Shut your mouth! Noisy eaters are costing the nation's economy

Lynsey Barber
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US President Barack Obama eats a 'median
Could better table manners improve productivity? (Source: Getty)

Time is money, as they say, and it turns out office annoyances are costing us hours of wasted time... won't someone think of the lost productivity?

To put a number on it, research by Samsung suggests 5.5 hours of our working week go on griping, such as complaining over crashing computers and even colleagues who eat too loudly.

Where are we wasting time?

Technology = 27 minutes per day

Colleagues = 22 minutes per day

Workplace problems = 19 minutes per day

The biggest tech gripes were found to be computers crashing and slow Internet (92 per cent). And while lack of access to emails might be considered a welcome relief for some, it was the next biggest tech issue while at work, according to the Censuswide poll of small businesses.

When it comes to our co-workers, it's in fact other people moaning which causes the biggest distraction (there's must be some sort of vicious circle here), while loud or messy eating is also a big bugbear (83 per cent) along with, ahem, being interrupted while talking (80 per cent).

And in general workplace unhappiness, it's Goldilocks syndrome – being too hot or too cold – that leaves us frowning, along with uncomfortable seats and a messy office.

Read more: Working in this type of office could make you less sleepy

“Workplace annoyances might seem insignificant in isolation, but – combined – they add up to a lot of lost working time. This is a big issue for the UK as it currently sits 7th in the G7 and 17th in the G20 on productivity per person, showing that these distractions could be causing a big impact," said professor Sir Cary Cooper of the University of Manchester.

"With increased competition and rising costs, small businesses must address these sooner, rather than later to avoid missing out on valuable office hours and losing team members.”

Apparently, nearly a third of people have left a job because of being irritated by colleagues (time to work on that office etiquette), while 10 per cent have moved on because of the terrible tech. Time to invest... says Samsung.

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