Are You the Annoying Colleague at Work?

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No one wants to be that person in the office whom everyone avoids because of attitude, certain characteristics, and mannerisms. That is, unless that person has serious issues and goes out of his way to be the annoying colleague.

Sometimes, however, we may not be aware that we are behaving in such a way that gets on other people’s nerves.This is not to say that we have to keep everyone happy – we shouldn’t and we can’t anyway. But if we were to recognize these behaviors and their implications, then we can analyze and decide whether to make changes or not.

How do you know if you drive your colleagues crazy?

A start is to ask yourself what drives you crazy.

  • People who keep chatting you up when you’re obviously busy working?
  • People who are overly cheerful?
  • People who gossip about other co-workers?
  • People who keep going round the office space trying to be everyone’s friend?
  • People who play music?

Obviously, the behaviors will vary from person to person, so we need some solid data. If you need to know whether you are alienating yourself from your colleagues – it is, after all, important to have good working relationships – then you have the option to do some sort of survey. But that can be awkward and counterproductive. If you’re already considered the annoying colleague, raising the point could backfire at you, however good your intentions may be.

There is a study that can help you in your analysis. The Office Club conducted a survey involving over 200 employees coming from different business settings to determine behaviors at work that they found annoying.

This is what they found out.

Silence is golden. Loud talkers. Chatty coworkers. They distract others who want to focus on their work.

Gossip is a no-go. There’s always enough juicy things to talk about your coworkers, but if you are the office gossip, you will quickly – and perhaps fully – lose everyone’s trust. This will probably even reflect on your performance.

Just a little respect. It goes a long way. Remember my previous post about being assertive but not rude? That’s basically it. Treat everyone with respect. Else, you’ll alienate yourself.

Save laziness for later. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Texting. There are so many distractions at work that it is easy to put your feet up and not give your all when at work. Imagine how your hard-working colleagues see you if they know you’re slacking off regularly.

Stay in the loop. Stated in another way, this means you need to communicate often and clearly. Lack of communication or unclearly worded requests (or updates, etc.) will lead to frustration, to the detriment of the team.

The no-negativity zone. Smile and the world smiles with you. Be Debbie Downer, and you’ll find colleagues running away from you like you were a zombie after their brains. Energy vampires drain others, and it’s but understandable that people stay away from them.

Smoking is provoking. While smoking is prohibited in almost any workplace today, there are still places where it is allowed. In these cases, the office smoker irks his coworkers.

The results and numbers are summarized in this handy chart.

annoying colleague chart


Given the data from the survey, do you think that you exhibit one or more of the behaviors? If so, what do you plan to do about it?

Here’s more on the topic: Work Jerks: The 18 Most Annoying Things People Do at the Office



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