A survey of 2,500 office workers carried out at the end of 2012 revealed that the most annoying trait amongst their colleagues was noisy eating. Not surprisingly, general messiness, smelly food and irritating habits were also high up on the list of general gripes. But it got me thinking, other than the above examples, what is it that winds YOU up at work? Here are five of my own personal favourites.
At number five, what I like to call ‘the sarcastic welcomer’ i.e. the person who pipes up with 'good afternoon' delivered in the most annoying and sarcastic tone whenever anyone arrives at work after them in the mornings. They also tend to throw in for good measure how it was “really quiet” when they themselves arrived just as dawn was breaking. The correct response to this is, of course, to say ‘get a life you sad, insomniacal fool’, but instead you’ll probably find yourself laughing along with them as they roll out the same tired old line each morning.
At number four, come’s ‘the late starter’. Always at least 5 minutes tardy for everything, timetables and alarm clocks simply have no meaning in their life. They are not very good at endearing themselves to their colleagues when a pre-arranged early morning meeting’s involved either. Indeed, whilst they burst in late full of apologies and proceed to sip on their skinny frapuccino, munch on a chocolate croissant and play catch up, the rest of their ‘team’ have to make do with tap water or drinks machine coffee. So annoying!
In at number three, another highly irritating character that nearly every workplace is all too familiar with – ‘the moth martyr’. This person quite simply works all the hours that God sends. As long as there is a light burning in the office, they’ll be attracted to it, rather than having a life like the rest of us. What’s more, they can't resist letting all of their colleagues know about it. They'll sigh and say "Oh looks like another long night for me. I'll probably just get a pizza delivered or something". Why? Why is it that it takes them so much longer than everyone else to do exactly the same job? And why do they tend to get looked upon as being the blue eyed boy or girl for choosing to have no work life balance?
Number two? The phone call terminator. This is the highly irritating character that just can’t wait for you to finish talking to whoever you’re on he phone too. They’ve absolutely no idea who it is at the other end of the line, but will stand there making gestures, writing frantically on post-it notes and wildly gesticulating until you eventually hang up, fearing the worst. After all, it’s clearly a matter of some urgency. Except, guess what? It never is. You expect to be told the building’s on fire or that there’s a similar kind of crisis to deal with, only to find they simply want to ask you if you can make it to the office quiz night next week or pass on some mindless celebrity gossip that could have waited... forever.
Top of my list though (for now) is ‘the morning after moth marytyr’. The alter ego of 'the moth martyr', they can’t wait to come in to work with a little yawn and a resigned cry of ‘oooh, bit tired this morning. I was here until 11 last night!’ Well whoopee-do! I tell you what, let’s have a whip round and see if we can't buy a wooden cross, a hammer and some nails for you. At least that’s how you should respond. Chances are though, you’ll probably find yourself saying ‘Oh poor you, you must be exhausted. Can I get you a tea or maybe a black coffee?’ and then regretting being so foolish for the rest of the day.
So come on, what, or who, annoys you most in the workplace? No names, just a description please ;-)