Sometimes, that closeness breeds contempt, especially in cases where a colleague has annoying habits or seems totally oblivious to everyone else around them. (We see you, loud eaters and passive-aggressive email senders.)
Lynn Taylor, an etiquette expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior & Thrive in Your Job, says the most irritating behavior tends to fall into two categories: behavioral and discourteous.
Bad behavior includes gossiping, taking credit for work someone else did and micromanaging. Poorly behaved co-workers can zap productivity and morale in the office in very significant ways.
Discourteous offenders, meanwhile, have little to no etiquette skills.
“Think gum smackers, hummers, drawer slammers, pen clickers and those oblivious to hygiene or odorous foods they bring into the office,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, if you feel compelled to voice your complaints about your co-worker, you need to tread lightly.
“Set up a lunch or find a neutral environment to have a friendly chat,” Taylor said. “Start on a positive note and explain that you enjoy working with them. Then, tell them what set you back or bothered you about their behavior. Say that you both have more to gain by working together harmoniously. End on a positive, upbeat note.”
Now that you know how to handle annoying co-workers, you may be curious to know if the stuff that bothers you bothers others. Below, our readers share the most irksome habits and behaviors they’ve witnessed in their offices. (Here’s hoping the co-workers they’re talking about read this.)
1. “Chewing with their mouth open and smacking loudly.” ― Sara F.
2. “Micromanaging and they’re not even the manager!” ― Mando R.
3. “Ugh, my co-worker likes to trim his nails at his desk. I have a rage fit at every little ‘clip clip.’” ― Becky G.
4. “My office has six desks in one room. This one guy clipped his nails at his desk, constantly took personal phone calls and always had a super loud fan blowing the already cold air at everyone else. He didn’t last very long.” ― Hannah M.
5. “Talking nonstop before I’ve even had a chance to take a sip of coffee or sit down.” ― Alexis S.
6. “Taking off their shoes, or otherwise having no self awareness or personal hygiene.” ― Laura O.
7. “Using their desk as a personal kitchen and leaving dirty dishes out for weeks.” ― Beth W.
8. “Whistling. Or telling stories of friends and family I do not know and have never met as though I am supposed to know them.” ― Ariella W.
9. “Aggressively jumping to get the plum assignments, even when there’s someone interested who’d be better suited to the job. Then, they don’t do the work required properly or completely, leaving co-workers, or the supervisor, to pick up the slack.” ― Barbara N.
10. “Tattletales. It’s the same as kindergarten.” ― Rachel D.
11. “Laziness that makes the rest of us in the department or team look bad. I used to be a security guard, and some of them would sleep.” ― Christina A.
12. “Coming into the office exactly when their shift begins, not even a minute early, and then leaving before their shift is over and complaining the whole time.” ― Nyssa R.
13. “Clearing their throat.” ― Natasha O.
14. “Walking heavy where it sounds like a heard of cattle stampeding through the office and it’s even carpeted.” ― Rhonda K.