The Most Annoying Things Your Colleagues Do!

Are your colleagues (or one or two of them) driving you completely crazy? I don’t mean the ones that are just a little annoying. No. I mean the ones that put you into such a rage that you can feel your entire body trembling in a desperate attempt to stop you from exploding into a manic steaming attack. What is it about colleagues that can make us so irate?




I guess it is a combination of working in modern open-plan office environments combined with deadlines, performance targets and other daily work pressures that create an atmosphere where the tiniest things can sometimes blow completely out of proportion and trigger a raging fury in normally gentle and pleasant people.

We did a little poll of 1,000 of our members to identify out what they find most infuriating about colleagues. Before we look at the list I just want to make it very clear that the purpose of this list is to generate a little giggle and NOT to spread any real animosity between colleagues. When I played the list back to people in my own office everyone could relate to at least one of them. We laughed about it but also realized how mad and insane some of these anger feelings were.

Anyway, here is the list that our poll generated:

  1. They talk too loud on the phone – incredibly, colleagues that talk too loud on the phone are one of the biggest workplace irritations of all!
  2. Eat smelly food at work – Someone that peels their smelly eggs or gets out a full French cheese platter at lunchtime can annoy people, especially if they are sharing a crowded office. I find it annoying when people peel oranges – not because I don’t like the smell of it but because it makes my mouth water and I want a piece!
  3. They are a know-it-all – oh, yes – we have those in every workplace, the people that just know everything about everything. Typical phrases are: I wouldn’t have done that… You should have done this, instead of that… I would have done it this way… Yes, very annoying indeed!
  4. They talk management gobbledygook – some people are just full of jargon-ridden management drivel. They throw in one buzzword after the other and by doing so irritate everyone around them. This would be a typical sentence: “Before going forward we have to touch base and reach out to our key stakeholders so that we can drill down into the key issues that are not yet on our radar and catch the low-hanging fruits…” Yuk!
  5. They stab people in the back – Backstabbers are not only irritating but dangerous! They can be really friendly to your face but talk you down behind your back. Yes, super annoying!
  6. They brown-nose – they are the people that are so far up someone else’s’ backside and are so overly nice to their peers and particularly their bosses in order to get what they want, usually the next promotion or pay rise.
  7. They use annoying words – some people have forgotten how to speak properly and talk is some kind of strange code. Examples are: “Awesome! This is, like, I mean, totally seriously, like, the most epic band I have ever heard. You know what I’m saying. I am literally going to, like, die if I can’t go and see them.” Or: “To be honest, at the end of the day you are literally going get into trouble, seriously. I mean, you better be careful, if you know what I mean. I am just saying.” I just switch off after a few sentences like that!
  8. They are incompetent – people who just can’t do their job but no one in power seems to realize or do anything about it. There are so many people that have been promoted beyond their capability and others around them have to pick up the pieces. Not nice!
  9. They are negative – someone that can only see the downside of things and always dampens the atmosphere in the office. Work is hard enough and everyone get’s annoyed if people only see and say negative things.
  10. They are lazy – laziness can relate to their job role but more often than not relates to little things like not clearing up after lunch, not washing up the coffee mug and just leaving it for others to do. If done regularly, they are the things that will push people over the edge.


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