By Jonathan Dawes, Project Director at Peldon Rose

No matter where you work there are office gripes. We all try to ignore them and remain chirpy, but some habits are bound to grate more than others. So what are the top annoying office gripes and how many do you have in your office?

We have highlighted some of the most common office gripes they’ve come across, from noisy eaters to messy co-workers, and suggested a number of effective solutions to help create a better gripe-less working environment.

1. Eating habits

According to a UK poll surveying 2,500 office workers, 57% of employees are irritated by co-workers who are noisy when they eat. Usually this is done whilst sat they’re at their desk, dropping crumbs into their keyboard. But it’s more than noise and crumbs, over 25% of workers also claim that food odours distract them from getting on with their work.

Providing a fully-fitted kitchen with separate eating area could solve this problem for many businesses. Even if you think you don't have adequate space, you could reassess how people use your current office space and find space we can be freed up to provide a place where staff can make fresh, healthy lunches and eat away from their desk – chatting to colleagues and have a break.

2. Waiting for the fairies

Some workers believe in the cleaning fairies who magically appear and remove the collection of mugs on their desks or move the dirty items from the kitchen sink and place them in the dishwasher.

When the mugs or glasses run out in the kitchen or a new prospective client touring the building stumbles upon the leaning tower of dirty plates, you’re guaranteed someone in the office will have something to say about it! Making sure staff know what to do and providing two dishwashers is a good start for those who don’t have cleaning fairies…

3. I’ll just file this over here

Another common gripe amongst office workers is badly organised filing. This can be both on electronic servers but also in the office space which encourages untidy colleagues to file (dump) key files and items because no-one knows where things should go. People waste their time trying to find things and companies notice a drop in productivity.

Simply re-thinking office storage solutions can make a significant difference to the organisation or layout of an office, pre-empting and avoiding the build-up of mess and wasted time.

4. Shower room etiquette

Many companies are now embracing the healthy living mantra as employee wellbeing is taking centre stage in office design. To encourage their staff, bike racks and shower rooms are now commonplace in many offices, and running clubs, spinning clubs and even Yoga sessions are part of the weekly office schedule.

With so many staff embracing a healthy lifestyle, complaints of not enough facilities or messy shower rooms are sure to follow. 20 minutes in the shower or scattering your wet or sweaty sports gear around will be sure to get colleagues irritated and potentially put some people off being active themselves. Installing a drying room for sports gear is a great solution and it can even draw off the heat from your server room to save you money!

5. When is a hot desk not a hot desk?

Many companies are embracing agile working now to make the most efficient use of their costly office space. Staff who are transient or in meetings most of the day don’t need a permanent desk and can make do with a locker and hot desk.

So, when is a hot desk not a hot desk? Naturally we know what we like and like what we know. We are creatures of habit and like the familiar. The office worker who “always sits at that desk” is an enemy to the hot desk mantra. Slowly but surely they’ll leave out a few folders. Maybe leave their favourite mug there. Or if they want to really stake their claim to the hot desk, then the full suite of family photos in mismatching frames will appear as will a few hard drawn art projects stuck to the dividing screens. Implementing a company clear desk policies and etiquette on how to use hot desks is a good start to avoid this issue, as will lockers for people to put their files and possessions.

6. Not being able to work at work

Mobile working has become an indispensable part of our lives. We’re always on the go whether that’s in the office, on our commute or going to meetings. But some workplaces suffer from not providing the right tools or technology for their staff to enable them to work.

Poor Wi-Fi in the workplace scores highly as an irritant for staff, as does not having mobile technology, such as iPads and laptops. Having a range of working environments to go to also scores highly for staff who want to retreat away from their desk to work.

A workplace appraisal[/nirl] can assess your technology needs, now and in the future, including Wi-Fi capability. Ensuring that electrical and IT requirements meet the demand of your business is crucial for a successful working environment, and the sooner you address these needs, the sooner you can create a better workspace for employees. A well-conceived office design will also create a range of workspaces which staff can select from according to the type of work or meeting.

7. Meeting etiquette

Office colleagues who turn up late for meetings waste the time of others and often are oblivious to it. They rush in, jostle to settle themselves down and ask for a recap of what they’ve missed. Around 75% of employees become disgruntled when others are late for meetings.

A close second for meeting etiquette is overstaying your welcome. Like a Cuckoo in a nest, they’ve either not booked the meeting room in the first place or just decided to settle in for the long haul as their meeting overruns. Impatiently their colleagues peer through the window tapping their watches or awkwardly poke round in to the room and whisper “I have booked this room, are you going to be much longer?”

As part of a good office design, room booking systems are the way to go. Not only do they provide an electronic system which everyone can view from their desk, but the really swish ones will power up and down the meeting rooms for you.

8. The tea run

The decision of whose turn it is to make the tea can be tricky enough and some people will naturally avoid it. If you can speed the process up then even the most laid back person in the office might be inclined to step up for their turn.

One way to speed up the process is to have instant cold and boiling water taps to make drinks. You could also include fancy technology which allows people to order their drinks direct from their iPad or iPhone. You can thank the guys at [nurl=http://www.scanomat.com/int/topbrewer/features#technology]Scanomat for that one. Cheers 