The 8 most annoying co-workers and how to deal with them
No workplace is perfect, and even if you love your job, you’ve probably been exasperated by annoying co-workers at one time or another. Whether it’s the person who brings in tuna for lunch, or the person who takes all the credit for your work, they can make the office an exhausting, irritating place to be.
Average people are at work for around 900,000 hours of their life, so it’s hard to be suffering with the same problem people. To deal with some of the most common annoying co-workers, try out the tips below.
The fish fan
In a poll of women versus men’s top workplace bugbears, women voted smelly foods as their top annoyance. These co-workers seem to be utterly oblivious to the stench of their lunch, or the pervading scent of their B.O. They’re not being annoying on purpose, but it’s still making you feel ill five cubicles down. What do you do?
Your best bet is to have a quiet word with the offender. Be careful not to put the blame on your co-worker because you don’t want them to become defensive. Instead, say something like, ‘I have a hard time dealing with strong-smelling foods, would you consider eating your lunch in the break room?’
Related to the fish fan, smokers come back in from their smoke breaks and stink out the office with the stench of cigarettes. And why do they get to have so many breaks, when non-smokers have to stay put and keep working?
It may be worth discussing this issue with your manager or HR department. Companies aren’t legally required to allow smoking breaks, but most do. If that’s the case where you work, suggest allowing non-smokers ‘air breaks’ for the same amount of time as the smoker’s breaks.
The attention hog
This co-worker wants to talk to you about everything, from their fishing trip last weekend to their opinion about what was on TV last night. That’s great, but you have a report due in 15 minutes and they’re not getting the hint that they need to leave you alone.
The best way to deal with this type of person is to create a good defence. Make your cubicle uninviting to stay in by piling things on any extra chairs, and wear headphones, explaining that you need to concentrate. Politely reject their advances, and seek help if they don’t take the hint.
This person is constantly convinced that the world is about to end. They’re always buried under a mountain of work, suffering from some mystery illness, think they have it worse than you. They have the unique quality of sucking any energy you had as soon as you come into their vicinity. These ‘energy vampires’ are toxic because their negative mood actually starts to put a damper on your day too.
The best way to counteract their attitude is to remain calm in the face of their panic. If you react to their drama, it’ll encourage them to share it with you more often. Instead, simply ignore it, or suggest that they seek help if they’re struggling at work. The message that you’re not interested will soon be received.
These are possibly the most infuriating co-workers to deal with. They’ll sit back and let others do all the work, then take those ideas and paint them as their own when talking with the higher ups.To avoid them taking the credit for your work, take detailed notes at every stage of the process, and send regular updates to your superiors so there’s proof when disputes arise. If your superior is the credit stealer, make sure to gently remind them to include your name on any projects you work jointly on.
The lazy co-worker
These co-workers are especially irritating because while you’re working your fingers to the bone, they’re watching Youtube videos and slacking off. How are they getting away with it?
The best thing you can do is not let the lazy co-worker impinge on your own work. Emphasise the importance of everyone pulling their weight, and never, ever offer to do their work. They’re probably getting away with it because they can sweet talk others into helping them out when deadlines loom.
The know it all
The know it all has been at the company longer, has the best ideas, and generally knows more than you. No matter how much you know, they know better than you and will not hold back in saying so.
When faced with a know it all, prepare your facts. Get all your evidence together, and provide proof. They can’t argue with you if you’re confident in what you’re saying. If they continue to keep making outrageous claims, simply smile and nod – and walk away.
The gossip delights in spreading rumours around the office. They gleefully spread their half truths and disguise them as facts, revelling in the attention.
The best way to deal with a gossip is to stay out of their web altogether. Don’t share any personal details with them, and if they’re coming over to try to share their latest juicy rumor, claim you’re busy with ‘an important phone call’. If you’re stuck talking to them, press them for the facts behind their gossip. They’ll soon leave you alone when you take the fun out of it.
The best way to deal with any of these co-workers is simply not let them get to you. It’s hard to avoid negative people in the workplace, so use whatever tools you can in order to help yourself. Invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones, redecorate your cubicle with calming colours to make it more relaxing, and be assertive. Your time is just as valuable as anybody else’s, and you don’t want to be wasting it by dealing with office conflicts.