What Are Your Biggest Workplace Annoyances?

What Are Your Biggest Workplace Annoyances?

Different people get annoyed by different things. While you can often just remove yourself from a situation in public, you don’t generally have that luxury at work. So, we want to know: what are your biggest workplace annoyances?

We’re all familiar with the classic reply-all gaffe at work, but countless other annoyances exist. Perhaps the person in the desk next to you always listens to death metal at maximum volume on their headphones, or that one guy you’ve never met always uses the main email thread to post pictures of cats. Whatever your annoyances are — big or small — we want to hear about them (and how you’ve solved them).


  • We have a bunch of offshore workers in the IT industry who like to:

    – spit in the sink repeatedly
    – wash their feet in the sink
    – stand on the toilet and leave dirty feet marks on the toilet seat
    – blow their nose into their hands and then turn the tap on and wash

    Oh cultural differences – this is Australia, please conform to good hygiene and OH&S lol

    • This, +100

      Add to that:
      – urinating on the wall near the urinal
      – pissing on the toilet seat, and all over the floor. One of my mates came out of the toilet the other day, with urine all over his pants. He’d gone to do a number 2, dropped his pants, and didn’t notice the puddle…..
      – coughing and spluttering all over everything and everyone because they are contractors, and refuse to have a day off
      – eating lunch at their desks – very strongly smelled lunches
      – constantly talking in their own language. Constantly, all day, accross the office
      – seeing deodorant as an option, not a necessity (and I work in a place with dodgey air con, and windows that won’t open).

      I have a lot of time for people from all cultures, but this is pushing the friendship a tad…..lol

  • currently my biggest issue is the old ladies at work gossiping about the 50 shades of grey books daily as they read the series, and how sexually excited they get by them….. all have husbands and they are all 50+…. get it on already.

    • Ewww? If anything like that ever happened at my workplace, I’d tell them to go elsewhere for that kind of discussion. Tres offensive (and I’m a WOMAN), even more so than coworkers who think that deodorant is for others, not for them, and those who think that it’s OK if their music is audible to others through their headphones.

      I’ll cop to being one of the working unwell, though. If you’re new to your job, or you’re worried about your job due to possible cuts, or the organisational culture where you work is that of the valiant warrior who comes to work sick (to infect you and others), you may not want to dare to take a sickie. I’m new at my job, so I’ll come in, let folks see how sick I am, and then go home at noon with no question in anyone’s mind regarding the lazy Queenslander chucking a sickie (when it’s really the non-lazy Queenslander doing her best to adjust to temperatures 10-15 degrees colder than she’s used to.)

    • I dealt with that by reading the book and joining in the conversations. As soon as I started critiquing the writing and sex scenes, the conversations trailed off pretty fast.

  • One of my biggest things is the fact that I sit next to employees that think that where they work is another place to socially hangout. Endless talking about television shows, what they did last night, talking endlessly about anything but work . Not caring if they are annoying others that are trying to work. Longest that they have talked for is almost three hours with no working. The group is growing as well

  • Managers more worried about blaming someone than fixing the problem; coworkers throwing tantrums when things don’t go their way; people blowing their nose on the bathroom wall; the young guys that I work with having an absolutely terrible work ethic; and the disgusting state that people leave the lunch room in. At least I’m not the only one that this stuff gets to.

    • How about the bosses dog running around all day? No joke.

      Okay it doesnt run around but the fact that it is actually in an office annoys me to no end. The first time someone decides to bring their cat to work it will be straight to industrial relations (i’m allergic)

  • Working in a IT whose practices are 30 years out of date, who see the Internet as the root of all evil and can’t see them selves past the opportunity to reduce costs by allowing employees flex time and the ability to work from home.

    That was the point of the IT revolution for god sake!

    • Shane, the grass is greener elsewhere. Dust off your LinkedIn profile. 🙂 I have reasonable flex-time (not extreme work any time you want, but work M-F, approximately 8 hours a day that ostly overlap with a business day as long as you’ve exceeded 40 hours by the end of the week, as long as you’re keeping to your deadlines), work from home a couple afternoons or days a month, etc. In my previous job, our dept was led by a by-the-punchclock manager, the first one I’d ever had in the industry. She ran the department as if we were retail clerks or motor vehicle dept window clerks (for whom working at 9pm makes no sense because they’re there to serve customsrs who won’t be there if the business is closed) rather than professionals whose business tasks often justified hours outside her perferred 9am-6pm.

  • People who cut their fingernails at their desk on a regular basis drives me nuts. There is a time and place for that and its not in the office.

  • We have a sh1t monster – that’s right, learn to use a toilet, flush it, clean up after yourselves .. we’re still trying to work out who it is .. happy days ..

  • I have a few from pretty much the same workplace:
    – Overly loud people who never shut up and let people do work; includes horrible singing, desk tapping, very loud talking over people, interrupting people in conversations, interjecting into others conversations, not listening, treating others as children.
    – Toilet noise; this is a small office, and the toilet doors are thin and you can hear everything. One of my colleagues rips out his bowel movements and it echoes through the entire office.
    – Manager who refuses to let people telecommute, just because.
    – Aircon that doesnt work, so its too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
    – Leaving drops of urine on the toilet seat.

  • I have a guy who constantly sends around 5-10MB attachments to all staff via email. Our email server is based in another city, so the email has to be downloaded to every computer at the same time, causing the entire email system in our office to grind to a halt! Numerous times I’ve told this guy to put it somewhere on the local server, and send a 2kb email with a link (partly this is a problem due to IT setup, but still annoying).
    Also, this same guy prints EVERYTHING, frustrates the hell out of me, even prints out photos taken on his phone of his computer screen “to keep a record”. Apparently nightly digital backups in several locations on mirrored RAID arrays aren’t good enough as good’ol destroyed amazon rainforest paper.

  • Basic hygiene practices are few and far between, and is probably the biggest concern. Not flushing the toilet, not *using* the toilet, leaving plates of food to grow mould and such in the kitchen, not understanding that deodorant (or indeed, a shower every month or so) is a necessity etc.

    Smaller pet peeves such as not replacing the toilet paper, or leaving the fridge door open.
    Really, anyone would think we’re living in a share-house environment with a bunch of teenagers.

  • I had a boss who used to walk up behind me and just… stand there whenever he wanted my attention. Sometimes even leaning in close, looking right over my shoulder. He’d stand there shoulder surfing for unknown periods of time before I’d notice the smell from his cigars wafting past. People watching me work *really* irks me, apart from the obvious creepiness, and politely asking him to refrain didn’t really help much.

    Ended up sticking one of these on my monitor; http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/2940/ . Made it easy to see him coming and be whirled around ready by the time he got there.

  • Theft. As in people helping themselves to your coffee or whatever. Loud swearing in the office about clients, other staff – (not just of the “ow I hurt myself” variety either). Also, theft, as in other people claiming your work as theirs to the senior management.

  • Only three:

    1. Poor managers, who were only selected for management because they were ‘due’ for a promotion.

    2. People who do things with ‘blinkers’ on; not considering how what they do may affect someone else.

    3. Poor managers.

  • -Toilet etiquette, mainly piss on the walls from one old timer past his used by date who has to hold onto the wall with both hands instead of his weiner while urinating.
    -Improper use of toilet brush. It took a move to new offices to convince people to brush the skids off the bowls in our new office facility, generally you flush then brush, then flush water on the dirty brush whilst holding the handle before, tapping on the side of the bowl to remove excess water then replacing it in the clear holder instead of brushing before you flush and dripping poo & toilet paper over the seat & floor and leaving it for all to see & smell inches from the seat. Sometimes I wish they never started using the brush and kept on reverse kanga-ring the bowl.
    -People who don’t use the air freshener in the bogs that I supply free of charge after a previous nights vicious vindaloo. Too many ppl in our office think their s..t don’t stink.
    – Smokers who take breaks during office hours. How bout the people who don’t smoke at work (I’m actually a smoker but only off the clock in my own time). I make it a point to slack off whenever they are missing from the office for a fag during work hours, we all get paid for the same amount of time, at least sign off early to compensate for the 45min of extra breaks you take each day.
    – People who are never at their desks but leave their mobiles there, fully cranked volume with no voicemail. They have drainer family members calling them 50 times a day and their ringtone was the number one karaoke favourite in the Phillipines 5 years ago……. And I plays all the way thru. Next time I go to the Pillipeenes im going to pwn at karaoke.

    • The whole toilet brush and use air freshener thing is a cultural matter, just so you know. In my home country, we’re quite accustomed to showers and deodorant and not peeing on the toilet seat, but the practices of cleaning the bowl and the air in common restrooms after we go are not usual for us. It took me a few months to realize that the toilet brush wasn’t there for the convenience of the cleaning staff to use at night, but was meant to be used by users of the facility during the day. And no, I’m not from the third world.

    • -I agree with Mr. Sanchez about the smoking issue. I myself used to smoke regularly, however when I am at work, I never left my desk for the sole purpose of smoking. I saved that during my lunch hour and/or after work. I see that as something that can wait. Not to mention the fact that it become a social gathering with all the smokers in the office, and that makes each break even longer.
      One of my co-workers who always complains that he has way too much work to do everyday and that he cannot keep up with the added tasks. It’s like come on already! Your other co-workers do way more than you and get it done on time and are able to take on more tasks that are not in their day-to-day routine, but when you take frequent 15min smoking breaks, you have no right to complain.
      -As far as bathrooms go, I cannot stand it when people use the area to have long personal conversations. Okay, I get it there is little privacy in the work place, however find ways around it than having to go to the bathroom. The reason this bothers me and I met a several people who agree with me, is the fact that me as well as others have shy bladders. We go to the bathroom to get some peace while we piss and poop, keep your conversations out of it.
      -Continuing with bathrooms, One day I was taking a #1 and 2, one of my co-worker friends decides to strike up a conversation while she is standing right outside the stall. Now, not those meaningless hows the weather conversations, no… She goes on to asking me all these questions about sh*t at work. So I told her, “Let’s not mix the two sh*ts together and discuss this outside the bathroom.” 🙂

  • General Office grievances (gossip, tapping, lunches, etc) don’t worry me, as I am well aware i do things that sh1t people to tears & vice versa (if i let them). I going to be sanctimonious here and suggest some fellow commenters adopt this approach. Your day will proceed easier.

    Toilet issues however are not on. They need to be handled and with as little embarrassment as possible (initially). If you know who is making the messes, bring it up politely. They know that you hold the cards and if the situation doesn’t change, that you’ll make it public. This does work.

    • This a million times!!!!!!
      Or anywhere in the office really. People should go to restaurants like the old days and only eat yoghurt or muesli bars or something while at the office.

  • Dear Female Colleagues,

    The ladies’ room is not an area for social discourse. Ever. Please stop attempting to engage me in conversation. If I glare at you while you two discuss 50 Shades Of Poorly-Written Sycophantic Twilight Fanfiction, it is for two reasons: 1. 50 Shades Of Poorly-Written Sycophantic Twilight Fanfiction 2. BATHROOM != CONVERSATION SPACE.

    Max 2.0


  • 1. Meetings that go for an hour instead of 15 minutes because they are poorly planned and people dribble in late and have to be brought up to speed
    2. Loud, LOUD talking and raucous laughing by nearby colleagues while on the phone
    3. People not following up on things – eg “If you want me to do that for you, send me an email about it” – next day – “Did you do that thing for me” me: “Well I didn’t get your email”
    4. Infected martyrs
    5. Especially if it’s because they “don’t believe” in antibiotics, and that your system should just “work it out” and when you get sick your immune system “gets stronger because of it” – forget about everyone else in the office who doesn’t want to get sick
    6. Never, EVER getting holidays on Christmas, New Year’s or school holiday time because my boss used to actively discriminate giving time off to people with children

    • *discriminated by giving time off to people with kids, that is. Forget the fact that I’d put in my holiday request weeks earlier than the people with kids.

      Also, constant absenteeism because “little johnny is in the school play / has a runny nose” but being looked down upon because I needed an operation.

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