10 Annoying, Irritating, And Absolutely Unbearable Co-Worker Behaviors That You Deal With Every Day

Oh look, your coworker's changing their pants in their cubicle again.

1. SIGHING, WHISTLING, HUMMING, THROAT CLEARING, AND FOOT SHAKING

"He sits a few open desks away from me, and I swear he sighs deeply *every* time he gets an email, as if the very task of working really cuts into his day. He also likes to mumble and use breathy exclamations like "Really?!" and 'Maaaaaaaaan.'"

2. NAIL CLIPPING

"About once a week, I have to DUCK because my co-worker (who sits approximately 6 feet away from me) decides it's perfectly normal to CLIP HIS FINGERNAILS at his cubicle. I can hear the little nail-bits ricocheting off of various surfaces around our work-space..."

3. EATING SMELLY FOOD, AND SMELLING IN GENERAL

"The disgusting scent of fish at lunch time. We still haven't been able to figure out who the culprit is but I hate them."

4. BEING A NOISY EATER

"It is amazing to me how loudly some people eat. Chewing with your mouth open is obvious, but it drives me nuts to be able to to hear someone chew or swallow or slurp."

5. TOO MUCH TALKING

"There is a co-worker who knows she is a loud talker. She's admits it yet has no inclination to try and control the volume of her voice. She also strikes her desk for emphasis when she's feeling strongly about something. It is like a monster movie where you look at your cup of water it is rippling to signal danger."

6. PLAYING MUSIC SOFTLY IN THE OFFICE, OR BLASTING IT WAY TO LOUD IN HEADPHONES

"Headphones with music turned up so loud I can hear it, all of it, and end up singing along because I can't concentrate anyway."

7. NOT DOING WORK

"Colleagues who cue up videos on YouTube and turn their laptop around to let you watch, as you're trying to get some work done or meet a deadline. Close cousin of the YouTube clip is music: office-wide exposure of crap music."

8. DESK PIT STOPS

"It is too common for people to stop by my desk through out the day to talk about absolutely NOTHING."

9. NOT WEARING PANTS

"At my first professional position as an administrative assistant, part of my job was to deliver the mail to all the cubicles. One of them was kind of hidden away in a corner, occupied by a woman who had 'worked' there for the past 35 years. I walked in on her standing in front of a fan, in panties. She said she was 'airing out.'"

10. SCREEN SPYING

"People walk by my desk all day on their way to the printer and they look at my computer screen on the way there. I like to work without spying eyes."

10 Annoying, Irritating, And Absolutely Unbearable Co-Worker Behaviors That You Deal With Every Day

Oh look, your coworker's changing his pants in his cubicle again.

Last week we asked you to share the worst things about working in an open-office. But we also threw in a bonus question:

What annoying co-worker behavior are you forced to tolerate?

In total, we received nearly 200 submissions from fed up readers like you. Many of those (which focus strictly on a dislike of open-offices) have already been featured in an article, published earlier this week.

But what about your co-workers? Those people you are forced to work along side of regardless of how high your cubicle walls.

If there's one thing we learned from your answers it's this: If you trim your toenails at your desk you need to stop. Now. Seriously.

Here for your enjoyment are your most common gripes, distilled into 10 categories:

1. Sighing, whistling, humming, throat clearing, and foot shaking

Donny Downer: He sits a few open desks away from me, and I swear he sighs deeply *every* time he gets an email, as if the very task of working really cuts into his day. He also likes to mumble and use breathy exclamations like "Really?!" and "Maaaaaaaaan."

Humming. I had no idea how much people hum until this job.

Whistling. Dear God please make it stop...

2. Nail clipping

The nail clipping. Yes, nail clipping. I don't know if he had some sort of compulsion, or the fastest growing fingernails known to humankind, but everyday I would hear the inevitable *clip* *clip* *clip.* On a good day, clippings wouldn't fly onto my desk or into my hair. On a bad day..well...

I get hear my co-workers clip their finger nails . . . and toe nails (yuck). I have had someone change their clothes in the cubicle behind me even though we have a secure quiet room.

About once a week, I have to DUCK because my co-worker (who sits approximately 6 feet away from me) decides it's perfectly normal to CLIP HIS FINGERNAILS at his cubicle. I can hear the little nail-bits ricocheting off of various surfaces around our work-space...

3. Eating Smelly Food, And Smelling In General

The disgusting scent of fish at lunch time. We still haven't been able to figure out who the culprit is but I hate them.

The smells in my area are really bad. We have smokers, curry eaters, and nasty farts.

The oppressive smell of the food they eat, almost always something unhealthy.The noise and smell of their various bodily functions.

4. Being A Noisy Eater

Loudly chewing potato chips. Shaking their salad containers for 5 minutes to distribute the dressing.

It is amazing to me how loudly some people eat. Chewing with your mouth open is obvious, but it drives me nuts to be able to to hear someone chew or swallow or slurp.

5. Talking—on the phone, to co-workers, to anyone.

There is a co-worker who knows she is a loud talker. She's admits it yet has no inclination to try and control the volume of her voice. She also strikes her desk for emphasis when she's feeling strongly about something. It is like a monster movie where you look at your cup of water it is rippling to signal danger.

Twiddle-Dee-Know-It and Twiddle-Dee-All: These two sit in desks next to each other. They know all the latest breaking news from TMZ to Huffington Post. Sometimes they share their knowledge with the whole room intentionally, but mostly they just talk among themselves—with megaphones, apparently.

The woman next to me who thinks it's ok to ask questions all day via gchat then poke me on the arm when I don't respond, then rolls her eyes when I have a question.

Talking to significant others on the phone. Scheduling doctor appointments on the phone. Fighting with their kids on the phone. Checking voice messages on speakerphone.

6. Playing Music Softly In The Office, Or Blasting It Way To Loud In Headphones

There's always this guy that pushes our policy to bring your own headphones to its limit by listening heavy metal at max volume. Since he's technically complying to the rules, so he's free to ignore us when we say anything about it.

Headphones with music turned up so load I can hear it, all of it, and end up singing along because I can't concentrate anyway.

Someone has music blaring from headphones so loud I can hear it across the room.

7. Not Doing Work

Trying to work while a five-person Call of Duty battle is underway behind you, trying to research as your co-workers discuss the latest developments in their friends' romantic entanglements, being forced to listen to your coworkers' gossip/crushes/rants when you just want to finish work and go home.

Colleagues cue up videos on YouTube and turn their laptop around to let you watch, too, as you're trying to get some work done or meet a deadline. Close cousin of the YouTube clip is music — office-wide exposure of crap music.

Bros talking about deadlifts while clipping their toenails, throwing balls over cube spaces, dart tournaments between cube hallways and explaining the nuances of Walter White in a volume three times louder than the sound of keyboard typing, air conditioner fans and 6 phones ringing at the same time.

8. Desk Pit Stops

It is too common for people to stop by my desk through out the day to talk about absolutely NOTHING.

Impromptu meetings right next to my cubicle. They block the walking areas and force everyone around to pretend they're not listening. It's rude. Additionally, an open-office environment somehow convinces people that any desk that doesn't have someone sitting in it right then is up for grabs. How many times have I walked in to find someone making themselves at home at my desk?

9. Not Wearing Pants

The "not wearing pants." At my first professional position as an administrative assistant, part of my job was to deliver the mail to all the cubicles. One of them was kind of hidden away in a corner, occupied by a woman who had "worked" there for the past 35 years. I walked in on her standing in front of a fan, in panties. She said she was "airing out."

10. Screen Spying

People walk by my desk all day on their way to the printer and they look at my computer screen on the way there. I like to work without spying eyes.

[Image: Flickr user Sara Zollino]

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28 Comments

  • Gee Whizz

    I get 3 loads of music, loud, awful and drum beat only. Constantly throbbing head, eyes aching from 10 hours staring at a screen and it all gets too much. Are these kind people aware of their impact? Or just sharing caring R.Soles

  • JT

    There was this woman a cube over who gnawed on ice chips all damn day. So annoying!! I confronted her about it but she still kept doing it. She could have easily gone to the break room or excused herself to go chew on her ice from her cup. Take 15 minutes!! It later turned into carrots and celery sticks. Told the manager and she said she would let her know to be aware of people's privacy. Notta. The woman still was loud as can be. People amaze me some times.

  • Barbara Ferrell

    I have a coworker who apparently is dying of some gawd-awful snot infection, because she sniffssniffssniffssniffsniffffffs her nose. Every. Five. Minutes. Listening to her constantly horking that booger back up is like being water boarded 8 hours a day. In her honor, I have created a workplace haiku:

    Trapped in my office My poor brain begs for mercy God, please stop the phlegm

  • sima

    I share the room with 3-4 other people. One of them starts they day by clearing his throat, repeatedly, 5-6 times a minute. Recently he has started bringing a water bottle to work and keeps drinking probably because he has a dry throat. The problem is that the water bottle has a plastic head and every time he drinks water from it, which is at least 5-6 times a minute, he produces a disgusting sucking noise that just drives me crazy.

    I've tried wearing earplugs, but they're not enough to cover the sounds he makes. I don't know what to do with him. I would ask my boss to move him to another room, is we had another room to move him to!

  • dexter.ritty

    The guy on the other side of the cubicle wall cannot possibly get more annoying. Daily, I need earplugs or headphones/music to drown out his political talk radio (seems counter-intuitive for me to have MY headphones on to counter this noise, but it does help). Also, he wears his coat at his desk, yet keeps a small fan blowing all day. This fan is white noise that surely lulls me to sleep (another reason I need headphones/music). When he changes his shoes, the fan blows the odor to my area. Likewise, his lunches are overly ripe fruit that smells disgusting, and I am treated to this because of that infernal little noisy fan.
    The boss will do nothing, as these complaints might seem like exaggerations from a malcontent. What CAN he do? I expect nothing except my tolerating it, and I do. In 2015, co-worker will be relocated to a room where there will be 3 others with him. I hate to be nasty, but at a point the 3 have gone crazy, I can finally say "See? I told u about this guy!"

  • I have an annoying coworker too...

    everyone is greeting me but not this asshole. If the boss comes in, he jumps up, yells "here you are!" (to the boss) and asks him how he is doing, hello hello... I love you, - then talks for hours about soccer.

    His phone is ringing and then I have always to say to the caller that the (annoing) coworker is not here, he will call you back.

    The coworker who is talking shit about everyone.

    The coworker is loud and talks like on cocaine.

    The coworker is not working all the time. He takes a cigarette break every 30 minutes. (from what?)

    The boss is not doing anything because the asshole coworker is just kissing his ass I guess. They even eat every day together.

    I really hate my job because of this one single coworker... When he is away for vacation or so I really start enjoying my job and life. I wish he was gone. Dear jesus, allah, buddah, please make him disappear.

  • HowToDeal

    I guess I relate most with #1. I have a coworker, who after each email he receives swears or bangs on his desk, spending most of the day bashing the job. It really poison's the work environment, yet nothing is ever done by management. It's gotten to a point where they've rotated everyone who's sat around him until now finally me as I seem to tolerate it the most, but I have my breaking point. Anyone have any advice on how to best address this without snapping and shaking him like a baby, or putting in an elaborate plan to find a new job in another department? Don't want to get him fired in this economy. I understand there are many determining factors for his behavior, stress, i've offered to help him but it's been received negatively.. Thanks

  • Chris Reich

    People seem to be missing the thrust of this article. The slobbing of America is annoying and that annoyance does indeed diminish productivity. It's not necessary to wear a tux but when the staff is wearing sweats and flip-flops, the over casual attire contributes to an overly casual work pace. This, by the way, isn't the only standard that has slipped. People are lazy with language too. And this leads to lazy thinking. You may be in an exceptional environment; I accept that.

  • Dirk Tengg

    I work in an office with both Europeans and Americans. The Europeans are by far the best dressed, yet stylish and comfortable at the same time. Americans have a hard time with style and comfortable tends to be just sloppy, and when they do try to be "well-dressed" it comes off overdone and just plain boring in their stiff business attire. It isn't just that Americans are "slobs" or are "too casual" ... Americans are simply lacking in style.

  • Vaalea D

    what? what's annoying is co-workers and management that think you are only doing a good job if you dress 'professionally' and come in early. No.

  • Walter King Jenkins

    You forgot about the really annoying cell phone ring tone that goes off every 30 minutes.

  • Chris Reich

    All kidding aside, the slobbish behaviors you point out are diminishing productivity. As the dress codes were abandoned, so were the codes of conduct. The lax behavior that comes from lax appearance bleeds into lazy workmanship and poor customer service.