I’ll admit it; I hate to walk in to the kitchen at work and see scummy dishes sitting in the sink. I think it’s disgusting.
A former coworker, however, would become enraged when he saw the same dishes in the sink day after day. He started with leaving notes for the anonymous owners of the dishes, reminding them that their “petri dishes” were cultivating all kinds of bacteria. When that didn’t work, he started putting their dishes into the dishwasher for them, thinking they would get the hint. They didn’t. Finally, he started throwing away any dishes that were in the sink for more than 24 hours.
Our other coworkers were evenly divided on the issue: Some thought he was the annoying nag of a coworker, while others thought the dish owners were in the wrong.
Do you work with one or more coworkers who seriously annoy you? Is there someone in your office whose habits and behavior patterns just drive you crazy? Whether your coworker talks loudly on the phone with friends, plays computer games or shops online all day or leaves a trail of crumbs and dirty dishes behind them, these sorts of issues occur at almost every company.
Ford R. Myers, a career coach and author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring, says, “When you're working eight hours a day in close quarters - or even in cubicles - some would say that it's only a matter of time before some of your colleagues will really start to get on your nerves.”
According to Myers, the problem is much more common than most of us realize. “It’s hard to believe that some individuals can be so unaware of how their behaviors are affecting others in the workplace,” he added.
- How does this behavior impact YOUR productivity? Annoying behavior, and the interoffice bickering it often creates, can be costly. If the annoying behavior doesn't stop, it definitely will decrease your productivity. You'll do just about anything to avoid the annoying person, which can keep important work from getting done. You'll be frustrated and grow unhappy on the job, so you probably will start arriving at work later and leaving earlier than usual, which also diminishes productivity.
- What does this do to your morale? If you can resolve the issue with the perpetrator within a reasonable period of time, your morale shouldn't be affected much at all. But if your complaints go unanswered and nothing is done about the problem, you may become very disillusioned and demoralized. Nobody likes to be in a work situation where they feel they’re being ignored.
- What can you do if this situation becomes extreme? The best approach will be to diplomatically let your colleague know that some of his or her actions are bothering you. Believe it or not, the person who is displaying this annoying behavior simply may not be aware of what he or she is doing. Once your complaint is shared, the offending habits simply may stop.
If trying to address the issues directly with the annoying coworker doesn't work, take your comments to management. At that point, it's really the responsibility of the department supervisor or the senior manager to address these kinds of problems.
"If your complaints continue to fall on deaf ears and nothing changes, try to get transferred to another department or function. And if that doesn't work, it's probably time to look for a new job at a different company," adds Myers.