12 Most Annoying Workplace Habits – Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

12 Most Annoying Workplace Habits – Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Why can’t we all just get along – particularly in the workplace?

Well, because we’re human, and humans are, mostly, annoying. Smiles. Like the guy who sits in next cube and – you know – fiddles with his nose a bit too much. C’mon, no one has a cold 365 days a year, and no one’s allergies are that bad. But I digress from the mostly annoying to the overwhelmingly gross. Back to annoying.

We’ve all had workmates who are annoying, so I took a quick poll to come up with the 12 most annoying workplace habits. It got a bit graphic (see above), so this list has been edited a bit, lest we offend anyone. Such is the risk of cataloging truly annoying behavior. Worse case scenario – think about resigning. We have your back.

1. Loud talking

Maybe it’s the boss bellowing on the interoffice intercom. Maybe it’s the stage-whispered cell phone conversations with a recruiter. Maybe it’s the clown who stands outside your office and talks about his cats. For a long time. People who haven’t figured out what ‘inside voice’ means need to go back to kindergarten. Be kind and keep your voice down when you’re in the office. And trust me – no one really wants to listen in on your sotto-voce conversations. They’re too worried about their own lives.

2. Reheating last night’s salmon in the microwave

Smelly food is tough enough to tolerate in a shared space, but leftovers, especially when heated to 300 degrees C in the malfunctioning microwave, are incredibly annoying. Have a heart – save the stinky food for the cat in #1.

3. Whispering

There’s not much behavior that’s as subversive and damaging as whispering. Especially if it’s the boss talking to his or her pet employee. Act like an adult. If you have something to say, speak up (in an inside voice, of course.) Otherwise, hold that thought – or send an email.

4. Bare feet

I know I swore off hygiene issues, but bare feet are at times annoying (unless surfing). You’re at work, not in the family room. Put on your shoes. Preferably with socks, Preferably not white.

5. Saying ‘excuse me?’ in response to every comment or question

Some people have so much noise in their heads, or are so busy following along to the songbook of their own lives, that they incessantly say ‘excuse me?’ in response to the simplest comment or request. No, you are not excused. Pay attention. There will be no repetition of instructions.

6. Interrupting

This should really be in the number one slot. Interrupting is annoying on every level. It’s bad manners. What you have to say is not more important than what the other person has to say. It may be a struggle, you may have to write a list while others are speaking, but don’t interrupt – unless the office is on fire.

7. Complaining

Second only to interruption in the annals of annoying workplace behavior. Some people love to complain. Perhaps it makes them feel in control. Perhaps they’re just that dissatisfied. Maybe they think they know best. It doesn’t matter, really – if you need to complain incessantly, it’s time to find a new job. No Debbie Downers allowed.

8. Correcting people – no one likes a know-it-all

No one likes to be corrected, especially in front of the boss. If someone makes a mistake, find a subtle way to alert them. If you find yourself correcting people a lot, reconsider your behavior – you may be feeling sensitive or vulnerable. Or maybe you’re just an annoying soul. Don’t be that person.

9. Micromanaging

This one’s a strong contender for the number one slot. If you’re a manager of people or projects, don’t do this. Let your people learn, which means letting them figure stuff out, test assumptions, make mistakes and correct. If you’re so worried that you find yourself hounding people, take the task on yourself.

10. Chewing with your mouth open

Many workplaces think communal lunches build team spirit, but if you’re a mouth breather or loud chewer, reconsider attending until you get your manners under control.

11. Taking cell phone calls in meetings

Another strong contender for most annoying workplace behavior. You and your cell phone are not that important. Rent a clue and leave the phone on your desk. With the ringer off please.

12. Intruding on personal space

We know you need something. Really we do. But please don’t lurk. Send an email, call, leave a note. Just don’t intrude on my personal space. We all need a little space of our own to be happy, or at least productive, employees. Don’t intrude.

What behavior annoys you most in the workplace? You are safe here, really. Let’s have some fun.

Featured image courtesy of The Consumerist licensed via creative commons.

Meghan M. Biro

http://www.meghanmbiro.com/

Meghan M. Biro is a globally recognized leader in talent strategy and a pioneer in building the business case for brand humanization. Founder of TalentCulture and a serial entrepreneur, Meghan creates successful ventures by navigating the complexities of career and workplace branding. In her practice as a social recruiter and strategist, Meghan has placed hundreds of individuals with clients ranging from Fortune 500s to the most innovative software start-up companies in the world, including Google, Microsoft and emerging companies in the social technology and media marketplace. Meghan is an accomplished consultant who has helped hundreds of individuals in all levels in the organization (V,C level executives, mid-career, mid-level managers, software architects and recent college graduates) and across generations (Gen Y to baby boomers), develop effective career strategies that propel them to achieve personal and professional success. Meghan is a speaker, practitioner, author, blogger and mentor who is passionate about the subjects of leadership, recruiting, workplace culture, social community, branding, and social media in HR. She is Founder and co-host of two Twitter Chats: "#TChat, The World of Work", a long-standing weekly chat and radio show and #HRTechChat, both communities dedicated to addressing the business needs of the rapidly evolving people-technology landscape. Meghan is an avid social community builder who is inspired by connecting the people and talent dots. Meghan is a regular columnist at Forbes and Glassdoor and her ideas are often quoted, featured on top publications such as CBS Moneywatch, Monster, Dice and various other HR, Social Media and Leadership hubs of your choice.

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109 comments
merrymerry
merrymerry

chewing with mouth opem is really annoy me

Heids
Heids

You forgot gum snapping!!

JoshuaMonesson
JoshuaMonesson

thanks for the tips...the most irritating part is when we have to speak loud that is 2 awkward situation to handle

thefarmerslife
thefarmerslife

Complaining and micromanaging were my worst. I agree if you can't do anything but complain it might be time to seek employment elsewhere. I think some people aren't happy unless they are upset about something all the time.

Micromanaging stinks. Especially when you're the one being micromanaged. There were times when I didn't know what to do from one week to the next when a regional manager thought he was 10 store managers.

carstory
carstory

Great insights, I learn lots of good points here. Interrupting for me is the most annoying one during workplace, if someones interrupting something while you are busy make you more irritable! I hate it.

NileshShah
NileshShah

I really enjoyed reading this and completely agree with the odd points. I'm sailing in that boat now!

jcansell
jcansell

not a very good article.dislike.

westfallonline
westfallonline

Micromanagement is another word for mistrust. Good post!

swagclub
swagclub

@meghanmbiro I was gonna try to respond with all 12 of those infractions, but you seem so nice. So, you've got that going for you.

josehuitron
josehuitron

@meghanmbiro Are you serious? Is that even a question? LOL... I do have to admit however that I'm probably guilty of a few of those...

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@markvanbaale Had a feeling. My people radar is on....Unf, "they" are everywhere. We are in this one together. Peace ;-) for #Workplace

markvanbaale
markvanbaale

@meghanmbiro If you got to know me, you would find out I vent a lot on here about annoying ppl. Some do more than their share to annoy. ;)

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@markvanbaale Laughs! Sounds brilliant - Carry on Sir....Thanks again. Vents happen re annoying people.

CareerTips2Go
CareerTips2Go

Answering the cell phone in meetings is a big one. A client answered his cell and I overheard him client telling his boss that he was 'calling on a client' when he was actually meeting with me.

Here are two other bothersome ones that could be added:

**Opening someone else's mail, and

**Taking credit for someone else's work

iannarino
iannarino

@MeghanMBiro Number 7, Complaining, is so much more than annoying. It can completely undo a team. Negativity is the only cancer that spreads by contact, and the power to continually complain and chip away at the great attitudes of others should be stopped as soon as it is recognized. This stinks worse than the salmon.

tombolt
tombolt

Probably a combination of several of the top 12, but I've always wondered why people listen to voicemail on speakerphone when in an open-office environment. The only thing more annoying is to be on an hour-long conference call on speakerphone when nobody around is remotely interested or involved.

This topic could really take legs and go on forever! Common courtesy prevents these irritants from happening in the first place, but even the most polite people can be offenders and it is almost impolite to suggest that they stop the annoying habit.

sidebarreview
sidebarreview

Great list! I'd like to add more of the noisy sins: noseblowing (seriously!), crunching on nuts/chips/crackers, playing a radio or Pandora without headphones or using a speakerphone in a cubicle environment. These things make me crazy!

markvanbaale
markvanbaale

@cyndytrivella I guess I would be guilty of No. 4 then for today. We are allowed to wear sandals to work and I did. :)

CyndyTrivella
CyndyTrivella

Very funny comments and oh so true. I have to go with Mark on the "sniffers" or "snifflers" as I call them. The noise is so intrusive.

Also, if you pick anything off of your body, please don't leave it in my office.

Years ago I worked with someone who was constantly asking to borrow a pen, which she would return to me with bite marks and all wet with saliva. Really?

Feet. When I was in college I worked part-time in the shoe department for a large retailer... enough said.

SybilQSM
SybilQSM

Beyond going barefoot in the office, how about the cubicle guy who clips his toenails at work? Ugh!

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@westfallonline Yes indeed. Micromanagement does equal mistrust. It's a two-way street in the world of work and it's definitely earned daily. Great point Chris. Appreciate you sharing!

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@CareerTips2Go Agreed! Are people still doing this? I'm afraid so!

It's tricky when people do not realize you are sitting *in the same room* Wow - Some people. Smiles. I like your other bothersomes **s too. Making note of.

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@iannarino Hi there. Always enjoy hearing from you!

Yes - Thank you for sharing this wisdom tidbit. #7 complainers have no place in a forward moving workplace culture. Negativity truly does stink work than salmon - especially if it becomes a long-term issue. Leaders must step up and take action.

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@tombolt Tom! Thanks so much for stopping by. Nice feedback.

Really appreciate you bringing speakerphones into the equation. Very annoying indeed. Why not just bring a megaphone to the office? Really mix it up. Let's keep talking! Smiles.

OptioneerJM
OptioneerJM

@cyndytrivella Hi Cyndy ... we've both been busy I see, so we haven't connected in a while, UR still one of my best #FF

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@markvanbaale Hi Mark! #4 a good one. How are we weighing in today - Anyone annoying you yet? We hope not. Smiles. Feel free to vent.

sumnermusolf
sumnermusolf

@SybilQSM Yeah, this was going to be the one that I'm told by multiple people are their worst pet peeve. Throw in "fingernails," too. The sound of a nail clipper methodically clipping more than one nail is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard.

CareerTips2Go
CareerTips2Go

 <span id="user_0" class="namespace reply lf" uid="_u116757@livefyre.com" user_name="RachelMiller" screen_name="undefined" provider="lf" jid="_u116757@livefyre.com" ns="true"><span class="namespace-reply" ns="true">RachelMiller<label ns="true">.</label></span></span>  I know it happens, but I understand it's more common than we would would've thought.

OptioneerJM
OptioneerJM

@cyndytrivella absolutely am, thanks and U? biz'y with bizness? I see your tweets; just bookmarked to read 12 most later

MeghanMBiro
MeghanMBiro

@spofcher @danielnewmanUV Apparently this behavior in the workplace is not enough for you. We have issues w/ Mr "Nail Clipper" sitting in meetings now? Simply over the top ;-)

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