TCG's Top 10 List of Bad Habits of Annoying Coworkers

Annoying coworkers are a part of office life. Here are 10 bad habits sure to drive others batty. Consider it your guide to what not to do.

Do you have superb creative skills? Great! But are you also a courteous colleague? Well, that matters too.

While I’m not saying my workplace etiquette is perfect, I’ve definitely learned to curb some bad habits over the years. Therefore, in the name of corporate sportsmanship, I’ve compiled a top 10 list of bad habits to avoid at work. Feel free to share them with your most considerate colleagues (wink, wink).

Annoying coworkers are known for ...

1. Being closed to new ideas. You and another colleague have come up with a brilliant concept for an event brochure but your team’s resident naysayer says, “We’ve always done it this way — no need to reinvent the wheel!” How frustrating! Not being open to change breeds resentment and stifles creative thinking and innovation.

2. Always saying, “I’m so busy” or “That’s not my job.” First and foremost, everyone is busy. Why do some coworkers feel the need to constantly (and loudly) remind us of how swamped they are? Moreover, it’s one thing to set appropriate boundaries; it’s another to never step up and help overworked colleagues. For those who don’t like to work beyond their job description, keep in mind that being part of a team means pitching in whenever possible.

3. Offering advice without being asked. You’re brainstorming with your manager about a new client project, and the designer sitting next to you chimes in with his thoughts and tries to steal your thunder. It’s great to have opinions, but make sure that you’re diplomatic — and in a situation where people actually want your two cents.

4. Talking too loud on the phone. We all have that coworker who practically shouts into the phone. Her voice is so deafening you can’t hear yourself think. Even worse, she speaks at maximum volume when divulging details about her personal life. If you don’t have four walls and a door, be mindful of your phone conversations.

5. Slamming doors. Speaking of four walls and a door, for those of you with your own office, please do not slam your door. It’s rude and it reminds everyone else that you actually have a door!

6. Calling unnecessary meetings. Most of us have a meeting addict in our midst. These people are often far happier talking about work than actually doing work. Beyond calling too many meetings, he also invites too many people. Concerned that you might be a meeting addict? Periodically step back and ask yourself if a routine gathering truly needs to take place. In many cases you’ll realize you can alter its frequency, reduce the participant list or scrap it altogether.

7. Ignoring details. You’ve crafted a detailed email to your coworker, outlining next steps and due dates for an upcoming project. You ask him to reply with any suggested changes or to confirm that he agrees with your proposal by the end of the day. Three days go by with no reply, so you ask again. He writes, “Looks good.” He obviously didn’t read your original message in full and has held up your timeline by a few days. Be respectful and make sure you follow up on details that require your input promptly.

8. Coming to work sick. Sick days are there for a reason. Please don’t come to the office coughing and sneezing. You’ll be doing a huge disservice to your coworkers by spreading germs. Stay home and rest when you’re ill or talk to your manager about possibly working from home. 

9. Not having good scents. This one isn’t new but there are still annoying coworkers who come to work wearing far too much cologne or perfume. And then there are those who insist on heating up leftover tuna casserole and eating at their desks. Overpowering scents are nauseating, especially when working in a confined space for eight hours or more.

10. Expecting you to have all the answers. They say there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Yet one of your officemates frequently interrupts you with queries that she could easily answer herself. It’s OK to seek clarification when you’re uncertain about something, but it’s also important to be proactive and use the resources available to you to avoid wasting others’ time. And when you do ask for assistance, always make a point to offer your appreciation.

As for gratitude, I thank you for reading this post. Hopefully you didn’t find it to be a rant on bad behaviors, but rather a good reminder to be considerate of your colleagues!

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