If you spend most of your week in an office environment, you probably know that working closely with colleagues can be a productive, rewarding experience. You also know that their quirks, bad habits, and thoughtlessness can slowly drive you insane.
In the hopes that the offenders may acknowledge their behavior and take measures to be less irritating to their colleagues, here's a checklist of 10 highly annoying office behaviors. While these workplace transgressions are all too common, there is good news: they are easy to correct and will contribute substantially to a more pleasant atmosphere.
- Passive-aggressive feuding. This happens when a coworker has a problem, but instead of solving it through open communication, punishes you with a range of undermining tactics. This can include eye rolling, the silent treatment, or excluding you from lunch or happy hour. It's best to get the issue on the table and discuss it calmly, working together to find an agreeable solution.
- Being a kitchen slob. There are many offenses on the kitchen spectrum: leaving your dirty dishes in the sink, cooking something with an overpowering aroma, or creating the dreaded burnt popcorn smell that pervades the entire room. Then there's the ultimate kitchen offense: eating someone else's lunch out of the office refrigerator. Do unto others...
- Excessive chatting. There's always one person who, when asked a simple question, launches into a lengthy monologue about themselves or other topics completely unrelated to work. It's worse when they appear in your office doorway and you are held captive. These ramblers are notoriously immune to signs of discomfort or disinterest.
- Oversharing personal information. Discussing ailments, medical procedures, troubled marriages, and lousy exes should be done outside the office with close friends or possibly a therapist.
- Careless parking. Taking a spot that belongs to someone else, cramming an SUV into a compact space, or taking up more than one space are all guaranteed to make colleagues cringe. Speeding through the parking garage at the end of the day will surely not win you friends at the office.
- Noisy neighbors. It's difficult trying to focus when you are one cubicle over from someone who is snapping gum, tapping their long fingernails, slurping a drink, crunching on snacks, playing music, or having a loud phone conversations. Overusing the speakerphone is another annoying noise offense; unless other coworkers are participating in the call. Use your handset or get a hands-free headset for phone conversations rather than subjecting everyone else to your client call.
- Being too busy to attend office celebrations. Even if you are slammed with work, skipping the office birthday celebration is a bad idea. The message it sends is "I'm too busy for you people."
- Taking the last cup of coffee. Variations on this offense include using up all the printer paper and not refilling it, or leaving the copy machine's toner cartridge empty for the next person to deal with.
- Loitering. Avoid hovering around two people in a private conversation without any regard to personal space and common courtesy. If they want you to be included, they will welcome you into the conversation by making eye contact and asking your opinion - not turn their back away from you.
- Annoying email etiquette. Take a stroll across the hall, rather than writing a lengthy email about something that could easily be discussed in a few second conversation face to face. Don't hit "Reply All" when not everyone needs to see your response. Think twice before you hit "send" to a chain letter. You are training others to ignore your emails!