Annoying Work

How To Be Annoying At Work


No one wants to be annoying at work. However, the problem is sometimes we don’t even know when we’re doing it. So, in the spirit of workplace harmony, I present a top-10 list of totally annoying workplace behaviors. If you recognize yourself in any of these, cease and desist immediately.

10. Speaking loudly on the phone. (Errr… guilty.)

9. Playing music. (Even if colleagues are too polite to say so, yes, your music is bothering them.)

8. Not answering the phone. ( i.e. If you work in a small business and share responsibility for this.)

7. Sneaking off with the last cup of coffee without making a new pot.

6. Eating food that isn’t yours. (Personally, I’m also mildly annoyed by Activia and the like in the company fridge. Seriously, that’s just way too much information that I really don’t care to know.)

5. Continuing to wax on about nothing while colleagues are giving you the “I’m busy” non-verbals. (e.g. Staring at their computer, checking the clock, typing, looking at their phone, etc.)

4. Gossiping about co-workers and/or spilling unnecessary drama about your own personal life. If you’re looking for a quick way to make colleagues uncomfortable, look no further.

3. Complaining all the time about how busy you are or, equally as bad, trying to “look” busy so no one will assign you more work.

2. Missing deadlines. When you miss a deadline, there’s usually a ripple effect that spreads through a project, endangering its overall success – and really annoying your colleagues.

1. Poor attitude. The best managers know to “hire for attitude and train for skill.” That’s because inherently positive people do more to improve and enhance a work environment than even those who are the most technically gifted.

There you have it. This is my top ten list of annoying work behaviors. What’s at the top of your list?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Emily Bennington

Emily Bennington is coauthor of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job. She is also a contributing writer for and a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, Forbes Woman, and US News and World Report.


  1. Partially disagree with the #1 comment.

    It puts all the responsibility on the shoulders of the employee, when in fact poorly qualified/trained managers making grossly negligent decisions can have a negative long-term affect on the employee’s attitude.

    In making such blanket terms such as this, one needs to dig a bit deeper to quantify the statement.

  2. I would say that my biggest pet peeve are the people who walk away from equipment malfunctions instead of trouble shooting or asking for help. I would constantly find the photocopier jammed at my last job: apparently I was the only person of 35 who could unjam it? Odd …

  3. Three more:

    Not refilling the copier/printer paper tray after using the last sheet.

    Borrowing and not returning desk supplies (pens, pencils, stapler, tape, etc.).

    Continuously pushing foods/treats on you when you’ve explained several times in the past such foods are contrary to your dietary/medical needs.

  4. I disagree with your comment about Activia somehow being too much information. I know several people who love Activia because it tastes good. I’ve had the non-light kind, and it really is tasty. So you shouldn’t make assumptions about why someone eats a certain type of yogurt. And, seriously, who can be annoyed by seeing a type of yogurt? Chill out.

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