Annoying habits of office coworkers

One of the best things about working in the typical Japanese open-plan office is that you witness many weird and wonderful habits and tics of your coworkers; this survey from goo Research looked at which coworker habit bothers people the most.

The guy across the aisle from me is a fascinating collection of habits, who I have nicknamed Mr Gumby, not least because one hot day last month he decided to roll up his trouser legs in the office, and his voice is a slightly less shouty version of Mr Gumby. How he drinks the last drops from his vacuum flask by tilting it fully vertically, then refills it by very deliberately shaking his plastic bottle of green tea just bothers me far more than it should.

shaking leg


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Office annoyances that you just can’t talk about

Tonight’s goo Ranking is a look at what words or actions by other people in the office annoy the Japanese.

Demographics

The survey was conducted during the 31st of October and the 1st of November 2013, and 1,060 people completed a private web-based questionnaire. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

In the office, I do number 4, the first 6, 19, and the second 20. What annoys me but I cannot say anything about is frequent snorting back in of a runny nose, and people clipping nails; it’s both the sound of metal against metal and the clip noise that sets my teeth on edge.
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Office software at work

Is your paid software online or packaged? graph of japanese statisticsAs a sort-of follow-up to last month’s look at office software at home, we now look with goo Research at office software at work, as reported on by japan.internet.com.

Demographics

Between the 16th and 19th of August 2011 1,084 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.5% of the sample were male, 16.4% in their teens, 18.3% in their twenties, 21.6% in their thirties, 16.1% in their forties, 15.5% in their fifties, and 12.2% aged sixty or older.

We’re all Microsoft Office at work, and as it’s only Office 2003 and as more and more people are now moving to 2007 or 2010, it’s getting worse and worse with forward compatibility, and indeed just last week I had a file that would crash Word if I double-clicked it on the file, but if I loaded it up from the File Open diaglog all the text would be completely invisible.
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Free office software more popular than paid in Japanese homes

Do you use free or paid office software? graph of japanese statisticsAn interesting survey from goo Research, reported on by japan.internet.com, into office software on home computers found that free suites are more popular.

Demographics

Between the 9th and 14th of August 2011 1,065 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.9% of the sample were male, 16.3% in their teens, 18.2% in their twenties, 21.5% in their thirties, 16.4% in their forties, 15.7% in their fifties, and 11.8% aged sixty or older.

Note that I suspect that a number of people who got Microsoft Office or Works bundled with their system may have reported this as free software.

For myself, I occasionally use Open Office (Libre Office). I mostly use their Excel clone from that suite.
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What Japanese would do when alone in the office

Here’s a fun survey from goo Ranking, looking at what people would want to do if alone in the office.

Demographics

Between the 23rd and 26th of March 2011 1,070 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-base questionnaire. 53.4% of the sample were female, 10.2% in their teens, 13.1% in their twenties, 24.7% in their thirties, 23.7% in their forties, 13.3% in their fifties, and 15.0% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

The UK Trades Union Congress once published a warning about not photocopying your bum.

Here’s someone mucking about with a photocopier and his face:

Messing with my Boss
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Twenty features of annoying Japanese senior office workers

Tonight’s little bit of fun is from goo Ranking, looking at what kinds of behaviour are usually associated with annoying senior staff in Japanese companies.

Demographics

Over the 21st and 22nd of October 2010 1,075 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 66.3% of the sample were female, 9.9% in their teens, 18.1% in their twenties, 30.9% in their thirties, 24.7% in their forties, 8.8% in their fifties, and 7.5% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

If he’s reading my blog, my direct boss does none of these. If he’s not, he does at least 1, 5, 9 and 11.
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Yearned-for romantic scenes in the Japanese office

Here’s some fun from goo Ranking, looking at what office romance situations people long to find themselves in, for both men and women.

Demographics

Over the 21st and 22nd of September 2010 1,072 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 68.2% of the sample were female, 10.4% in their teens, 18.0% in their twenties, 29.8% in their thirties, 26.2% in their forties, 8.7% in their fifties, and 7.0% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

This is the most romantic office photo I could find on flickr, from Gregg O’Connell:

Mullet Boy Goes for the Kiss!

No-one mentioned a quickie in the office stationery cupboard, the archetype of relationships in the British office at least. I remember when I started working first I always kept one out for any comings and goings from the stationery cupboard – I was so young and naive then; now I’m older but not really much the wiser.
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Getting the hots for the new girl in the office

A timely survey this is, with a new female graduate joining our team at work from tomorrow. The survey is from goo Ranking, looking at twenty moments when the junior staff of the female persuation give you the hots for them.

Demographics

Between the 23rd and 26th of April 2010 1,187 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-base questionnaire. 61.4% of the sample were female, 10.1% in their teens, 17.4% in their twenties, 30.9% in their thirties, 24.9% in their forties, 10.1% in their fifties, and 6.5% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample. Only the men in the sample answered this question.

Despite the enticing title of the survey, this is a particularly tame set of results from goo Ranking, especially as there are two types of answers mixed up – the woman leading the man on and the man getting excited by her actions. Number 6 in particular is rather creepy.
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What Japanese would love to tell their co-workers

I just spotted this quickie survey today and it suited my mood, so following up on a survey a few weeks ago on bad habits of spouses, here’s a look at bad habits in the office, courtesy of goo Ranking. The fieldwork for this survey was conducted between the 25th and 27th of September 2007.

My top three pet hates would be sniffing and slurping (both acceptable Japanese habits) followed by just too much chat, but since most of them are going to be in the office for 12 hours per day or so, idle chit-chat shouted across the desks helps pass the time, but still it GETS ME VERY IRRITATED!

A purely hypothetical situation, of course, but if the rest of your colleagues are sitting and standing around talking in loud voices and laughing, is writing blog posts no worse than taking part in the conversation yourself?

By the way, does anyone know about any experiments with cubicles or even private offices to see how they affect Japanese productivity? However, without changing the underlying culture, I can only see separate spaces being counterproductive.
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Japanese engineers overwhelmingly use Microsoft Office, most two versions behind

Which office suite do you mainly use at your place of work? graph of japanese statisticsIf one hangs out at places like slashdot for too long one gets the impression that almost all the software engineers usually use free office suites such as OpenOffice.org, and only resort to Microsoft Word and friends under threats of physical violence from pointy-haired bosses. However, that is the USA; what about Japan and the average engineer? To find out, japan.internet.com reported on a survey recently conducted by JR Tokai Express Research Inc into office suite software.

Demographics

On the 18th of August 2007 330 IT engineers involved in software development, system development and system management completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 96.4% of the sample was male, 1.2% in their twenties, 26.7% in their thirties, 59.1% in their forties, 12.7% in their fifties and 0.3% in their sixties. This sample seems to have a definite case of “metabo” (“metabolic syndrome”, or more simply a lot of fat around the middle!); JR Tokai Express does have a middle management bias, but only 1.2% in their twenties seems extremely low.

Back in May I translated another similar survey on office suite usage in the public and private sectors, where we saw 97.1% used Microsoft Office, a very similar figure to the one reported below when looking at just the IT engineering segment, a perhaps counter-intuitive result.
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