How to Stop Annoying Your Colleagues

In: How To

Working environment in the office affects us more than we are used to thinking. Corporate culture, your relationships with colleagues and the way people around you approach the working process often predetermine our everyday job satisfaction and sometimes even career progression. Some companies are even willing to train you the unspoken rules of office etiquette to make an open-space life more convenient for everyone.

However, not everything depends on the corporate culture. Quite often, we have that annoying colleague who drives us nuts and doesn’t let us concentrate at our work. And it might happen that you irritate your colleagues right now without realizing it. We all make mistakes and can be inconsiderate of other people at times. However, if you want to build better relationships with colleagues and get a better reputation in the office eventually, sometimes it’s better to reconsider your everyday habits.

The writers of our perfect CV have prepared a list of habits that irritate people most. Check out if you have any of these – and make sure to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Top things that irritate your colleagues

73% of working Americans admit that between two and five colleagues annoy them regularly. Therefore, if most of your colleagues seem nice, chances are that you’re the annoying colleague that everyone complain about. The situation is easy to fix, though. Read the list below and correct any annoying behavior, and you’ll be surprised at how fast your interactions with coworkers can improve.

Also in this section:

Part 1. Communication issues

  1. Interrupting others
    Probably, there are little things that can irritate others as much as interrupting people as they talk. Firstly, interrupting shows that you don’t value your interlocutor’s opinion enough to let them explain their point. Secondly, it demonstrates that you only wait for your turn to speak rather than hear everyone’s opinion and come to a solution. Neither is a positive trait. People may even be reluctant to work with you on the project.
    Quitting this bad habit is as simple as getting rid of other habits – just control what you do and stop yourself from interrupting.
  2. Bragging about your accomplishments
    Maybe, you’ve got a promotion in your last job, won a corporate award or played football while in college. It’s good that you want to share something good that happened to you – but make sure not to overdo with it. If you keep telling about it to anyone and everyone who walks by, use the tone of superiority or start exaggerating the story adding more detail which never happened, these are the signs you should stop. Otherwise, people may start avoiding you.
    Bragging is good when you write a resume to promote yourself for the job. When on the job, however, be very careful with it. Sharing your accomplishments once with your friends at work is enough. Be modest, and let your actions speak for themselves.
  3. Talking about your personal problems
    Whether you are going through a divorce, trying to overcome an alcohol abuse or recently broke up with the colleague working in another department, remember that the office isn’t a psychological support center. Spending hours discussing your problem is not only counterproductive, but also can make your boss think what exactly they pay you money for. Moreover, discussing your problem again and again under different angles may drive your coworkers crazy. If you feel the need to vent, do it outside the office or find a therapist (some companies might help with that, too).
  4. Being overly talkative
    There’s nothing bad about your willingness to know your coworkers on the personal level. When you’re friends with those working next to you, your team is more productive and in general it’s a win-win situation. The problems begin if you’re an introvert and love chatting all the time whereas colleagues prefer spending a few spare minutes on their own. 
    To avoid crossing that line and driving your coworkers crazy, watch their reaction closely as you talk. Do they seem uninterested, answer “yes” or “u-huh” or check their smartphones as you talk? Then, it’s time to finish the conversation. Also, don’t start a conversation without asking if your colleague has a spare minute to talk.
  5. Participating in the office gossip
    Gossiping by the cooler is a great way to spice up the boring working hours and share how you really feel about some of your coworkers. To the same extent, gossiping is something that prevents management from seeing you as a team player and moving you up the ranks. Maybe, you don’t really like that woman who wears heavy makeup or the guy with smelly cologne, but if you take your work seriously, you’d better develop a friendly attitude towards everyone. Moreover, you never know how that gossiping will affect your corporate reputation – sometimes it can even cost you a job.
    There’s nothing bad about the casual chat in the office unless you touch upon the taboo subjects. Check out which topics of conversation don’t belong to the workplace: http://resumeperk.com/blog/top-taboo-topics-you-should-never-discuss-with-colleagues.
  6. Telling others how to do their job
    Being a total know-all can drive the people crazy. You believe that you are being helpful and share your expertise, but people see you as an annoying and intrusive coworker. In particular, what you shouldn’t do is to tell the others sitting next desk to you how to do their job if you’re not asked. Wait until they ask you for advice – otherwise, keep it to yourself. You might step in and ask if the person needs any help if they’re a new hire or an intern. If you really know how to succeed at your job, use your own advice to climb up that corporate ladder.
  7. Poor email etiquette
    In most companies, Gmail is a primary way of communication, so failure to use it correctly will definitely serve as a total turn-off for your colleagues and management. To check how good are you at using this tool, compare yourself to the below rules of email communication:
    1. Don’t use email for urgent matters – call or reach the person via chat.
    2. Use an informative subject line – make sure that the letter’s content is pretty obvious from the subject. For example, “Sales figures for October 2018” will definitely work better than “Figures”.
    3. Don’t respond to mass mail unless your response is critical for the entire chain. Respond to the sender directly or don’t respond at all.
    4. Don’t scam your colleagues with “funny” emails – even if less-than-professional emails are acceptable in your company, don’t sell them every day as you might distract others.
    5. Never send uninformative, one-word responses – restrain yourself from such responses as “Ok”, “Thank you” and likewise.
      Effective email communication contributes a lot to your professional image. For more guidance on effective email writing, read our post here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-write-effective-email-that-get-opened.
  8. Criticizing others
    The criticism that comes from your side should be grounded. Not only need you to point out that the suggestion wouldn’t work, but also to explain why. Also, as you comment on someone’s work or ideas (especially if you’re not a supervisor), be sure to pair your criticism with an alternative solution. If you neglect these simple rules, your criticism may be very frustrating for your colleague and it can even spoil the relationships between you. Make sure to avoid strong negative expressions: “This plan makes no sense” is discouraging, whereas “It’s a good idea, but let’s check out if it applies to our situation” sounds collaborative. It goes without saying that all criticism from your side should be all about work issues, not someone’s appearance, behavior or habits.
    Workplace criticism is a touchy subject – read how to accept and give it so that your career would only benefit: http://resumeperk.com/blog/effective-ways-to-face-criticism-at-the-workplace.
  9. Asking too many questions
    Asking questions is not a problem itself, but if you ask too many of them, it can seriously irritate those around you. For instance, if the boss gives you a new assignment and you bombard them with lots of questions, they might either doubt your competency or think that you’re reluctant to do the job. Even if the task is new to you, don’t just ask whatever crosses your mind: think it over and them come up with a few well-structured questions that show you’ve done your homework.
    The same applies if you ask the same question (for example, about how the software works) over and over again instead of learning it by yourself. In this case, you distract your colleagues from the job and gain the reputation of a pain in the neck.
    Asking the questions in the right way is important during an interview, too. Check out the list of questions you can end an interview with: http://resumeperk.com/blog/top-15-questions-to-end-the-interview-with.
  10. Sharing too much personal information
    Even if you are on a good note with your colleagues, it doesn’t excuse being too personal in the office. Your dirty laundry doesn’t belong to the office – all conversation about your psychological problems, relationships issues and sex talks should be left for closest friends. Telling inappropriately personal stories (for instance, about your weekend in Vegas) makes others feel awkward and soon they start shying away from talking to you.
    Note that your salary is a personal information, too – and revealing it publically can only create problems for you in the office. If you feel like discussing salary issues, for instance, equal pay for women, it’s better to do so with a trusted colleague/friend or with your boss directly.
    Your resume should likewise be free from your private details. Not sure if your resume is written in the right way? Contact the experienced resume writers for a free evaluation of your resume.

Part 2. Workplace habits

  1. Eating smelly food in the cubicle
    Maybe, your fried fish, boiled eggs or tuna salad smell delicious in your kitchen. Nevertheless, your colleagues might not share your passion for smelly food. By the way, eating smelly food is considered one of the top things that irritate your colleagues in the office.
    Remember that you’re not alone in the office and you need to respect the tastes of others. Opt for meals that don’t have a strong scent (such as chicken, salads, burgers etc.) and avoid having lunch at your desk. Otherwise, you might distract the coworkers who have to work instead of having lunch.
    Do you believe that a high salary is a must for job satisfaction? Read our report on what is most important for workers today: http://resumeperk.com/blog/profit-or-pleasure-what-is-more-important-for-workers-today.
  2. Running late to every meeting
    Being late is always a bad tone, whether you show up in the office when everyone’s up to their ears in work or entering the meeting room during an ongoing discussion. The latter irritates even more, since the speaker and others have to repeat everything they’ve already done for you. Let alone the fact that by being constantly late you show disrespect to other people’s time and the organizer’s efforts. And obviously, you won’t be entrusted time-sensitive and important tasks since being late shows your inconsideration and poor organizational skills.
    To get rid of this habit, plan your time ahead. Start arriving for the meetings early to correct your reputation.
  3. Calling in sick too often
    Of course, if you’ve caught a cold, you shouldn’t show up in the office and spread it. On the contrary, calling in sick when in reality you aren’t affects your reputation and your coworkers. If you don’t show up in the office for a day or two, you need to delegate your urgent tasks to someone and rearrange for meetings. Secondly, the more often you’re absent from work, the less chances for getting an important assignment or a promotion you eventually have. Moreover, if you blurt things out in the office or in the social media, this will affect your reputation.
    To find out about the weirdest reasons people use to shy away from work, read here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/top-weirdest-reasons-to-skip-work.
  4. Leaving a mess in the kitchen and your desk
    Most habits that drive your colleagues crazy are about violating the personal space of others. Since in the office you and your colleagues have to collaborate in a small room, you need to be very thoughtful about how your actions and habits affect others. Maintaining cleanliness both at your desk and in the kitchen is a must if you want to avoid conflicts with coworkers and look like an organized professional in the eyes of others.
    1. Keep your desk neat – maybe, you feel comfortable working in a mess, but if you work in an open office, this can irritate your colleagues and boss.
    2. Clean up after yourself in the kitchen – don’t wait for others to do this instead of you. Moreover, leaving a mess everywhere displays your immaturity and lack of responsibility.
    3. Don’t leave your food in the fridge for too long – you don’t want it to spoil and the stink to spread all over the room, do you?
  5. Showing poor hygiene and too casual outwear
    Whether you like it or not, your appearance matters a lot for your office interactions and your career perspectives. Even the looks are not critical in your work, it’s not an excuse to give it up and show up in the same loose sweater all week long. Poor hygiene and appearance looks like you don’t care much about your job and your colleagues. In addition, the boss will pass you by when they need someone to represent the company at the industry event or the meeting with a key account. Needless to say that if you neglect the personal hygiene and grooming, colleagues will be reluctant to collaborate with you on the project or assignment.
    The first impression matters, so be sure to take care of the personal hygiene thoroughly and dress according to the company’s dress code. Don’t wear the heavy cologne, though – some of your colleagues might be allergic to scents.
    Curious how to dress up for your next interview? Read here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/what-to-wear-for-a-winning-job-interview.
  6. Selling things in the office
    Many companies prohibit selling stuff in the office, be it cookies for your kids or the cosmetics from a popular brand. The reason is simple: it takes up the work time and distracts you from the primary responsibilities. Moreover, if you are being too annoying, it can spoil the relationships between you and your colleagues. It’s not surprising that some companies might even fire you for that.
    However, if your employer doesn’t have any penalties for selling things, don’t be intrusive and annoying. If you are looking for clients, you may inform the colleagues about your side affair – they’ll let you know if they’re interested. It will be better for everyone if you get busy selling your things in the non-business hours.
  7. Being too loud
    Making a lot of noise in an open office is probably one of the best distractions and can drive people crazy in a comparatively short time frame. You may not even be aware that you speak or listen to music too loud; however, the noise you make can affect the productivity in the entire office. Here’s how you can minimize the noise you make:
    1. Turn down the music – even if you use headphones, those sitting next to you can still hear the music. Take your headphones off to test the sound and if it’s loud, either turn down the volume or get better headphones.
    2. Don’t speak loudly – lower your voice when discussing something with a colleague in an open office, and go to the meeting room if the discussion is taking you a while to avoid distracting others.
    3. Put your phone away – don’t talk on the phone for too long at your desk, especially if those are personal calls.
    4. Switch off smartphone notifications – otherwise, your phone dinging all the time will drive crazy those working next to you.
      Respecting the private space of others and being thoughtful are one of the traits of an ideal employee. Check out here for more perfect employee traits.
  8. Making personal calls
    While your colleagues might not care much about your resolving personal issues in working hours, it can seriously irritate your boss. Whether you call to discuss buying a house with a real estate agent, to flirt with your new girlfriend or to discuss your child’s behavior with your teacher, it means that you are not busy with your direct responsibilities. As a result, your boss will see you as someone who doesn’t care about the career much. Some companies may even apply a fine for making personal calls in working hours. One way or another, limit your personal calls to the lunch break and avoid discussing touchy and personal issues in the office or kitchen.
    Are you experiencing the workplace stress? Here are the best ways to tackle workplace stress efficiently.
  9. Ignoring holiday parties and team building events
    Attending corporate social events is a must for everyone who want to improve the relationships with the colleagues and work their way up the corporate ladder. Taking part in these activities shows your team spirit and loyalty, while shying away from them can be perceived as antisocial and arrogant. These are not the qualities you want to display in the workplace.
    If you’ve ignored events of this kind, it’s high time that you started attending them. Feeling awkward and don’t know what to do during an events? Check out our etiquette tips for holiday office party.
  10. Complaining and moaning too often
    Everybody complains time after time. When we feel irritated, stressed or dissatisfied with something at work, sharing your emotions with a colleague is a good way to unwind. However, if you complain literally about everything that happens in the office, it affects your mood and the productivity of your colleagues negatively.
    Do you often complain about the annoying colleagues from the office next door, the boring task your boss gave you or the fact that somebody got a promotion you were aiming for? If so, you might be a person who is hard to be around. It’s high time that you reconsidered your attitude and the energy you bring into the workplace. Try looking at the situations under the different angle and being more positive about the new challenges.
  11. Getting distracted during conversations and meetings
    People talking to you in the workplace deserve your full attention. Not only it is impolite and rude to check your smartphone or chat when someone is talking to you, but also it can affect your performance if they’re discussing important issues with you. So, whenever a boss or a colleague comes up to talk business, be sure to put away the other things and focus on the discussion solely.
    The same works for meetings. While you’re texting your friend during someone’s talk, everyone around, including your boss, clearly see that you don’t care much. Needless to say that they’ll remember it and might overlook you with a complex assignment or reject your pay raise request.
  12. Heading to someone’s cubicle without asking
    Or, peaking over the cubicle top to ask something or have a small talk. Or, leaning on the table and starting the talking without paying attention whether you’re welcomed at the moment or not… As the private space is limited in the open office, people can be very protective of it. If you don’t want to gain a reputation of an inconsiderate, annoying or even irritating coworker, learn to respect the other’s privacy. Before you enter the cubicle and start talking, it’s a good idea to say something like “Knock knock” or “Do you have a minute?” In this case you won’t look intrusive. If the person is busy, don’t be annoying and come up later.
    If you are going for interviews, remember that some things are not welcomed by potential employers either. Read the list of job interview things under the ban and avoid them to make a stronger first impression.

As you may have noticed, the key to better relationships with those working next to you is respecting the private space of others. If you want to stop annoying your colleagues, you need to be considerate about them as you work, talk with someone on the phone or have lunch. If you correct the way you behave and treat others, chances are that you won’t have to get your resume updated and look for the new job, as your office relationships will improve dramatically.

Editor's Choice:

Creating better relationships in the office

Getting rid of the habits that drive your colleagues nuts is only the halfway through the positive and productive workplace relationships. Building this kind of relationships matters a lot for your career and job satisfaction, not to mention the psychological comfort and the workplace fulfillment.

So, where do you start building better workplace relationships? Career experts and psychologists suggest that you start with the following:

  1. Allocate time for workplace interactions
    Building any relationship takes time. Since we are talking about your workplace relationships, you should treat them as a task and schedule time for communication with your colleagues. You can take this time to discuss the recent even at the cooler, comment on someone’s LinkedIn posting or ask your coworker out for a lunch.
    If you don’t schedule time for communication, it’s easy to get drown in the tasks popping up and forget about your workplace relationship building goals.
  2. Give credit and say thank you
    One of the time-proven ways to improve relationship is to be grateful. All in all, we mostly work as a part of the team rather than individually and accomplish results due to the group efforts. So, whether you’ve completed the project successfully or got the recognition from management, don’t forget to share the credit and recognize the efforts of everyone who worked towards it alongside you. By recognizing their efforts publically, you’ll build the atmosphere of trust and reliability around you.
    Also, remember that thank you notes exist not only to thank the hiring manager after the interview. These notes are a great way to compliment your colleague or a subordinate who went to the great lengths to help you out.
  3. Initiate conversations and engage others to join your projects
    If you are interested in improving your relationships with others, you’re the one who should take initiative. Start a conversation with someone you’ve never talked to before and only said “Hello” at the reception. Take your time to discuss things which aren’t directly related to work activities (make sure you don’t distract people from their job responsibilities, though). The more willing is you to keep a conversation with others, the faster you’ll get a reputation of a trustworthy and friendly individual.
    Inviting others to collaborate on your projects works great towards the relationship building, too. Don’t be shy to bring others onto your projects or ask for help if you need it.
    Taking initiative in the workplace is critical for your career, but you need to pick the right time and conditions for it. Read how to take initiative in the workplace the right way. 
  4. Stay positive
    Nobody wants to stay around a person who exaggerates negative things and complains a lot. Whatever happens, keep on the positive note. Positive mood has the tendency to spread, and soon people will literally get attracted to the person who sees things on the bright side.
    Being positive also means focusing on the solution, not the problem. Be sure to speak up and offer your ideas and suggestions during the meetings or group discussions. Not only this will help you to establish the bond with those working next to you, but also will highlight your initiative and proactivity.
  5. Say good things about people you work with
    In addition to giving people credit they deserve and saying ‘thank you’, develop the habit of speaking positively about your coworkers when talking to others, especially your boss. This trick makes magical effect on what other people think about you. First of all, the information you share will likely come back to the person who is being discussed. As a result, people will be flattered that you told positive things about their work and will see you as a companion. Secondly, what you say about others says a lot about you as well. If you give positive feedback about your colleague’s contribution or personality traits, your boss will note your team spirit and positive attitude.
    On the contrary, try avoiding the office gossips - not only it distracts you from work, but also sharing negative comments and rumors spoils your reputation. Nobody wants to promote a gossip girl.

Think it’s time to move on? Reach your career goals with a pro resume

As you start on improving your relationships with colleagues and office habits, you may realize that you’re ready to look for a new job. If you want the job-hunting process to take less time, take care of your application documents in advance. Remember that a poor resume can cost you weeks of unemployment.

The professional resume writers of Resumeperk have rich expertise in promoting professionals of all career levels for their dream jobs. We offer the full package of resume services, so you could focus on your career and stop worrying about the quality of your resume. A resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and even pro interview tips – all this can be done for you at a very affordable price. We guarantee satisfaction – or will rewrite your resume for free.

Do you have any habits that irritate your colleagues and how do you manage them?

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