Menu Join now Search

Cubicle Wars: Surefire Ways to Annoy Your Coworkers

Everyone has something (or someone) that annoys him or her at work. It could be faulty equipment or coworkers who don’t pull their own weight. But nobody’s complaining about you, right?

Not so fast. Even though your mom, friends, or significant other may worship the ground you walk on, there could be some people you work with who are far from your biggest fans. Your dirty jokes may be a hit at home, but that doesn’t mean they sit well with Nancy in accounting.

Here are ten things that you might be doing to annoy your coworkers. Consider changing your ways before it’s too late!

Annoyance 1: (Loud) Personal Calls
It might sound insensitive, but nobody wants to hear about your kids getting sick or how angry you are with your husband. Nor do they want to be in on your weekend ski trip plans or that embarrassing thing your friend did at the bar last night.

Even innocuous subjects should rarely be discussed at length on the phone within earshot of coworkers. Personal information can make others feel uncomfortable, and constant chatting on the phone about non-work subjects can make you look like someone who isn’t getting her work done. If you must make a personal call, it’s best to leave your desk and make the call in a closed conference room, take it outside, or wait until your shift is over. Leave the work phone for work conversations only.

Annoyance 2: A Dirty Desk
Soda cans. Coffee cups. Assorted papers and office supplies. Leftover food. We’ve all seen these things pile up on an office slob’s desk, and some might wonder: whom does it really harm?

Actually, it can bother people more than you think. If your desk is so cluttered that your mess infringes on a coworker’s workspace, it’s attracting flies, or you’re losing or soiling important documents, you’re going to get a reputation as sloppy, immature, and incompetent—not a good trio of characteristics.

Annoyance 3: M.I.A. Employee
While everyone else is busy plugging away at their computers, you’re never anywhere to be found. You’re either taking a long lunch, on one of your many breaks, or calling in sick (again). While nobody wants to see you chained to your desk, your empty chair can symbolize something you don’t want to be associated with: laziness.

You might think its nobody else’s business, but that’s the thing about work—everything is everyone else’s business. People are constantly comparing themselves to their peers and superiors alike and will grow to resent people who don’t seem to be putting in a full day’s work. Wondering if people notice how often you’re outside taking a smoke break or leaving early? Stop wondering. They notice.

Annoyance 4: Kissing Up
Perhaps even worse than the M.I.A. employee is the person who blatantly tries to outshine everyone else at every opportunity. Taking credit for someone else’s work, throwing a coworker under the proverbial bus during a meeting, and making disingenuous flattering compliments to the boss are all ways to make your coworkers resent you.

While you need your superior(s) to know you’re a valuable asset to the company, it’s best to be subtle and let the quality of your work speak for itself. Give credit to coworkers when it’s due, don’t tattle on others unless absolutely necessary, and keep those compliments on the boss’s tie to a minimum. Otherwise, you might be doing more harm than good.

Annoyance 5: Amateur D.J. Hour
Let’s get this party started! Everybody loves it when you turn up your speakers and regale everyone with your favorite club-banging tunes, right?

Actually, not so much. While there are a few occasions where it’s okay to let loose at work, usually people prefer to work in a relatively calm environment free of distractions (like coworkers making personal calls). If you turn up your music loud enough so others can hear it, it’s bound to annoy at least one person sitting near you—especially if your speakers have enough kick to set off car alarms throughout the neighboring area. This is why headphones were invented.

Annoyance 6: Frequent Forwards
Every once in a while a funny video clip or link to an interesting story can be a welcome break from the workday. However, there’s a limit to how much people can take. If you’re forwarding one or more emails a day to several people in the office about things that aren’t work-related, you’re probably driving everybody crazy.

A never-ending stream of emails containing funny links or (even worse) solicitations for donations to some cause may be interesting or important to you, but they only give your coworkers the impression that you’re goofing off on company time. And if you ever get tempted to send an email to a coworker that is even close to NSFW, don’t click “send” under any circumstances.

Annoyance 7: Constant Complaints
People need to vent sometimes; work is called “work” for a reason. But if you spend an inordinate amount of time complaining to anyone who’ll listen, you’re not going to succeed in making things better. You’ll only succeed in bumming everyone out and earning the label of a malcontent.

Remember, just because the person you’re complaining to doesn’t say anything, that doesn’t mean he or she agrees with you. They’re probably just hoping you’ll finish complaining soon, or leave the company already.

Annoyance 8: Meeting Addicts
Meetings are a necessity at work, as they foster communication between coworkers in different ways than emails or instant messaging can. The problem is that meetings take time, and most of us don’t have a lot of time to spare.

First, a meeting’s called to talk about best practices. Another meeting to brainstorm how everyone should go forward after the first meeting follows that. Next thing you know, there are so many monthly, weekly, and even daily meetings that it’s impossible to get anything done. Instead of increasing efficiency, the people who call unnecessary or tedious meetings become known as the most annoying people in the office.

Annoyance 9: Gabby Gossips
You always see them surfing sites like TMZ and Perez Hilton, whenever they aren’t at the front desk whispering to the receptionist. If anyone’s having an affair or being fired, she’s always the first to know; whether the info she’s passing on is actually correct is secondary.

Here’s the thing about office gossip: people notice the people who are always in the middle of it. If you find yourself in secretive conversations with somebody known for having loose lips, you’ll be seen as guilty by association. Ironically, while those who love to dish may find a ready audience for their juicy bits of info, after a while they’ll find themselves with fewer and fewer confidantes who’ll risk their reputations around the office to talk to them about anything.

Annoyance 10: Office Pranksters
Much like meetings, pranks around the office are only appreciated in small doses; any more than that and they become a gigantic annoyance. Even those with a good sense of humor will tire quickly if they can’t go to the restroom without coming back to a trashed cube or a computer that doesn’t work.

There’s a time and a place for pranks in the office. The same goes for the rest of these annoying habits.

Sometimes you have to make a personal phone call, run several errands in a week, or call a two meetings in a row. Just remember that if you do any of these things regularly and you see no problem with your actions, you very well may be the most annoying person in your office.

By Steve Berman for Excelle