It's amazing that a company can put dozens or even hundreds of people together in a tight cubicle environment, and yet somehow they manage to get along and for the most part be productive. Certainly, some people's idiosyncrasies can get on the nerves of others. Of course, many simply tolerate those annoyances rather than stir up conflict and disharmony.
Here is a list of common irritations that are rarely called out despite how annoying they can be. If any of your co-workers are habitual offenders, simply send them this list. They will likely agree with you on some, especially in regard to others in the office, and at the same time they will become more self-aware. Better check it for your own offenses while you're at it.
1. Taking loud personal calls.
Some people just don't realize how loud they are when talking to their friends and family. If you are a loud talker, take the call outside or wait until a break or after work.
2. Singing with headphones on.
Even if you're a great singer, you don't need to serenade the entire office. And of course, when you have headphones on, you have no idea how loud you really are. Besides, you might be like those early American Idol contestants who only think they are great. Save the public performance for your shower, or at least the car ride home.
3. Keeping dirty dishes at your desk.
Old food smells and is unsightly. No matter how busy you are, you should still have 10 minutes to wash your lunch dishes.
4. Taking smoke breaks and not freshening up.
You're a smoker, so you've lost your sense of smell. But the people who don't smoke can smell you as soon as you walk back in the door, and it's offensive. If you have to smoke, wash your hands and rinse your mouth with mouthwash when you're finished. Better yet, just quit smoking.
5. Constantly correcting people.
Everyone makes mistakes, and for the most part, won't mind being corrected once in a while. But no one wants to be held up to constant scrutiny for every little grammar error or misuse of a word. Decide if you are adding real value with your corrections, and cut people some slack.
6. Microwaving your fish.
It smells horrible. Figure out something for lunch that doesn't make everyone else in the office gag.
7. Being the only one talking during a team meeting.
Even if you are the one in charge, the purpose of a meeting is to share ideas and information. Give someone else a chance to speak. Who knows, you might actually learn that others are valuable as well.
8. Bringing in personal drama.
When every morning is a new 45-minute story about how your on-again, off-again girlfriend made you angry... again, or about your overly obsessive mother-in-law, you're sucking the energy out of your co-workers. They likely feel so bad for you that they won't tell you how fed-up they are with your constant issues. If life is so bad, please deal with it or see a therapist. Otherwise, leave the drama at the door.
9. Wearing too much cologne.
A good rule of thumb is perfume or cologne should be apparent only to someone who is your intimate, i.e., close enough to hug you. Besides that, many people are allergic to perfumes and artificial smells. No one should be able to smell you in a professional environment. Keep up your hygiene and keep the cologne to a minimum.
10. Overusing industry jargon and acronyms.
If you are the only one who understands what you are saying, what is the point of communicating in the first place? Overusing insider terms doesn't make you look smart, only uncaring.
11. Frequently over-sharing.
No one needs to know every detail of every incident in your life. People don't need to be updated if you have to go to the bathroom or if your 8-year-old got a B on their midterm report card. Choose to share the few really important and interesting happenings, and people will be more inclined to listen.
12. Trimming your nails at your desk.
Why do some people think their desk is a manicure shop? Keep your nail trimmer in your bathroom at home, where it belongs. And yes, the entire office can smell when you change your nail color at your cubicle.
13. Stealing food.
It is incredibly frustrating for someone to go to the fridge only to find their food is missing. It costs them money, and now they have to find something else to eat. If you didn't bring it, and it hasn't been explicitly designated communal, don't eat it.
14. Blaming others for your mistakes.
Most people in an office are astute enough to know who is responsible when things go wrong. You might get away with blaming someone else once or twice, but patterns do emerge, and then you are simply hurting yourself. Step up and be accountable for your actions.
15. Hitting "reply all" without discretion.
The world has enough email. You don't need to exacerbate the situation by sending a message intended for one person to the 35 people who were copied in. Think before you send, and only include those necessary for the conversation.
Sure, it seems fun to speculate and spread stories, but people get hurt and internal relationships get damaged. You need people to support you. No salaciousness is worth making enemies over.
17. Coming to work sick.
Lots of people in a tight office space is only slightly less of a petri dish than an airplane. If you're feeling punky, for everyone else's sake, please work from home. That's why you have internet.
18. Giving presentations with too much text on each slide.
Why would you stand and read a mountain of text from the screen, or worse, expect everyone else to do that in the middle of a meeting? Be concise on your slides and provide the need-to-know information.
19. Texting during one-to-one conversations.
Hellooo! I'm right in front of you. Be present in OUR conversation. Your BFF can wait a few minutes until we are done.
20. Being critical without giving constructive feedback.
"Could you do that better?" is not a helpful way to communicate. Be specific about what needs to be improved or else keep it to yourself until you have a more productive way forward.
21. Not being able to take constructive feedback.
No one has time for your defensiveness or excuses. Listen with appreciation and take corrective action. Remember, someone actually cared enough to help you.
22. Not making eye contact during conversation.
You get so much more from a conversation when you make eye contact. Without it, you seem dismissive and disrespectful.
23. Constantly talking about how stressed you are.
In today's high-pressure work environment, everyone has stress. When you go on about it, all you do is show people you are not in control, or that you're an avid complainer. Neither serves you or the community. Learn how to manage your stress.
24. Dressing too casually.
No, yoga pants, sweats, or pajamas are not acceptable attire for most professional offices. Even in casual environments, your clothes speak to your image and commitment.
25. Not responding to emails.
No one has the time to chase you. A range of 24 to 48 hours is a perfectly reasonable response time, even if only to say you'll get back when you have more information. There's no need to leave people hanging.
26. Not asking others how they're feeling or doing.
You don't need to be disingenuous with your inquiries, but people can sense when you are so self- absorbed that no one else matters. If you care for those around you, express it. If not, perhaps you should become a solo-preneur.
27. Excessively using profanity.
Hey, I am a happy resident of New York, where cussing has been elevated to an art form, but it has its limitations. If you want to maintain respect in general society, err on the side of discretion.
28. Making bold statements without fact-checking.
People who throw out absolute statements when they haven't done the homework lose credibility and are easily dismissed. Dial back the hyperbole or back it up.
29. Talking badly about your boss.
Most likely not everyone thinks the boss is an ogre. Your constant complaining simply highlights that the problem may be your negative attitude or conflict avoidance. Deal with the situation directly or lighten up.
30. Checking Facebook or social media constantly during the workday.
Social media can surely be addictive, but unless you manage it for the company, it is a major distraction from the thing you are at work to do, which is work. The more you involve others in your avoidance of work, the more annoyed they will get when they find themselves behind.
31. Not asking enough questions when given the chance, then making a mistake as a result.
After a while, people get used to seeing this train wreck coming. You must take accountability for your own tasks and get the required information for success. Otherwise, no one will depend upon you.
32. Gushing about your fiancee and your wedding.
They get it: you're getting married. Of course you're excited. But the entire office does not need to live an episode of Bridezilla everyday. Treat this event like any other personal event and keep it appropriately personal.
33. Not participating in team-building activities or reunions.
Everyone is busy and has lives outside of work. This can make people reticent to put in extra time hanging out with co-workers. However, social interaction with colleagues is important, whether it be for activities after work, holiday parties, or even just for lunch. Being the only one who didn't show up shows you just don't care.
34. Not showing appreciation when others help you.
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. If you are simply a taker, without ever saying thank you or expressing appreciation, people will simply stop doing things for you and recognize you for the selfish person you are.