How to deal with annoying coworkers

How to deal with annoying coworkers

We all have coworkers who irritate us. Maybe it’s not the person who annoys us, but a particular behavior a person exhibits while at work. Then again, sometimes it is the person who ‘rubs us the wrong way.’ There are so many behaviors in small or large offices that can be irritating. And you might even be the cause and not know it!  Office employees have to spend their days together, for better or worse. The good news is there is always a bright side to every situation, and every person.

When thinking of common types of annoying behaviors that ‘everyday’ offices deal with, some of the following come to mind:

  1. The noise maker

    Coworkers play their music too loud, or someone cranks up the radio with music not everyone likes. Also, coworkers might talk extremely loud and it becomes unbearable because you can’t hear yourself think, let alone hear the person you are speaking with on the phone.

    Solution: Silencing the noise maker

    Approach the person who is distracting you and politely ask them to stop whatever behavior is annoying to you. Be direct and pleasant about it. For example, “Hey Billy, do you mind not speaking or singing so loud? I can’t hear the person on the other end of the phone.” Chances are ‘Billy’ will politely quiet down immediately and maybe even apologize.

  2. The scent lover

    Colleagues have lotion at their desk, or they may burn a scented candle which makes other people feel nauseous. Or, perhaps they wear too much perfume which can be overbearing.

    Solution: Stopping the smelly

    Have your office manager or boss send out an email with a ‘No Scents Policy.’ It’s a good idea to put one into force right away because people who hate the smell of your lotion or perfume may be too polite to tell you. The policy should say ‘No burning scents, no candles, no scented lotion at work and please be considerate of others who may be sensitive to smells when it comes to soaps or perfumes.’ This might be read to an employee when they get hired. People will be a lot less likely to use strong scents if there is a known policy forbidding doing so.

  3. The improper, disgusting coworker

    Coworkers do uncouth things at their desk like cut their nails, blow their nose, or pick at their skin.

    Solution: Stopping the gnarly

    The inappropriate nail cutter or nose picker is a little more tricky. However, there is a way to address this as well. Have your HR department or manager send out an email to everyone so that no one person is singled out. It should say something to the effect that personal hygiene should be done at home, and not at the office.  A good way to reiterate the point is to include a cartoon of someone flossing their teeth or picking their nose, for a less serious tone.

  4. The radio station hog or controller

    Colleagues can be ‘radio hogs’ and listen to music that’s very repetitive and unpleasant to others. They feel it’s their right or obligation to choose a radio station each day.

    Solution: Taming the music maniac

    If you listen to music as an office, someone should be able to choose what station they want on certain days. Delegate someone to set up a calendar with employees’ names and the days they can choose a station. This way, no one has to listen to country or rap every day. Diversity always makes things fun and it gives employees something little to look forward to. Pandora is a great way to choose various artists, and it’s free. Most importantly, it’s fair!

  5. The borrower of soon to be lost supplies

    Coworkers take office supplies from your desk without asking, or borrow things without returning them.

    Solution: Preventing thieves and beggars

    Be sure to label your office supplies, especially if you don’t want others to take them. Take a minute and put a piece of tape with your name on things like calculators, scissors, staplers, and even pens. If someone asks to borrow something, tell them politely that you’d like the object back – and give them a time frame. For example, “Yes, you may borrow my three hole punch but I will need it before 2 pm today.” This will hold the borrower accountable.

  6. The goof offs and slackers

    Colleagues goof off all day and expect you to catch up with their slack.

    You don’t need a solution because it will take care of itself

    When others do nothing and expect you to pick up their work, it’s more than likely that management is very aware of the people who actually do the work and the ones who do not. This usually sorts itself out. The best advice to take from this predicament is to always stay focused, pleasant, calm, and positive and do your own work to the best of your ability. Don’t spend time complaining about other people as it’s unproductive, not positive at all, and it takes time away from your production.

Finally, always remember one thing. Regardless of where you work, you are going to have people who annoy you. The advice above may make your job less stressful and less irritating. One thing to remember is that it’s imperative to have a positive attitude as much as humanly possible.