Squats in the Stairwell, Fish in the Fridge, And Toenail Clippings in the Cubicle!

Los Angeles, CA – (June 3, 2019) – Our bad habits and hygiene in the workplace are making life miserable for our colleagues and would even shock “The Office” folks at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company! A new national survey, just released this week, reveals it’s time to clean up our acts at work. And we’re talking about more than our messy desks.

This new national survey reveals our most annoying work habits include: talking too loudly on the phone, wearing too much perfume/cologne, microwaving smelly food (like fish), oversharing love life and health problems, messing with the office thermostat, leaving desks dirty and unorganized, placing germy cell phones on others’ desks, urinating on the toilet seat, performing morning routines at work (including flossing teeth, applying make-up, clipping toenails), and exercising in the office (squats, pushups, jump rope, yoga, and weightlifting) — often returning from those workouts smelling worse than the fish left in the office fridge.

The national survey of more than 500 employed men and women also reveals some of the most disturbing office behaviors. These behaviors include colleagues furiously fighting, quitting with no notice, hooking up with each other (or the boss), sleeping on the office floor and even urinating in a co-worker’s cubicle. Disgusting!

The survey, commissioned by Stratus Building Solutions, the nation’s leading green commercial cleaning and janitorial services franchise, shows bosses behave badly, too. One respondent shared a story of a manager who jumped on top of his desk, dancing and singing “Ding dong the witch is dead!” when a client’s annoying employee left.

I Won’t Do Your Dirty Work

Beyond hoping for better behavior from colleagues, office employees say cleanliness and organization are key to their stability and satisfaction.


  • More than 9 out of 10 people polled say their productivity is compromised by a dirty or disorganized office.

  • 1 out of 4 say they’ve thought about quitting (or actually quit) a job because the office was smelly and unclean.

  • More than half (51 percent) use a paper towel or handkerchief to open doors because they think the office is dirty.

  • More than half (51 percent) have seen bugs or rodents in the office and nearly a third (31 percent) have seen mold or mildew.

  • More than a third (39 percent) cite a clean and mindful environment as a top reason they took a job.


What/Who are the biggest office offenders, creating the most sickening stench?

  • A third (33 percent) complain of smelly colleagues who exercise in the office, or who come back from workouts smelling bad. These respondents also say they’re annoyed by co-workers who leave out gym clothes and sneakers because they smell (54 percent) and are unsanitary (42 percent).

  • No surprise here. Workers fume over office fridge fumes. More than half (54 percent) advocate a policy that bans nuking smelly foods and more than 9 out of 10 (93 percent) say food left in the fridge should be removed within a week.

  • Even products meant to improve the situation cause problems.  More than a third (37 percent) say they can’t stand the smell and/or are allergic to powerful office air fresheners or cleaning chemicals.

  • Plus, hygiene — or lack of it — is a big problem. More than half (61 percent) say they have co-workers who never wash their hands after using the bathroom. And sorry guys; the prize for the biggest office slob goes to men with 68 percent saying a guy — over a gal — is the grossest in the office!

The sad part is the big bosses and HR folks often don’t know — or are the last to know — about office grumblings regarding grossness.

  • While more than half say they’re willing to speak up about the office cesspool or even confront workplace slobs, almost a third (30 percent) keep their mouths shut and suffer in silence.

“This survey is proof that a clean and healthy office environment is critical for employee happiness and retention,” says Afshin Cangarlu, CEO of Stratus Building Solutions. “We pride ourselves on our thorough and proprietary processes to disinfect and sanitize office environments, while using safe and green cleaning products that keep allergies under control and help employees stay healthy. While we can’t control employee behavior, we can create a refreshing and sanitary workplace that encourages healthy habits, boosts moods, and enhances productivity.”



*Editor’s Note:

*Please cite Stratus Building Solutions as the source for this survey.

*This online survey of 503 men and women was conducted by a third party and commissioned by Stratus Building Solutions.

*Survey participants have no affiliation with Stratus Building Solutions.