uncomfortable chairs.
Other problems which drive staff mad are the temperature of the office, commuting, people pulling sickies, and a phone call just as you’re about to leave.
Common gripes, which generally take up a total of 20 minutes of the working day, include the amount of junk mail received, being copied into emails that are of no concern and someone stealing a favourite mug.
In addition, irritable Brits can’t stand it when someone smells out the office with stinky food, or turns on the freezing cold air conditioning.
IT issues form a major part of the top 50 list of grumbles – as workers complain about computers which are too slow or crash, printers jamming or breaking down and a bad phone signal.
Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of international animal charity SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries, said: “It’s clear that there’s no shortage of annoyances in the workplace that raise people’s blood pressure on a daily basis.
”From pointless meetings to colleagues who use your favourite mug, these frustrations seem to be part and parcel of office life in Britain.
“It can be hard to keep a sense of perspective at times, but we should remember that most of these irritations are trivial and very minor compared to the tough working lives endured by working animals in developing countries around the world.
“These animals often doing back-breaking, dangerous work with little rest and no holidays or retirement at the end of it. That’s why they desperately need our support.”
The study shows getting a phone call when you’re just about to leave the office is THE biggest grumble.
Others are frustrated by colleagues who are difficult to work with or who suck up to the boss, and also those who take credit for work they didn’t do.
Unrealistic deadlines, ‘meetings about meetings’, office jargon and everyone ignoring a ringing phone can also make work life irritating.
Others moan about their insensitive boss, or those who choose to micro-manage everything.
Embarrassing team building exercises, having to engage in small talk and being asked to desk share are other common complaints.
Researchers also found two thirds of people are most likely to grumble to other colleagues; one in 20 will start moaning the minute they step foot in the office.
Another 15 per cent admitted they ‘whinge all day long’.
But most are unlikely to do anything about their work worries – with more than two thirds owning up to the fact they wouldn’t confront a colleague who was annoying them.
Another six in ten would never say anything about their ‘ridiculous workload’.
Office workers are most likely to make a noise about IT going wrong, with half of those polled complaining about the state of their computer or printer.
Seven in 10 admitted they often feel irritable at work, and 52 per cent say their whole working day can be ruined by just a few ‘bugbears’.
Other factors that affect how good a day is going to be include what the traffic is like on the way in (35 per cent), and how much work there is to do (43 per cent).
A further quarter say their day is affected by whether or not the boss is going to be in, while 27 per cent say how early they wake up can ruin the day ahead.
Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of SPANA, continues: “Without exception, everyone has to contend with problems – however minor – at some point in their careers.
”But many people in the UK aren’t aware about the hard conditions faced by working animals around the world.
“These animals play a vital role in supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest families.
”However, despite their importance, their welfare is often neglected. SPANA is working to ensure that working animals have access to veterinary care when they are sick or injured, as well as educating owners about how to best care for their animals.”
TOP 50 OFFICE GRUMBLES
- Getting a phone call when you’re literally about to leave the office
- Computers being slow
- IT issues
- The temperature being too low/high
- No air conditioning
- Computers crashing
- Printers jamming or breaking down
- Colleagues who are difficult to work with
- When someone uses your desk when you’re away and leaves it messy
- Freezing cold air conditioning
- Being in the office when the weather is lovely
- Having meetings about meetings
- People not replying to your emails
- When someone calls in sick when you know they aren’t ill
- Being copied into emails that are of no concern
- Colleagues who suck up to the boss
- Colleagues who talk too much
- People who loudly complain about how busy they are
- People not saying thank you when you’ve helped them out
- The commute
- Someone constantly arriving late to work
- The amount of junk mail received
- People who ignore a ringing phone
- Smelly food being eaten in the office
- The phone ringing constantly
- Someone taking credit for work you’ve done
- Having to sit in long and tedious meetings
- People speaking loudly
- Returning from holiday to hundreds of emails
- Office jargon (such as “touch base”)
- People who leave dirty dishes in the work sink
- Unnecessary all-staff emails
- Unrealistic deadlines
- People not cleaning the microwave when their food spills
- People who email out of normal working hours
- Not having enough annual leave
- An insensitive boss
- People not listening to you when you talk and then asking you the same question 10 minutes later
- People who inflict their mood swings on colleagues
- An uncomfortable chair
- Bosses who micromanage everything
- Bad phone signal
- The office gossip
- People who expect the cleaners to tidy up all their mess
- Someone stealing your favourite mug
- Having to desk share or ‘hot desk’
- Embarrassing teambuilding exercises
- Having to engage in small talk
- Colleagues who don’t shower regularly enough
- Someone leaving their chair out in the middle of the aisle
BY EMMA ELSWORTHY