Move over manspreaders: loud talking tops the list of pet hates for Australian commuters

08 Apr 2019

Eighty-six per cent of Australia’s commuters are bothered by behaviour exhibited by their fellow passengers, according to a recent survey from MYOB. Talking too loudly topped the list as the most annoying trait exhibited by commuters, as voted by 21% of respondents.

While taking up too much space on the seat – popularised as ‘manspreading’ - came in second with 15% of respondents rating it the worst commuter habit, women are more likely to be bothered by it (17%), compared to men (14%). Men find loud talking more irritating (23%), compared to women (19%).

With the findings suggesting people are over the commute, MYOB is calling for Australians to reassess their approach to when and where we work. According to MYOB’s Chief Employee Experience Officer, Helen Lea, one benefit of a flexible workplace is the opportunity to skip public transport and get into the right frame of mind for starting a day of work.

“At MYOB we’re implementing a complete ‘flexperience’ for our team,” said Ms Lea. “This goes far beyond cutting the commute, however it is one bugbear some employees can avoid by choosing to work from home or avoiding peak travel times.

“We’re asking our whole business to take on a flex mindset, including team members, managers and leaders. It’s quite a shift in the way we work individually and as a team, a more contemporary approach, with a greater reliance on trust.”

MYOB is increasing its flexible experience with, among other things, an additional five days of leave available annually, the equivalent of an extra week’s holiday.

The company also supports flexible options in terms of time, leave, place and ways of working that encourage everyone to take ownership of their work and perform at their best. These can be formal or informal arrangements, for any role and any reason.

For Scott Hagart, Graphic Designer at MYOB, flexibility means spending more time with his family.

“I live a long distance from the office and I am at the mercy of train disruptions or timetables changing, which can cause significant delays. Working from home saves me about three hours a day in travel and means I can contribute more meaningfully to family life by doing school drop offs and pickups,” he said.

“When I do catch the train, I find bad odours and loud talking to be the most irritating element by far.”

Top findings by state:

  • Residents in metro New South Wales are more likely to catch public transport than any other state, with only 10% of respondents reporting they don’t take public transport
  • Metro Queenslanders are more likely to be irritated by people taking up too much space on the seat than any other state (24%)
  • Residents of metro South Australia find people talking loudly more annoying than those in any other state (33%)
  • Metro Victorians have less tolerance for people playing loud music than residents of any other state (15%)
  •  Residents in metro Western Australia are more likely to be bothered by people eating smelly food than any other state (12%)

Thinking about when you catch public transport, whether for work or otherwise, which behaviour portrayed by your fellow public transport commuters bothers you most?

National findings


Talking loudly


Taking up too much space on the seat


Playing music too loudly


Eating smelly food


Falling asleep on your shoulder


Taking up space with their laptop to work


Nothing bothers me about public transport


Not applicable, I don't take public transport





For further comment or other information please contact:

Selina Ife, Media Relations Consultant, MYOB

M: 61 488 044 237 / E:


About MYOB

MYOB is a leading provider of online business management solutions. MYOB makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB operates across three core segments – Clients and Partners (business solutions to SMEs and Advisers); Enterprise Solutions (larger businesses) and Payment Solutions. We also provide ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. We are committed to ongoing innovation, particularly through our Connected Practice Strategy and through the development of the MYOB Platform. For more information visit or follow @MYOB on Twitter.