App provides tips for tackling smelly colleagues

Struggling to work with a pongy pal at your agency? Fear not! Recruiter could have the solution for you.

As you may remember, earlier this week Recruiter reported on findings from bathroom supply store revealing that seven in 10 office workers report bad body odour as the biggest personal hygiene and appearance issue they notice in the workplace.

In response to this story, Recruiter has been alerted to an offering from UK tech firm Emoquo that provides a digital platform for employees seeking confidential advice on their smartphones or desktops to resolve sensitive issues at work including the most annoying habits of colleagues, with one the most popular subject areas being that of body odour.

Some of its top tips on this subject area include:

• Broach the subject of body odour carefully. No matter how well you know the person, be sensitive. Use: “There’s something I need to talk to you about and it’s a really sensitive issue.” 

• Prepare for, and consider how you will manage, your colleague’s possible reactions. 

• Always ask whether there’s a medical reason, especially when it’s a problem that’s only just started. When there is a medical reason, ask if there’s something the colleague can do. Have they been to their GP? Could they be referred to the organisation’s own occupational health department? The employee will be protected by employment legislation when this is the case. 

• When you’ve established there are no medical reasons for the body odour, sensitively discuss what options can be taken, such as more frequent bathing or understanding what foods cause the odour. 

• Be aware that some people with body odour, for whatever reason, may not have access to showers or baths at home.

• Provide support. When a lack of facilities is the problem, you could suggest that your colleague with body odour uses the organisation’s showers or health club facilities.

• Expect the person with body odour to be embarrassed and upset and possibly eager to leave the office. Let them do this.

So, in summary, show sensitivity and care when broaching this subject – and don’t create a stink about it.

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