Top 12 Workplace Pet Peeves

Little did I know what a chord I would strike with  Top 10 Etiquette Blunders . But a chord it did strike. And since then I have hea
April 04, 2011

Little did I know what a chord I would strike with Top 10 Etiquette Blunders. But a chord it did strike. And since then I have heard from a lot of people about what’s bugging them at work. And it‘s not just etiquette my friends.


So here we go again. After hearing your cries and looking at some related surveys, I offer you your Top 12 Work/Office Pet Peeves.


1. Gossip: Randstad, a leading staffing firm and workforce solutions provider, recently commissioned a survey that asked more than 1,000 employed U.S. adults what their work pet peeves were.


Gossip was ranked near the top, being mentioned by more than a third of the respondents. A different survey ranked gossip at No. 1, with more than 60% of the respondents saying it is their top work pet peeve. Of course it’s not hard to understand why. Gossip is corrosive. Gossip splinters and divides. It hurts the one being gossiped about and diminishes the gossiper. And it is also often wrong.


2. Poor time management: This actually ranked #1 in the Randstad survey (43%) and that makes sense. At a time when employees are being asked to do more, with less, anyone who wastes time is a drag on the business—personally, professionally, time-wise, and colloquially.


3. Not understanding what a closed door means: I heard about this from many people. Suzy B’s email was illustrative:


“The next time you write about office etiquette and manners (or the lack thereof) would you include the following: If my office door is closed, don't tap once and then open the door and come right on in. Instead, the polite thing to do is knock, wait for me to respond and then, if I say please come in, come in. Otherwise to barge in when the door is closed is disrespectful and rude whether you have tapped lightly or not.”


4. Pranks are not that funny: With all due respect to Jim Halpert and Dwight Shrute, not a few people mentioned that pranks are not all that loved.


5. Loud talkers and speakerphone abusers: I was surprised at this one, but it is clearly an issue that many people do not liking having to deal with. The problem takes different forms: People who speak too loudly generally, those who talk to loudly on work phone calls (or worse, private calls), people who try and speak over their headphones, and most annoying apparently, people who use the speakerphone when a regular call would do just fine.


6. Boss boorishness: No one likes being reprimanded at work, but it’s all the worse when your boss does it in front of others. Equally irritating is the condescending boss, closely followed by the micro-manager. Who woulda thunk that setting a good example would be so difficult?


7. The coffee jerk: It seems that there are a lot of people out there who love to take the last cuppa Joe, but apparently hate making a new pot. That the empty pot sits on the hot burner all day, creating a ghastly smell does not faze them either. The other culprit here is the employee who makes some brewing mistake while making a pot, only to leave the ensuing mess for someone else to clean up.


8. The copier jerk: You know this type, right? This is the person who uses the last of the paper in the tray but fails to add more before they leave. Or it’s the person who jams up the machine and casually walks away without fixing it, leaving the problem for you—when you are on deadline of course.


9. Email hell: People really do not like it, and notice it, when someone hits “reply all” only so as to let everyone know that they are on it! Worse: they aren’t really on it and their reply adds nothing of value.


10. The eavesdropper: What with so many people working in open spaces and small cubicles these days, it is all the more important to give them their privacy when it is obviously needed. Eavesdropping is never OK.


11. The sick leaver: This is a big issue for the bosses out there (and not a few co-workers too.) Abusing sick leave makes things harder all the way around for everyone.


12. TMI: Your casual co-workers are not really interested in your personal grooming habits, polyp problems, or your latest health crisis. There is a fine line between casually sharing some chit chat and confiding intimate details. Unless you are close friends with the person, avoid sharing too much information.


Other issues that almost made the list: People who use too much jargon, bosses who give assignments on Friday afternoon and expect it done on Monday, and inappropriate dress.