Career Blog_Grit and Soul

Office Behavior That Drives Us (or Your Colleagues) Crazy! Part 1

We all have those colleagues or boss who do things that drive us to distraction. These days, most offices provide little in the way of privacy so co-worker behaviors can have a large impact on our productivity and focus. The list below includes things that drive people nuts in the workplace. For the sake of your office companions, take a moment to remind yourself what behavior at work may be getting on someone’s last nerve.

Showing up 10 minutes late to meetings

Arriving late to meetings indicates that you lack respect your coworkers who made the effort to show up on time, as well as the meeting organizer. If you agree to attend a meeting, plan ahead to be prepared for the meeting and be in your seat and ready to go on time. (This is a personal pet peeve of mine)

Being negative all the time

Regularly responding to suggestions or ideas with a pessimistic or contrary response can be interpreted as being uncooperative or stuck in the past. Listen with an open mind to new ideas and suggestions. Some of them might be very good! Avoid immediately responding with “That won’t work,” “That seems too hard,” or, “We tried that before.”

Being a slob

When you leave your dirty dish in the office kitchen sink or don’t pick up your garbage from the lunch table, whom exactly are you expecting to clean up after you? Leaving your mess behind shows lack of responsibility or consideration. Your workspace can be a reflection of you. Not everyone works best in a clutter-free environment, but making an effort to keep a semi-tidy office shows respect for the workplace, your colleagues, and is a professional behavior.

Interrupting your colleagues

It can be a challenge to not interrupt when we feel excited about an idea or when someone is taking too long to get to the point. But if you do this regularly, your colleagues may find this behavior off-putting and feel that you don’t value what they have to say. Try slowing down and listening. You will get your opportunity to get your point across. And when you take the time to listen carefully, you may find that you are given the same courtesy more regularly.

Acting like you know everything

Just so you know, know-it-alls are exhausting.  When you are always trying to outdo, correct, or over-explain a topic, you wear out your welcome fast. This is a great way to make your coworkers’ eyes roll. It’s good to share information that is useful, but there is no need to pontificate or try to prove that you are the smartest person in the room.

Discussing your personal problems

Everyone has personal issues they are dealing with. Sometimes those issues can be big and overwhelming, but the office is not the place to air your personal problems. Sure, it maybe helpful for your colleagues to know that you are managing with big issues at home, like going through a divorce, but don’t spend valuable work time telling your co-workers all the details. If you are close to someone at work and would like to ask for his or her advice, plan to get together outside of work. People at work have enough problems of their own. They don’t need yours too.

Talking about political or partisan issues

You spend a lot time at work so you may have built close relationships with your coworkers and bosses. This may make you feel entitled to express your opinions, but you’re in dangerous territory when you bring politics into the workplace.

Lively discussions are to be expected in the workplace, but they should really be focused on work-related issues. Remember, you’re there to do work, and political or partisan arguments can be distracting or even damaging to both you and your coworkers.

Being too noisy

This is a real issue in so many offices with an open environment. If you play music, or repeatedly click or tap your pen, or talk loudly on the phone or using the speaker while others are trying to work, your coworkers are likely to consider you an annoying distraction. This behavior can have a significant effect on your coworkers’ focus and productivity.  Please keep the noise level down.

Swearing a lot at work

Using foul words or questionable language is not only a bad habit, but in many places, is viewed as unprofessional or even creating a hostile work environment, which can lead to a human resources issue. Swearing indicates to others that you aren’t able to calmly and thoughtfully deal with a situation or lack respect for your colleagues. This type of language is common in so many places in our society but it doesn’t have a place in the office.

Did you recognize any actions or habits on this list that you need to curb? The next blog will list more of these annoying behaviors and also review how to approach colleagues who may be doing some of these things that drive you to distraction.


You may also like:

Crying at work – it happens!

The Skill of Delegating

How to Make Criticism at Work, Work for You.

How to Approach and Explain Your Career Gap


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