Posts Tagged ‘Work Etiquette’

I was at a business luncheon last week and I overheard a conversation about some individuals’ co-workers. The individuals were going on and on about a few people in their office that had habits that just drove them nuts. I thought about it and it seems that despite job shortages and hours cut, there are still issues that really tick people off in their offices. To be honest, I work in a small office and we try very hard to respect each others’ property and feelings. Naturally, I’ve worked in larger offices, but for almost a decade I’ve had a small business of my own and haven’t had the problems that other people do at work.

Of course, I went straight to Google to see what some of the most common complaints about co-workers were. I found some really common ones and some that you might not expect. And I have to ask, are you guilty of any of these?

Taking someone else’s food from the office refrigerator makes your co-workers really mad. In fact, an informal online survey on TheLadders.com found that 97.8% of respondents on its site rated fridge raiders as the absolute worst breakers of office etiquette. Syd, my girl with the big kitchen, had an experience like this at her workplace. The notorious “Lunch Thief” had everyone livid, and hungry. The thievery stopped when someone was let go, we’re all guessing that he’s stealing lunches at another marketing firm now. Taking co-worker’s food riles people in their workplace — almost as much as dealing with the forgotten, reeking food left to spoil. It was reported that people have been known to take up a collection to pay someone to clean out a foul fridge. That’s how bad it can become.

Co-workers with bad personal hygiene were mentioned almost as often on the online list of shame. More than 95% of the survey respondents were bothered most by unkempt, and presumably smelly, co-workers. That could mean too much perfume as well as too little deodorant on the offensive list.

It was reported that a co-worker was driven crazy by a colleague’s incessant foot-tapping throughout the day. Another co-worker was driven to distraction by people who let their cell phone ring tones play in the office.

We all have them, the Annoying Co-Workers...

We all have them, the Annoying Co-Workers...

My own hall of shame is full of people who put on their head phones, lean back in the chairs and broadcast their conversations loudly throughout the room. It just absolutely, drives me crazy. I will get Obama and just walk away until the person finishes his/her conversation.

Drinking on the job is another co-worker problem I stumbled upon. I really had to think on this one. I guess there must be lots of different workplaces out there, given that 85.7% of the survey respondents chose that to mention. Where I work, bringing alcohol on site is grounds for dismissal, so we don’t get much opportunity to study drunk co-workers (at least at work!). Kind of a scary thought to realize the dangers and damages possible when workers drink on the job. I’d call that a safety issue more than an etiquette concern.

Wastefulness with paper was also a grievance people had in the workplace. At least we’re developing a green conscience because 82% mentioned it on the online survey. It’s food for recycling thought…and an indicator that the paperless society still is a ways off.

Some other pet peeves that emerged in the survey included cooking smelly food in the office microwave (Smelly might be in the nose of the sniffer; is popcorn smelly?) and messing with a Blackberry, etc., during a meeting (How about any cell phone texting?). Here’s a big complaint in our office: Co-workers who drain the coffee pot and fail to start another.

What’s on your list of offensive co-worker behavior? Please let me know. I am really curious to know.

Wishing all of us a positive co-worker experience!


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