Pet peeves around the office

Annoying office habits
By Student Blog

9 July 2018

Working in an office can be great fun, but it can be a challenge getting on with everyone around you. Especially if they chew so loudly, you cannot hear yourself think... we take a look at some of the most irritating office behaviours.

Munching sounds, it is universally agreed, are the worst. While some people can block out or filter the noises going on around them, many more find this almost impossible, and cannot concentrate if someone nearby is eating, with apparent relish, what sounds like a large bag of gravel and boulders. The same goes for someone loudly talking on their phone for all to hear.

But what other annoying office habits are out there, and how can we combat them? See if you recognise any of the behaviours below.

Dirty desks and dish politics

So your office lets you bring your own food in? That's nice. They provided you with a microwave - perfect for that leftover piece of mackerel from last night's dinner. Not to mention crumbs in keyboards, countless concentric coffee rings on your desk growing alien life in their interiors, abandoned plastic tubs or bowls and dishes in the sink... these are all the things that make your colleagues annoyed and the idea of hot-desking distinctly unappealing.

Didn't bring your own lunch? Then why not steal someone else's? It's eternally surprising that grown adults indulge in snaffling colleagues' food.

These are all the things that make your colleagues annoyed and the idea of hot-desking distinctly unappealing.

The simple lessons here are to think about eating pungent foods outside of work, clear up after yourself and even if you are tempted by the delicious offering your colleague has brought with them, to let that positive inner-voice convince you to leave it well alone!

Meetings about meetings about meetings

While communication is arguably the most essential office skill, nearly everybody will at some point find themselves struggling to keep their eyes open after the third meeting of the day drags into its fourth hour.

If meetings are not run with ruthless efficiency and do not produce actionable plans, then they tend to spiral into gossip, over-analysis and the reeking swamp of bad office politics. And it's best not to continually text or surf during a meeting even if you do start to flag in interest - it comes off as rude for the meeting organiser.

Think before sending and keep communications to core essential staff.

The virtual meeting can be just as bad - being copied into irrelevant email chains or sent communications flagged as high urgency that clearly have no real urgency. Let's not forgot the read receipts activated for all those urgent occasions. Think before sending and keep communications to core essential staff. You can always have a follow-up meeting with the others!

Over-sharing and interruptions

Technically these are two separate annoying habits, but we'll address them together.

The over-sharer is convinced that their life, and attendant personal dramas, are as fascinating as a bestseller plot. By all means - make friends - but keep some information back. This includes the humble-brag about a promotion, a project or previous work - colleagues will rightfully congratulate you the first time they hear about it, but repeatedly mentioning it is likely to rub people the wrong way.

'Piggybacking' on to other people's comments to clarify, correct, question, rephrase or even position it as your own comment rides high on the list of office annoyances.

The interrupter, meanwhile, will wade thoughtlessly into any debate or discussion, whether they are a part of it or not, to contribute their tuppence-worth. These are probably the same people who do not disable the keyboard sounds, text alert noises or 'novelty' ringtones on their mobiles. 'Piggybacking' on to other people's comments to clarify, correct, question, rephrase or even position it as your own comment rides high on the list of office annoyances.

And the rest

Other annoying habits include:

  • continually showing up five minutes late;
  • calling in sick every few weeks when you're not, or conversely, going into work when you're clearly under the weather;
  • not getting the tea or coffee in when it's your turn;
  • always talking about how busy you are;
  • the office temperature war;
  • whistling, humming or singing;
  • and leaving those passive aggressive post-it notes everywhere.

Sources:

Topics

  • CA Student blog

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