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Annoying Habits

Annoying Habits


We spend more time with our work colleagues than we do with our family and friends so the chances are you have come across someone who’s mannerisms or behaviours drive you a little bit crazy.

A number of surveys have been carried out recently which have identified the most annoying employee habits.  These include:

  • Talking too loudly on the phone
  • Bring smelly lunch in to work and eating it at their desk. Also on subject of food, taking other people’s food or leaving mouldy food in the fridge.
  • Whistling or singing at their desk (and this usually applies the ones that can’t hold a tune)
  • Opening the window or adjusting the air con to suit themselves without any consideration for others in the office.
  • Using office jargon. You know the kind, “blue sky thinking”, “helicopter view”….

I’ve also come across an employee who had a bell on his desk and every time someone sneezed in the open place office, he would ring it and shout “sneeze alert” and very senior manager who used to take a teddy bear into meetings and insist that everyone in the room introduce themselves to the bear before the meeting could commence.

Whilst most of the time everyone gets along just fine, occasionally there is the risk that annoying and disruptive behaviour can escalate in to bad feeling and distract employees from focussing on their roles. 

So was is the best way to tackle these annoying habits?

Firstly, that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and every situation is different. It is important to identify what impact the employee’s behaviour is having on productivity, morale, team working etc. and if it is having a detrimental impact, you need to tackle it as quickly and as sensitively as possible.

More often than not employees may not be aware that their behaviour or habit is distracting those around them so a quite word might be all it takes.  However, some issues may require a specific policy to be communicated to all staff or a general principle that clearly defines how employees are expected to behave within the workplace. 

Whatever approach is taken it is important to remember that we are all human.  We all have an annoying habit or two so before deciding whether or not to address the issue, carefully consider the potential outcomes and remember that what the employee brings to the business may far outweigh any annoying habits.  

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