Five Common and Annoying Office Habits

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

Your co-workers probably spend more time with you than they spend with their families. All that togetherness turns annoying office habits they might otherwise overlook into major sources of frustration. Avoiding five of the most common can help keep you on your co-workers' good sides and make your office a more enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.

Generating excessive noise, whether by popping gum, chewing loudly, eating from crinkly snack bags, clearing your throat, sniffing or playing music too loudly constitutes an annoying office habit and disruptive behavior, especially if you work in a cubicle or open space. You may not even be aware that the sounds emanating from your work area reach your co-workers. Assume they do and alter your behavior accordingly.

Failure to clean up after you use common areas is another annoying office habit that erodes relationships with the people with whom you work. Forgetting to wash your lunch dishes or promptly remove food from the microwave, for example, creates frustration among co-workers. So does leaving the bathroom in less pristine condition than you found it.

Not all annoying office habits are personal ones. If your job requires that you attend meetings, be sure to avoid disruptive behaviors or those that extend meetings unnecessary. Showing up late, using time to ask questions or discuss issues that are beyond the scope of the meeting, and fielding text messages and emails are all considered taboo. On conference calls, mute yourself if you're in a noisy place or are generating annoying echoes or audio feedback.

Wasting time is more than an annoying office habit. It's also one that can cause you to lose your job. Long lunches, and excessive personal phone calls, smoke breaks and socializing create resentment among co-workers who stay focused and productive throughout the day. Your colleagues and your company's management are likely to take issue with Internet overusage, too. Repeated Facebook logins or regular checks of eBay auctions are improper and unfair to your employer and your colleagues.

Coming into work when you're sick doesn't show dedication to your job. Rather, it shows disrespect for the health and well being of your co-workers and their families. Washing your hands and covering your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze may help limit the spread of germs, but they can't prevent it entirely. If you're contagious, stay home.

Sharing space with co-workers 40 hours a week or more without ruffling feathers poses quite a challenge. Conflicting personalities, divided loyalties and competition between colleagues can make it difficult to get along even in the most cordial office settings. By paying attention to your behavior and looking for signs of annoyance among your colleagues, you can identify and correct annoying office habits and, in the process, promote a positive workplace atmosphere.


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