40% of Brits are not looking forward to sharing their space with ‘annoying’ colleagues on the return to office working

Co-workers habits and hygiene an issue for nearly a quarter of workers

Office temperature wars set to return to offices up and down the country

A study into workers’ attitudes around homeworking has revealed that ‘annoying colleagues’ are the main reason for people not wanting to return to the office. Some 40% of UK workers surveyed by manufacturing firm Airdri, suppliers of leading air sanitisation system SteraSpace, said irritating behaviour of their fellow employees was the thing they most dread about working in an office environment.

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Temperature (too hot or too cold) came a close second, with 35% of the vote, suggesting that age-old divisions around where to set the office thermostat will resume when we get back to work.

Nearly a quarter (23%), cited their colleagues’ bad habits – such as chatting, clicking their fingers, humming/singing and whistling – as an issue. While a further 20% said that the poor hygiene of the people sharing their workspace was their main cause for concern. One in ten people found their teammates’ lunch offensive.

The study which was undertaken to find out the main stumbling blocks to getting the nation back into empty offices and city centres, also found Covid-19 to be a concern for over a quarter of respondents (26%), despite the excellent progress of the vaccination programme in the UK.

“A third of the people we surveyed haven’t been back to their office since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, so it’s a big culture shift as companies do tentatively welcome their employees back,” said Steve Whittall, group director of R&D and operations at Airdri.

“As a nation we have gotten used to homeworking over the past two years, and sharing a space with others it seems, is weighing on our minds as we tentatively ease our way out of lockdowns and back to normality. Where most have been enjoying being sociable in pubs, restaurants and seeing family, mixing with others in the workplace does not seem to hold quite the same appeal.”

Airdri has seen a huge increase in enquiries for its air sanitisation units as employers look to reassure workers of the safety of the workplace.

Steve ended: “Annoying colleagues are unfortunately something we won’t have any control over, but where we can reassure both bosses and their employees is through controlling the spread of germs and illness. Our SteraSpace units can eliminate up to 98% of micro-organisms in the air and on surfaces and can be easily installed into any office. And if like some of the people we surveyed you are dreading the smell of your teammate’s lunch, SteraSpace can also rid the office of foul odours too.”

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