Home > Leadership > People Skills > The 8 Most Disgusting Co-Worker Habits

The 8 Most Disgusting Co-Worker Habits

By: Annie Button


Disgusting Coworker Habits

Let’s face it: each of us have our own disgusting habits that we probably don’t even realize infuriate the people around us. Whether it be picking our nose, cracking our knuckles or chewing our pen, our co-workers are best placed to pick up on whatever these habits might be; after all, they are the people who spend the most amount of time around us.

How people respond to these habits differs from person to person, with certain behaviors grossing colleagues out a lot more than others. Therefore, take this list with a pinch of salt as we go through and rate some of the most commonly reported disgusting co-worker habits.

Biting or chewing nails.

OK, most of us are guilty of doing this but some of us do it a lot more than others. Whether you bite or chew your nails, the noise you make can be one of the most irritating things to hear in an otherwise silent office space. It just goes right through you.

Plus, if you’re biting your nails at work, no matter what you tell yourself, those little pieces of nail never fully go in the bin. They go all over the floor or onto your desk, getting trapped in your keyboard—which is one of the top five most germ ridden objects in the office!

Disgusting Rating: 7/10.

Cover your mouth!

When we cough or sneeze, it can be difficult to control our own actions. Often, it comes out of the blue, and doesn’t give us enough time to respond any less elegantly than blurting out an ugly splutter.

Fortunately, most of us normal human beings know to cover our mouth when this happens, helping to prevent the spread of germs. However, others of us (you know who you are) don’t do the same, allowing the contents of their germ-filled coughs and sneeze to fill the air around us. Delightful, I know.

Disgusting Rating: 10/10.

Going barefoot.

To those colleagues who decide to slip their shoes off during the working day, exposing their bare feet underneath—please don’t. Nobody wants to see or smell your feet.

Plus, if anyone in your office or place of work suffers from podophobia, then what you’re doing is just plain mean. Get those shoes back on now.

Disgusting Rating: 5/10.

‘Forgetting’ to wash hands.

Right, hands up—who here goes to the toilet and ‘forgets’ to wash their hands?

If your hand is in the air right now, you’re gross. Washing your hands is one of, if not the, most effective way of preventing the spread of germs. When you choose not to wash them, your dirty hands touch all sorts of stuff around the workplace and make your colleagues susceptible to picking up your bugs and bacteria. That’s gross.

Disgusting Rating: 8/10.

Chewing pens.

OK, I have to admit I do this all the time, but even I know that it’s a bit disgusting.

It’s so easy when you stop to think about something to play around with your pen, place it in your mouth and chew on the end of it without even realizing what you’re doing. While it’s slightly better if it’s only ever your own germs, when you work in an office environment, it’s quite common to share your pens around with colleagues. Now, if a co-worker puts that same pen in their mouth, they are, in effect, sharing your germs. Gross.

Disgusting Rating: 7/10.

Stinking up the kitchen.

There’s nothing worse than getting all excited to have your lunch, only to walk into the kitchen to the smell of your co-worker’s stinky fish soup. Some smells can just be too overpowering, making you feel sick to your stomach and wanting to get out as soon as you can.

Pot noodles are another serial offender for this, stinking out the kitchen and putting you off your lunch. Some people don’t even seem to realize quite how smelly their lunch actually is, making it even more infuriating to put up with.

Disgusting Rating: 7/10.

Cracking knuckles.

I don’t know about you, but this one particularly does my head in. As the day goes on, the fluid between our finger joints fill with gas bubbles. When someone decides to ‘crack their knuckles’ these gas bubbles burst, resulting in the horribly loud popping sound you hear—a noise which goes straight through you.

While there is some debate surrounding whether doing this is harmful or beneficial, one thing is for sure: it is fairly disgusting and incredibly annoying to put up with.

Disgusting Rating: 6/10.

Desk spot popping.

Everyone picks up the odd zit and pimple every now and again; it’s inevitable. Most people, however, like to pop their spot at home in their bathroom, before anyone else gets to see it. On the other hand, some other people like to pop them whenever they find them on their face, including when they’re sat at their own desk. Yes, really.

Zits are filled with puss and gunk which, at the right angle, spurts out everywhere. Doing this at your desk, where the puss and germs can go all over your keyboard, monitor and drinks bottle, is truly disgusting and a horrible sight for your co-workers to have to see. If you need to pop your spot, do the decent thing and do it in the toilet.

Disgusting Rating: 9/10.

Final thoughts…

So there you have it—sneezing or coughing without covering your mouth is the most disgusting habit a co-worker can have. If you know somebody who does this, for the sake of you and your colleagues, please buy them a box of tissues. Hopefully they’ll take the hint.

In fact, make sure to sensitively tell co-workers of any disgusting habits they have. After all, you spend nearly a quarter of your life working so that is a very long time to put up with it for. Biting your tongue will only get you so far; let them know, but follow these useful tips to do so in a way that won’t offend them.


Published: August 1, 2019

Trending Articles

Stay up to date with
Avatar photo

Annie Button

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent English Literature graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications and specializes in business and career development. Follow @anniebutton1994 on Twitter.

Related Articles