Date posted: 2/02/2017 3 min read

The eight most annoying workplace habits

How many of these eight annoying things are you guilty of doing in the workplace?

In brief

  • How many of these eight annoying things are you guilty of doing in the workplace?
  • People can often be oblivious to how their actions are affecting other people
  • The single most annoying thing you can do in the workplace is...

8. Being too politically correct

“I refuse to be politically correct – I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness,” declared US President Donald Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 US Presidential election.  

While we’re certainly not condoning any Trump-esque level of offensive behaviour in the workplace, political correctness has become unnecessarily stifling and in 2017 it could do to be reined in. Being too sensitive in the workplace can cause issues that really shouldn’t be issues. Of course, common sense and common decency should dictate where the line is drawn here.

7. Phone on the throne

We all now carry smartphones on our person, providing an easy source of both distraction and entertainment while we go about the more mundane facets of the day to day. This can tempt us to draw out these mundane tasks.  

While we’re not suggesting workplace policies be amended to include a “no phone while on the throne” clause – although I have first-hand experience in a workplace that did enforce such a policy – be mindful of not drawing out toilet breaks as you browse news websites and get your Facebook fix. It tends not to go unnoticed.

6. Typing too loud

Noise pollution from banging away on a keyboard isn’t merely the ugly audible by-product of anger – a lot of the time it can simply be the result of fast typing.  

In any case, until keyboard designers cotton on and reduce the noise their creations can emit, it’s worth keeping in mind how loud you can be when giving your keyboard a quality workout. I mean, it’s enough to warrant the playing of loud music to tune it out, which leads to our next point…

5. Playing music too loud

As the Tower Records slogan proudly stated until the iconic company sadly closed its doors for good in 2006, no music, no life.  

Whether it’s a quiet radio or Spotify playlist humming in the background for everyone’s aural pleasure or an individual blocking out distractions via music playing through headphones as they churn through their workload, music has a clear place in the workplace.  

Music can lighten the mood and motivate a workplace, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’re listening via headphones that you’re not disturbing those around you.

4. Talking overly loud on the phone

While many occupations, such as sales or marketing, require a certain gift of the gab, don’t be mistaken for thinking that everyone around you wants to tune in.  

Keep your boisterous barometer on and if you know you’re going to be on a long or loud call, it might be worth booking a meeting room or taking the call in a less populated area of the office. And never use the speakerphone unless it’s absolutely necessary.

3. Being offended by swearing

Swearing can now be accepted as a normal part of Australian discourse and culture. In fact, in 2012 leading Australian lawyer Jamie White successfully argued in court that the word f-word has become so commonplace in everyday Australian language that it can no longer be deemed offensive under trademark rules.  

In the contemporary workplace, professionalism and profanity can co-exist, provided a modicum of common sense is exercised. Of course, swearing to intentionally offend, abuse or hurt someone cannot and should not be tolerated in any workplace. But who doesn’t want to let out a sigh of “for f*cks sake!” or a dejected cry of “bullsh*t” when a laptop freezes at deadline or when the office printer fails on you? Don’t be the person who gets offended by that.

2. Organising too many meetings

Meetings are a necessity of business, but they can also be detrimental to business. We’ve all looked at our calendars and rolled our eyes at the sight of back-to-back… to back… to back meetings colleagues have lined up for us.  

Before you send your colleagues that next calendar invite, first ask yourself if the issue at hand really requires a meeting to be resolved. And if it does, be sure to only invite the people who legitimately need to be there.

1. Not realising when you are being annoying

The single most annoying thing you can do in the workplace is not realise when you are being annoying. If you don’t know you’re bothering your colleagues, then you can’t stop bothering your colleagues. 

It’s amazing how often we can be oblivious to how our actions are affecting other people. Put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes and consider how your actions could be impacting those around you.