Things You Wish Your Co-workers wouldn’t do

Have you had an annoying co-worker or known someone who had an annoying co-worker or have you been an annoying co-worker? I’m looking for ideas of things that annoy the snot out of you in an office environment. Think about the person who cooked smelly things in the microwave, and the co-worker who constantly  lectures you on nutrition or is selling Amway or whatever.

I’d love to hear your stories and ideas!

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58 thoughts on “Things You Wish Your Co-workers wouldn’t do

  1. So, I have a few things, but thinking about them more and more, they tend to be little grating things that in the big picture, aren’t that important. I have worked with someone who clipped their nails at work. Regularly. There is no music being pumped through so you can hear every clip happening and then sometimes you hear the flying nail NOT going into the garbage. Annoying and gross.

    Reply all is one of the worst functions ever created in email. It annoys me when people continue to use that when they are responding in a more personal way to an email – thanking the boss for sending out the email or indicating something more personal that I frankly don’t care about or want to waste my time reading.


    1. Gross, gross, gross.

      Why would you ever think to clip toenails in the office? Why????

    2. It could be regional. I live in Alabama and have had several co-workers at different places who thought nothing of trimming nails or even cleaning their ears and noses in meetings. The worst is when they inspect their findings!!

    3. I too hate reply-to-all. Esp when the response is something like, ditto for me! So helpful. Not.

      1. Hey Dee, me too! I also hate it when someone posts a reply for everyone to see, just saying that they agree.

    4. I agree about Information being sent to multiple people recieving individual responses that then have to be forwarded. Workplace email is for informational purposes most of the time. Id much rather see occasional thank you’s and positive things. in office place emails. I dont like it when people get so aggravated like they are so important thet tge delete button is just so difficult to use. So someone included you in a positive comment to other people. Its not tge end of the world. Those thingsare easily deleted. Maybe the hit reply all on accident. Who cares. If you dont need it just delete it.

  2. The corollary to Kris’ abuse of reply-all: cc’ing people who don’t need to know or get dragged into a conversation.

    It also makes me nuts when people don’t clean up after themselves in common areas. Even if you have staff who are responsible for the kitchen/supply room/etc., why leave a mess for the next person to deal with?

    1. But the reverse drives me nuts too. If I send an email to Joan, Jane, and Jared, it’s because all need to be involved. I hate it when Joan replies just to me, and then I have to forward the answer to Jane and Jared, and then Jared responds just to me and I have to forward to Joan and Jane.


      1. There’s a name for those Reply All emails that simply blow smoke. Where I come from, they’re called “Attaboys” or “Attagirls.” Their purpose is not so much to praise or congratulate one person, but to let the entire office know what a great person the sender is because he/she is quick to praise or congratulate a co-worker. The most amusing thing about them is watching people compete to be first to Reply All. Some will even Reply All to a competitor’s Reply All!

      2. We have a method to address the “all involved” thing. If everyone needs to be involved, all the names are in the “To:” field; if it’s more an FYI thing, the people in that category are in the “Cc:” field. Frequently, an email will have both groups, so those who need to reply all, know to just include the people in the “To:”.

        It doesn’t always work, but what involving humans works every time?

  3. I have the annoying coworker who never seems to get the hint that I need to get back to work. She is the person who will stand in the doorway of your office or cube and babble on and on about the same thing (sometimes work-related, sometimes not). I have tried to outright tell her I need to get back to work but she still talks for another 15 minutes. Getting out of my chair and walking to the bathroom has worked but sometimes she follows me in there! I have resorted to faking that I’m late for a meeting and then sneaking back to my desk after she leaves. The lack of ability to read people is really annoying!!

  4. I have a coworker who is constantly trying to get staff to go to meetings of Landmark, which essentially I think is EST, a motivational group for going after “what you really want out of life.”
    In my research it appears as if Landmark may be Alderney day semi-cult but even more annoying is that this coworker is a mental health therapist, complete can not read nonverbal communication, and is not a very nice person.
    Just extremely annoying.

    1. I mistakenly agreed to go to one of those meetings. Everyone in the office seemed to be involved to some degree in the program. When I made it clear I wasn’t interested even after going to one of the “gatherings”, I was pretty much shunned. It just reinforced the “us vs. them” mentality that I picked up on in the meeting.

  5. I had a co-worker (and not young) who had the “ding-dong” alert for texts on her phone. She texted a lot, and since we sat in an open area, and it was like someone was ALWAYS ringing the doorbell. She got really angry when I asked her to put her phone on vibrate and would counter with the one or two times a week that my phone would ring. (I would always silence my phone if I’d forgot.)

    I’ve had many, many co-workers who think it’s A-OK to blast their music, both back when we had semi-enclosed offices, and now, in open co-working offices. Sometimes I’ve had an office manager who would ask the offender to turn the music down (although I always had to ask, it’s never been done defacto) but last job the manager shrugged and said we work in a creative field, so everything goes. The offenders that time were the boss’s favorites, and I suspect she was too afraid to ask them to be polite–they were allowed to disrupt at will.

    1. Yes, to that annoying ringtone for text messages. I, too, had a co-worker who had the doorbell ringtone for every text (and like your co-worker it was a lot). It was also in an open area and it was LOUD!

      Several did convince him to change it – so he change it to, get this, a bird whistle. Just when I thought nothing could be more annoying than the doorbell ringtone someone invents a more annoying sound.

      Then there was the co-worker whose ringtone for incoming calls from one specific person was bagpipes! Normally, her phone was on silent mode and she apologized the one time that it went off. Her mother was from Scotland and rarely called. She explained that if her mother calls her it must be something serious and wanted to make sure she didn’t miss it. Which was okay since she apologized profusely for it being so annoying.

      1. I have co- workers that have some kind of bird chirping alert, I assume it’s Twitter? It drives me batty.

  6. People who rush you and brain dump or talk about all the things they need help with that day… the first moment you walk in the door.

    It’s like they have no awareness that you may not be ready to mentally (or physically! arms full!) to receive the information they “need” to share. I work with a woman, who does this every day. I wince every time she approaches.

    1. I once supervised two staff members who did this to me…every single day…at the same time! I swear they would coordinate who would start it off before I walked through the door. I finally had to implement a ‘rule’ that I wasn’t dealing with anything until I had chance to take off my jacket and go get my cup of coffee. At first I felt bad…but then realized that my sanity was improving. Worth it overall.

  7. In my experience there are 2 categories of annoying co-workers. First is the oblivious. I had an EVP who smoked like a train. He would cough. And cough. And cough. Until he vomited into his trash can. I heard everything. Gross. He probably didn’t think we all heard. A current co-worker thinks she’s helpful because she “checks” on all of us. Just checking to see if you submitted your time sheet. Checking to see if you signed up for the conference. Checking to see of you are ready to go to the meeting. Annoying as hell because she’s not my mom or my manager. She probably has no idea and thinks she’s helpful.
    The second category is what I call the “Bitch Eating Crackers” or BEC. This person gets on your nerves no matter what they do. They can be sitting in the break room nibbling Saltines and still get on your nerves. The font in their email annoys you. The way they say “good morning” makes you want to scream. They just put you in a bad mood because they came to work today.
    Of course a person can be oblivious and a BEC, and that is the worst.

  8. We have an annoying co-worker who not only cooks smelly things in the microwave, but also — every day — puts something in the microwave, starts it, then goes back to her office. Alot of times, she doesn’t come back for too long, and when she finally comes back — and you’re sitting there patiently waiting for her to remove her food so that someone else can use the microwave — it’s gotten cold, so she starts it again, AND LEAVES AGAIN! This can go on numerous times.

    1. I would so just take her food out, use the microwave, and if she comes back while my food is in, too bad. You snooze, you lose!

      1. I second that. If the timer goes off and you aren’t there to get your food, I’ll remove it so I can use the microwave.

  9. People that annoy me the most are those who believe they are right! They debate their “right” position until the very end. Let’s move on, I think to myself. We heard you on the same subject for the last 10 weeks!!!

      1. Just HAVE to say go on over to that forum if you want a laugh. It’s hysterical in a “sad what the world has come to with the Internet” sort of way.

  10. The Chatterboxes. Not conversationally, but just the constant narration of everything they’re doing, at full volume, exactly as loudly as if they were talking to me across the room but directed at no one in particular.
    “Ok computer come on, let’s go. Oh my goodness I can’t type today. I hope I remember to stop for gas after work or I might not make it home. Well this is certainly strange, I wonder why it says this and not this other thing. Man, am I hungry. I can’t believe it’s only 10:00.”
    All. friggin’. day.

    1. Yes!!! I have a co-worker who does something similar. They repeat phrases out loud to themself. It makes it hard to concentrate.

      But the kicker for me is the whistling. I had a dentist who used to whistle while he worked. It drives me crazy. And it’s not quiet whistling. It’s loud and this person even whistles up and down the hallways. Sometimes I have to shut my door so I don’t scream.

  11. I work in an open-cubicle office, and over the years have sat by a couple of workers whose personal calls frequently ranged into inappropriately personal territory–angry fights with spouses, discussions with friends or adult children about marital problems, chats with therapists about substantive issues (i.e., more than just making or confirming an appointment time). Not the things you want to know about your coworkers, and just so distracting.

    1. Yes! Personal calls. Fighting with the boyfriend, getting off the phone and calling three different friends about said fight.
      All the court dates, your son’s court dates.

      And people who just share TOO MUCH about their personal life, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t need to know every.little.thing. about your entire family. I just want to do my work and go.

    2. I shared an office with a woman who got hurt bad when the real estate bubble burst and she had to declare bankruptcy. I felt for her circumstances, but she was dysfunctional in the best of times, and we didn’t get along well, so it was really hard listening (for MONTHS, ALL DAY) to her hiring and firing realtors and lawyers, calling her friends and asking for advice, etc. Somethings you shouldn’t subject your co-workers to. Take your cellphone and go find an empty conference room!

  12. A couple:

    – a grown man who regularly used baby talk, saying things like “pooter” for computer, and “walkies” for taking a walk, pouting when he doesn’t get his way (like sticking out his lip and stomping around), and just generally shirking duties

    – the guy who forced people into personal conversations and then got upset when they put up boundaries; for example, he kept pressuring one woman to talk about the bodily changes that happen during pregnancy (she was pregnant at the time), and asked very invasive questions, and when she told him to leave, he got upset with her and wouldn’t leave her office. He also would come into my office and shake my chair, while I was sitting in it, on a couple of occasions, after I clearly told him not to come into my office without permission (he thought it was funny and kept doing it, but left the job before trying it a third time, in which I would have reported him to the manager).

  13. two to add:
    1. when a co-worker continually mentions how much work they have to do (and describes each task in full detail)
    2. when a co-worker forwards an email thread and asks for feedback, but doesn’t take time to summarize the situation or question from the email thread…

  14. The worst was when I worked in an open office and the newish (younger, naïve and oblivious – 1st job) office assistant started changing into her big pink floppy slippers for her indoor footwear. It was winter & chilly & customers could not see her feet at her desk so the boss let it slide. It wasn’t a REALLY big deal & the world was not going to fall down because of it. But this continued & only got worse when the boss was gone for several weeks due to a family emergency. She began coming to work late & when the rest of us co-workers told her that was a no-no, she started coming to work on time BUT would show up in her PJ’s!!! She would change when she got to work OR after she finished serving customers if there happened to be a line-up when she got to work! She would also curl her hair and eat her breakfast & put her makeup on all right in the office!! None of us were in a position where we could truly discipline her & emails to the boss were unanswered due to what he had going on with his family (understandably). This girl also swore a lot & it was completely acceptable in her eyes! We had to tell her several times how it was inappropriate to ask a customer “are you on crack?!” if they forgot their account name, PIN # etc!!! To her it was just ‘slang’ which meant that she was trying to be casually friendly!!!! One customer came in and asked for brochures and she pointed and said “oh yes, there’s a whole s***load of them on the counter over there”!!! I overstepped my boundries and gave her supreme for that one!

    She left before the boss returned from his leave for a position as “Employee Relations” at a bigger outfit! I believe she only lasted a few weeks. I always figured it was probably because of the PJ thing there too;)

  15. I worked adjacent to a manager who would drop her desk phone loudly at least once per day. Crash! she would also regularly moan loudly if she received an email with news she didn’t like. “Oh, NO!.” She also used a word processing program that everyone else stopped using sometime in the 90s; she’d then have the officer manager convert files from this program to MS Word. When she was out on vacation we discovered that her phone cord was tightly wound around the base of her wheeled desk chair. We unwound it and that at least stopped the phone crashing for a while.

  16. This isn’t gross but IS super annoying: people at my place of business seem to think using the word ‘ask’ in place of question or request is a nifty catch-phrase. It drives me NUTS.
    Ex: ‘did you hear the ask of John-the-manager?’ or ‘we have an ask of your area’

    1. When this was first coming into vogue we had a new CFO who used this constantly, and in charts and memos wrote it in all caps. I finally asked her what “ASK” stood for and she stared at me and said, “Your ask. What you need. How much money you’re asking for.”

      “What is your ASK” vs. “What are you asking for”. Yeah, that’s a real time-saver.

      1. And funny, the first couple times I heard someone say it I thought they were saying “ass”. As in, Jeff’s ass of us.
        Tee-hee-hee. 🙂

  17. I had a coworker whose cubicle was right next to mine and it was ground zero for any and all socializing in the office. I chit-chat w/ people from time to time too, but I usually take it outside on the way to Starbucks or something. When any of our coworkers wanted to kill time they’d come to his cubicle to chat. There were a lot of employees right at the same age (young 20’s) and they were all friends. Often there would end up being 4 or 5 people in his cube chatting for up to an hour. He was almost never the person starting the conversations, but he just wouldn’t say no. And sometimes it would be 4 or 5 conversations a day because only one person would go talk to him at a time. Fortunately, I only had to mention it to him once (after months of not saying anything because I didn’t want to be the “bad guy”) for it to go away almost entirely. I think he was grateful to have an excuse to kick them out of his cube so he could get some work done.

    1. I had a creative partner who was equally social. We sat by the entrance, and everyone who walked in the door, she told them her stories, which I’d already heard 5 times that day.

  18. This doesn’t even compare with Annie’s (GROSS), but I have a co-worker who clears her throat all. day. long. I’ve tried to drop hints by asking if she’s coming down with something or if maybe she should see her doctor about allergies, but no luck. Bah. It’s so annoying.
    I also have a co-worker who says “pacifically” instead of specifically. More than once I’ve wanted to ask, “Is that instead of easternly?”

    1. I know someone who always says ‘pendantic’ instead of ‘pedantic’ (also, this person is normally REALLY pedantic about stuff like this!) I am endlessly amused that, of all the words they could get wrong like this, pedantic is the word they’re saying wrong.

      Do you think it’d be pedantic to point it out?

      The throat clearing would really get to me… Possibly more than most others I have seen in this thread.

      1. I had a manager who used to say “detail-orientated” instead of detail-oriented. As a team, we looked up orientated and read that it means “to face East” so we used to say all our details should face East. The kicker was when a client corrected her in front of the whole team. She was so confused!

  19. I was the annoying co-worker! I was doing some graphic design as part of a larger project. I had recently been given a wireless mouse, and the scroll button clicked very quietly (to me) as one scrolled with it. So, I’m scrolling through fonts, (clickclickclickclick) and color swatches (clickclickclickclick), and page layouts (clickclickclickclick) for hours that day, until my poor office mate lost it, and told me the clicking was driving her nuts. I did the rest of that project late that night, after she had gone home.

  20. I can’t believe no one has mentioned this one yet: person who wears too much perfume / cologne! I was once stationed three cubes down from a guy who wore so much cologne (or possibly it was Axe body spray) that it was overpowering and stomach-turning even from that distance. You always knew when he showed up to work in the morning, and also when he came back from lunch (since he would apply a fresh coat after lunch.) Headache central!

  21. I had a coworker who used to steal my Pepsi. She even would open a two liter that had my name written on it with a large sticky. She was a big, arrogant, swaggering Texas girl who thought she ruled the roost.

    I did what I had to to. I placed a full 2 liter that was really half balsamic vinegar and half Pepsi in the fridge and put my name on it.

    I saw the sneer on her face when I saw her the next day. I treasure that win.

  22. Him: “I think gas stations should be closed on Christmas. People should be smart enough to think ahead and get gas the day before.”

    Me: “So if I get stuck on the highway without gas because I didn’t know I had a link, it’s my fault? I mean, I think restaurants should be closed, but…”

    Him: “well I think restaurants should be open, people gotta eat.”


  23. So many to choose from:
    – Pen clicker: click, click, click, click, click, click, all through meetings
    – Mr. Flatulence who think no one notices his constant gas attacks (in our small office)
    – Miss “I’m now a food expert and health nut and you’re all eating wrong and I’m now going to take every opportunity to ‘inform’ everyone every time the rest of you eat anything” (even bananas, yogurt, or other healthy stuff)
    – The one upper: just like the SNL skit, I’ve done everything better than you, more than you, twice as good as you, etc.
    – The brown noser: I bring weekly treats, but only for the VPs, you assistants will just have to watch them eat them and then clean up after them

  24. I hate the people that clip their fingernails in the cafeteria during lunch. Can’t they do that at home? No one wants to clean up your clippings, urgh.

    I had one co worker that brought a boom box with him to every area he was assigned to. Not only was his music annoying, the fact that he had to position it just so, and make sure his radio station came in clearly made it worse.

    My least favorite is what I call the Weasel. They report anything and everything they don’t like about their coworkers to the highest level of management available.

    1. The Weasel reminds me of the manager I work with who feels compelled to escalate everything to me about my people (I’m also a manager). I usually just respond with “did you talk to them directly about it?”
      Unless it’s a flagrant violation (which it never is), everything does not need to be escalated to me!

  25. Of course I have annoying co-workers! We all work in an open environment. The person who sits next to me uses his phone in speakermode almost exclusively. The people across from me are constantly loud and chatty, talking about politics, religion, sports, etc. And finally there is my boss – he loves to hoard information so he never told me I wasn’t hired for an internal job I applied to, nor did he tell me I won an award.

  26. Aside from your annoying co-workers stories, as an employee what annoys you the most in HR or HR departments? Can you share your stories? I really need your response! 🙂

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