Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on the worst workplace habits.
For many, the Christmas period was a welcome break from work. But now, we are back in the swing of things and everyone has returned to the office, unfortunately bringing their annoying habits back with them. It might come as a surprise to you that, while your colleague might (unbeknownst to them) be doing something that drives you crazy, you too might be driving someone else in the workplace insane with your own annoying habit. Thus, here it is, an extensive but not exhaustive list of the most annoying things people do in the office. If you spot yourself in any of these, maybe your new year’s resolution can be to stop before you drive a co-worker to resign.
We all know that eating at our desk is bad for us but despite that, nearly one in five workers never leave their desk during lunchtime, according to a survey of British professionals by ukactive and Sodexo last year. This is due to a number of reasons: excessive workload, unexpected work, or lack of other places to eat lunch. It is not ideal, and certainly not hygienic (the average desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat) but it does happen. But just because you are not sitting in a Michelin-starred restaurant for lunch does not mean you can forget all about etiquette. Chewing loudly, talking with your mouth food and (shudders) lip-smacking at your desk are among the worst offices habits. If you must eat at your desk, do so with courtesy for your colleagues.
A microwave of abuse
On a similar note, let’s move to the company kitchen or canteen. Do not, under any circumstances, use the company fridge as a place for you to store your weekly grocery shop. Also, do not leave food in the fridge to go off and grow a mini colony. If you use the milk, put it back in the fridge instead of leaving it on the counter to go off and if you empty the milk, have the decency to wash and recycle the carton. The microwave is also a massive bone of contention. Do not use it to heat anything particularly smelly. No-one wants to deal with the stink of your fish dinner when they are heating their porridge the following morning.
Stop spreading germs
If you’re very sick, don’t go to work. You’ll just infect everyone else and annoy the whole office. If you have a cold, cover your mouth when you’re coughing and use a hand sanitizer.
You might love chatting about your life, what the doctor said to you during your latest smear test or your latest relationship problem but that does not mean your colleagues want to hear them, let alone share their own deepest darkest secrets across the office. Keep that information for your friends and family (if you must). This doesn’t mean you can’t develop friendships at work, but there is a fine line between appropriate and inappropriate workplace conversations.
Every office has one. Someone that is determined to make their presence known. They put conversations on speaker phone, they sing (badly), they leave their notifications on their phone on loud. Please remember that silence is golden, and that if everyone has their heads down quietly, it is probably because they are working.
If you arrive late into every meeting so everything needs to be repeated, arrange meetings that are pointless, send emails CC'ing everyone in the office for no reason and blame others for your mistakes, then congratulations — you are the world’s most annoying colleague. But then you probably already knew that, based on the number of angry glares directed at you on a daily basis.