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COMPANY CULTURE

Office Etiquette Fail: Things to Stop Doing Today

From personal phone calls to clipping nails at your desk, here's a slew of things you shouldn't do in the office.
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In an effort to remove barriers to working together and foster collaboration, many companies have taken down old-school cubicles in favor of more open spaces. Those cavernous, lofty work spaces sure look awesome--but is all this openness a little too open and are co-workers starting to get on each other's nerves?

From typing too loudly to personal phone calls to the loathsome habit of clipping nails at a desk, let's examine some common habits that might be annoying the hell out of your office neighbors and causing trouble in the workplace.

Save It For the Bathroom, Please

One of the top things that peeve co-workers is personal hygiene being conducted at the desk or in shared office areas. The biggest offenders include clipping nails (fingers and, yes, toes), flossing teeth and putting on a full face of makeup.

And apparently, some bosses participate in this behavior, too. The product marketing director at my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, shared her story about a time when one of her bosses took off his shoes and socks in a meeting, put his feet on the table and proceeded to clip his toenails. I'm not kidding. This same boss also cleaned his ears with the pull-back tab from a coffee cup lid during another meeting. Imagine trying to carry on a professional conversation while that's happening?! The director ended up politely excusing herself from the room, but she could have also let her boss know his bare feet and nail clipping made her feel uncomfortable so she wouldn't have to get up and leave each time it happened.

Your Noises Are Putting People Over the Edge

When you sit in close proximity to others, the little things can start to grate on people. Even though the sight of people with headphones listening to the latest tunes on Spotify is now commonplace at work, you can't block it all out. Some of the offenses that people cite as annoying include ongoing throat clearing, coughing, sniffing and piercing laughter. Loud typing, finger drumming and taking conference calls on speaker phone also are common workplace offenders. If this gets your goat, it's fine to communicate with the person making the noise and politely ask them to turn down the volume, etc. The key here is mutual respect and keeping it professional.

Kitchen Nightmares

Having a kitchen in your office is a great benefit, but can lead to all kinds of annoyances big and small. We once found a pair of running shoes in our common freezer! Why? The owner of the sneakers claimed that the freezer kills the bacteria that makes running shoes smell and thought nothing wrong of placing them in there. Understandably, her co-workers didn't share her rationale.

Some other kitchen faux pas include not cleaning up after yourself, leaving a sink full of dishes, not making coffee when the pot is empty, not running the dishwasher, and cooking overly fragrant foods like fish, popcorn and broccoli. Have you encountered any of these kitchen offenses? Most often, these things can be addressed directly. Most people get that they should clean up after themselves, they often are just busy and forget. A little reminder and nudge can go a long way.

Too Much Information

We've all encountered the colleague who feels a bit too comfortable with co-workers, sharing intimate details of her latest date or every last detail about his kid's school field trip. And if the oversharer doesn't get you, then you might have a Chatty Cathy in the ranks who spends a good chunk of the day with her endless chatter about everything under the sun, distracting you and everyone around her. If you've got one of these folks in your crew you can let them know you love to chat, but you've got a lot of deadlines and need to tend to your work first.

One of the last examples I've got is the co-worker who takes her cell phone into the restroom and proceeds to have a conversation while doing her "business." My question is, what do you do when it's time to flush? I got my answer when my product marketing director told me about the time she was on the phone with her VP when all of a sudden she heard it--the sound of a flush!

Do you witness these common co-worker annoyances happening in your office? Got any you want to add to the list? Let's hear 'em and how you deal in the comments below!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

Last updated: Jun 14, 2013

JANINE POPICK

Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and social media marketing tools for small businesses. The company was ranked No. 4,882 on the 2013 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick




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