What is your pet hate at the office? What annoys you the most about your colleagues? What can you just not stand about your boss? See if you agree with this top 10 of the most annoying behaviours currently plaguing the 21st century office

10. Noisy eaters, talkers and tappers 

Don’t we all love the co-worker who incessantly taps their foot, fingers, pens or pencils? Of course we do. Loud, out-of-rhythm tapping, the result of either misguided drummer aspirations or restless limb syndrome, is absolutely every office worker’s favourite sound.

At number 10, we also have those colleagues who blast music out of their headphones so that the rest of the office can hear. We have those who eat with their mouths open, so that we all hear every crunch, or slurp their soup in the loudest manner possible. There’s the colleagues who talk or laugh so loudly it’s like they want the next building (or town) to hear. And then there are the colleagues who insist on always talking on speakerphone for, well, no reason at all.

noisy co-workers - annoying office behaviours

9. Lateness

Lateness is an obvious bugbear for managers who want to see their staff hard at work during the hours they are paying them. There are workers who turn up late for work; workers who turn up on time and spend ten minutes making coffee and chatting; workers who come back late from lunch; and workers who do all of this but leave bang on half 5 at the end of the day. These are the ones that really grate on bosses.

But lateness annoys co-workers too, particularly if you’re waiting for someone to start a meeting and their tardiness means the meeting doesn’t finish on time.

8. The inappropriate co-worker

Many of us have come across the slightly creepy co-worker or boss who thinks it’s funny to make a joke about breasts or bums. The one who recommends that a particular colleague deal with a task/client because of certain physical ‘assets’. Then there’s the one who gets drunk at the Christmas party and becomes overly familiar with the support staff.

7. Laziness

Laziness can be an irritation for both managers and co-workers, particularly if one co-worker ends up with more work because another can’t be bothered. The worst culprits are those who are inherently lazy but pretend to be busy, thereby carefully avoiding the line of fire – well, until the manager sees their figures, of course. Other offenders include those who play dumb when asked to do something, just so you’ll ask someone else.

6. Mess

At number 6, we have those colleagues who leave smelly leftovers and used cups and plates all over their desks. This becomes particularly annoying when your colleague’s continual failure to wash up after themselves causes the rest of the office to run out of cutlery or crockery. Of course, there are also those colleagues who do wash up after themselves, but are in obvious need of taking a course in it, judging by the food, grease and coffee remnants left on everything.

Here we also have those colleagues who make food or drinks but leave the kitchen in a mess – sugar granules, spillages or flakes of lettuce remaining on the work surfaces. Then there’s that incessantly frustrating person who always has tea with the teabag left in, and when disposing of the dregs, drops the teabag into the sink so that someone else has to come and fish it out.

Messy woman - annoying office behaviours

5. The “me, me, me” colleague

We’ve all known one of these, the poor sap of a co-worker who seems to think the entire universe revolves around them. This is the co-worker who, if you ask them about their weekend, they give you a long and detailed breakdown and never ask you about yours. This is the co-worker who, when you’re desperately trying to write that urgent email, they’re in your ear with stories about their kids, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, dogs, cats, gerbils, mother-in-laws and holidays.

However, these colleagues can be helpful – because we can use them to practise our ‘zoning out’ skills.

4. The “I know everything and I’m better than you” colleague

Here we have the unfortunate co-worker afflicted with an acute case of arrogance. This is the co-worker who constantly proclaims their own virtues and talks down to colleagues, including those who are at the same level. These are the ones who have an answer for everything, even when they’re wrong. The ones who believe they’ve seen it all, done it all and know what’s best.

If you went rock climbing at the weekend, this co-worker has climbed Everest. If you’ve won an award for something, this co-worker has won ten far superior awards. If you did really well in that presentation/task/case and garnered praise from the boss, this co-worker has done something far better and the boss is worshipping the ground they walk on.

I once called a co-worker “arrogant” and “controlling”. Her response was, “So I’m a natural leader – what of it?” It goes to show that these co-workers’ deficit – in most cases – is self-awareness.

3. Horrible bosses

We’ve all encountered that eternally perplexing species of boss known as the ‘horrible boss’. Here we have the boss who forgets their manners when they walk into the office. The boss who radiates superiority, enjoys barking orders (sometimes forgetting they’re not actually working in an army barracks) and treats the staff like unruly children. The boss who offloads their stress on the staff. The boss who thinks it’s appropriate to tell their employee how poor their work is in front of the rest of the office. The boss with obsessive compulsive disorder, who gets in an exaggerated tiz when you don’t use a tray for carrying cups of tea – because they don’t believe you’re adult enough to carry tea without supervision.

2. Toilet crimes

Don’t we just love the co-worker who relentlessly leaves the toilet seat up? Or is your favourite the one who pees on the seat and leaves it? At number 2, we also have those who think it’s perfectly acceptable to not wash their hands after using the loo, and worse, those who’ve forgotten how to flush.

1. Food crimes

Frequently topping surveys of the most annoying behaviours in the office are reprehensible acts involving food. This might be stealing your co-worker’s tasty-looking sandwich. It might be leaving that leftover lasagne or chicken salad in the fridge for months until it starts growing new life. It might be creating an unwelcome and lingering pong eating stinky food at your desk. Or perhaps you’re someone who cooks fish in the office microwave and the odour becomes embedded in the carpets.

Eating in the office - annoying office behaviours

Is your pet hate included in this list? What would make it onto your list of the most annoying behaviours in the office?