Are you a desk buddy or a neighbour from hell?

Office life is stressful enough without the annoyances of your colleagues’ quirky habits

OFFICE workers spend a whopping 1332 hours a year sat at their desks and the strain with their desk neighbours is beginning to show.

Research from Office Angels, the UK’s leading secretarial and recruitment consultancy, reveals that four out of ten UK office workers (38%) admit they sit by a colleague who ‘gets on their wick’, with one third (32%) admitting they’ve moaned to a peer about a fellow worker, one in seven (14%) having confronted the perpetrator and six percent have even asked to move desks.

In the age of open plan offices, what desk buddy (or neighbour from hell!) group do your colleagues fall into? Of the 1000 office workers surveyed:

  • Almost half the UK PLC (41%) wish they could drown out the tones of their very own Janice Battersby from Coronation Street – the neighbour who says everything that pops into her head, all the time.
  • Over a third (36%) put up with constant complaining from the likes of Ian Beale from Eastenders.
  • One fifth (21%) of the UK PLC know a nosey Dot Cotton from Eastenders – the colleague who reads emails over their shoulder.
  • One in eight (13%) have a light-fingered Jackie McQueen from Hollyoaks in the office who always steals their stapler.
  • A very unlucky eight percent sit near an unsavory Zak Dingle from Emmerdale – who never showers after his lunchtime workout.
  • On a positive note, nearly half (47%) of UK office workers have a supportive Ken Barlow from Coronation Street to provide them with support during stressful times at work and at home.
  • Over a third (36%) have become good friends outside of work with a nice desk-neighbour like Tanya Branning and Jane Beale from Eastenders.

The Office Angels survey also identified other top annoyances which get the blood boiling:

  • Dealing with personal affairs in the office with no care for discretion (33%).
  • Talking loudly on the phone (33%).
  • Noisy eaters (27%).
  • Sucking up to bosses (26%).
  • Messy desks encroaching on your space (20%).
  • Constantly pulling immature pranks (12%).

And on the positive side:

  • Almost a third (30%) feel they learn new skills about their industry from sitting with neighbours that inspire them.
  • Four in 10 (38%) actually look forward to hearing their pod buddies’ news when they come into the office.

David Clubb, Managing Director of Office Angels comments: “Whilst the majority of office workers have a happy working environment, it’s inevitable that occasionally desk-neighbours will get on your nerves, after all you spend a large part of your day in close proximity to them. If a colleague has gone a step too far, don’t be afraid to confront the problem and talk to them, but ensure you do so in a calm and professional manner, after you’ve taken a few deep breaths!

“It’s best to nip a problem in the bud rather than let it escalate. However, as the results show, it is no surprise that there are plenty of workers who have good working relationships with colleagues, and it is a known fact that many people meet their partners or closest friends in the workplace.”