A new report maps out the do’s and don’ts of office etiquette.
Adecco, a temporary staffing firm released a survey this week exposing the most common office pet peeves.
Researchers conducted over a thousand phone interviews to discover the most irritating office habits.
Study results found that nearly half of the survey respondents found it annoying when their co-workers clipped or bit their nails at work. Lori Hong said that she had to relocate her workspace to avoid a co-worker who clipped their toe nails.
“I don’t know what vitamins (he was) taking, but he would clip his nails like two or three times a week,” Hong recalled. “No one should be doing that at work,” she said.
Surprisingly, this is a common occurrence.
“It really elicits that gross factor because it is personal grooming,” said Jodi R.R. Smith, president of the etiquette training firm Mannersmith. “This is what I categorize as: Should take place in the bathroom, and preferably the bathroom at home.”
Smith often uses this example when training people on how to address the issue. She advised that it’s best to be direct with that particular co-worker.
She suggested using the follow approach: “I know that you probably have no idea, but when you clip your nails in the cubicle it totally grosses me out. I’m all for good grooming … but if you could do it in the ladies room or at home I’d really appreciate it.”
Smith was inspired to start her etiquette consulting firm in Boston after personally facing workplace issues like this and others. She said that she comes across other common annoyances such as people who floss their teeth at their desk and people who remove their shoes.
Smith isn’t the only one who hears barefoot complaints. The Adecco survey found that more than four in ten people were grossed out when their coworker removed their shoes. Respondents also found it offensive when a co-worker’s attire consisted of ripped jeans, flip-flops, strapless clothing or backless tops or dresses.
Smith warned that by taking off your shoes at the office or slyly clipping a hang nail or pesky cuticle without going to the bathroom can cost you your job.
“People think, ‘Oh I’m a good worker, it’s not that big a deal,’ but I’ve had managers over and over again tell me, ‘Oh, Jodi, when we have to do another reduction I know who’s first on my list,’” Smith said. “These soft social skills really make a difference.”
Adecco’s Tim Gates said that he’s experienced a variety of faux paux’s during his 17 years’ experience of temporary placements. He said that he’s watched people put on deodorant at their desk and even came cross people wearing T-shirts to work with inappropriate logos and slogans.
Gates believes that a conversation about the matter and a little common sense can help resolve the problems.
“Some things should be done at home and some things should be done at work,” he said. “Maybe keep those things separate.”