Survey Says: What Is the Most Annoying Office Behavior?

In a new survey, bosses open up about what employee habits drive them crazy.

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No shirt, no shoes, no service: Forty percent of business owners say they are bothered by Do your employees sometimes drive you crazy? It's OK to admit it, because a new survey shows you're certainly not alone. Want to land upscale baby boomers as customers? Online coupons will help. And how does the United States stack up when it comes to offering flexible work arrangements? Likely not as high (or low) as you might think. Here's a closer look at some of the latest small-business surveys.

Now, That's Annoying

Ever had an employee who just bugs you? (Yeah, me too.) A new survey from Manta asked entrepreneurs to "fess up about which employee habits drive them crazy." "Sloppy grooming" topped the list, cited by 40 percent of those who took the Manta SMB Nation Survey. Close behind was talking too much on the phone with family members (29 percent).

Bosses also cited messy work areas (9 percent) and employees who return from breaks reeking of cigarette smoke (8 percent -- that one gets my vote). Employees who feel shy about fundraising for their children's organizations shouldn't. Just 1 percent of business owners surveyed said in-office fundraising was annoying -- so, unless you're working for Scrooge, go ahead and solicit orders for Girl Scout Cookies. (Frankly, I'd be annoyed if my employees didn't do this!)

A Finn State of Affairs

Got some really annoying employees? Consider encouraging them to move to Finland -- not just because it will get them out of your hair, but because that nation has the highest percentage of companies offering flexible work arrangements, according to a global survey by accounting firm Grant Thornton International of more than 7,700 companies in 39 countries.

An astounding 92 percent of Finnish firms offer flextime. Sweden, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand and the Netherlands also ranked high on the list -- more than 80 percent of firms in these nations offer flexible work arrangements.

Countries where workers are least likely to find a flextime option? Japan (18 percent), Greece (26 percent) and Armenia (35 percent) took the (dis)honors here. Wondering where the United States came in? We do pretty well, at 79 percent. I hope your company is one of those 79 percent, since I've always found flextime to be one of the best ways to keep employees happy.

Savings Plan

If you haven't jumped on the online coupon bandwagon, you'd better hurry -- because although it's growing fast, the trend will peak soon. eMarketer reports that by the end of the year, nearly half of adult U.S. Internet users (88.2 million people) will have redeemed an online coupon or code either online or offline in the past 12 months.

By 2013, that number will reach 96.8 million adults. However, eMarketer says the growth rate of online coupon use will start gradually declining that year, because most of the consumers who are likely to use online coupons would have already adopted the practice.

While coupons from newspaper supplements may have a downmarket image (though I admit I clip a bunch every Sunday), online coupons are decidedly different. The majority of online coupon users, according to eMarketer, are affluent, well-educated and over 55 (and yes, I use these too -- notice a pattern here?).

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports.

Tags: Business Trends, coupons, employee benefits, flextime, HR, human resources, management, office behavior, online coupons, online deals, Rieva Lesonsky

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