IT Employment

10 rudest behaviors in the workplace

Most of us aim not to be rude in the workplace, but sometimes the line is thin between adorable quirkiness and just plain annoying. Here are some behaviors to avoid.

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How many times have you wished an office mate would go away – simply because of their rude behavior? The office is a confined space that easily breeds contempt when the right ingredients are available. Be it something totally innocuous, a pet peeve, or a completely inappropriate action, there are certain behaviors that do not belong in the office. You may see them every day or you may be completely oblivious of the fact that you display these very behaviors that outrage or annoy your fellow co-workers.

Here are ten of the rudest behaviors I have witnessed in the workplace.

1. Gossiping

Gossip is never a good quality, no matter where you are. But when you're in the workplace the chances of not being able to escape the hurt you've caused others is a potential job-killer. Gossip has the added bonus of possibly causing those you're gossiping about to eject themselves from the workplace. You do not want to be looked at as the one to have driven employees away – especially by management. When this happens, you run the risk of losing your job and looking petty and insecure. Avoid starting, perpetuating, or generally engaging in this behavior.

2. Being a slob

Expecting maid service is never an option. You are an adult; when you make a mess, you clean it up. This should be the case from the top employee to the bottom. Even if your company has a clean up service, it is not their job to be your personal maid or butler. Clean up service is there to clean the office – not your personal trash. When you leave your mess for others, it's a slap in the face to anyone who actually bothers to clean up behind themselves. Do not disrespect your fellow employees (on any level) by assuming you are above picking up trash or tidying up after yourself.

3. Announcing your victories

I've worked with several people who made it known to everyone around them when they solved a problem. Everything from shouting to doing their own special victory dance. This not only gets annoying, it can serve as an unpleasant reminder of when your co-workers aren't as successful as you. Have a modicum of respect and keep your victory dances and celebratory high-fives to yourself.

4. Being a snob

Cliques should remain in high school – and even then they should be avoided. When you're in the workplace, being a part of a clique does two things: It separates teams and makes those participating look childish. The workplace is already stressful enough – adding to that stress by making others feel like outcasts is more damaging than you might expect.

5. Aggressive typing

How many people have you worked with that seemed to have bionic fingers? That incessant TAP TAP TAP on the keys eventually turns into the sound of hatred. If you are one of those ham-fingered typists, do yourself (and everyone around you) a favor and purchase a silent (or at least quieter) keyboard. Not only will keep from annoying your fellow workers, you won't sound like every character was typed with rage.

6. Being a glory-stealer

Taking credit for others' work or ideas should never happen...yet it does. We're adults, we work hard to attain whatever modicum of success we can and a win in the workplace is a much-needed notch in the belt. When you steal those wins from others, you are not only disrespecting them, you run the risk of the powers-that-be finding out and turning that behavioral tide back on you. Though you may not lose your job the first time this happens...the second or third time around, you may not be so lucky.

7. Abusing trust

Misuse of privileges happens more than you would imagine. I've witnessed it first hand – people using company cars for illicit behavior, using lunch hours to moonlight, enlisting assistants to do your dirty work (such as laundry), not working when telecommuting – the list goes on and on. Here's the thing about privileges – they can easily be taken away. This is often the case when those privileges are misused.

8. Smelling like an old ash tray

Smoking in non-smoking areas might seem like chump-change when compared to other poor behaviors, but it deserves to be listed. There are reasons why the smoking debate lasted for so long – but, in the end, it came down on the side of good health. Respect those around you who do not smoke and who may have asthma or severe allergies. And while you're at it...don't abuse the “smoke break” privilege. You can't chain smoke while at work and get anything done. Limit those breaks and save your lungs.

9. Being a smartphone junkie

Using smartphones when not appropriate is not something you want to turn into a habit. This is especially true when in meetings. It's easy to seem like you're taking notes with your smartphone, but the truth is you are probably updating your Facebook status. Do the right thing and just leave the smartphone out of the meeting room. And if you have someone in your office to discuss a matter of importance, do not have your head buried in your phone or tablet at the same time.

10. Being late all the time

In some cases this is grounds for termination, but often it's just the annoying habit of being a few minutes late for every meeting, presentation, or carpool. When I was in graduate school, a director I worked with had a harsh stance on actors being late. If there were ten actors in the cast and one was five minutes late, he considered that five minutes of each actors time wasted – so everyone would have to stay late to make up for that missed time. In the case of the example – we'd wind up staying fifty minutes after the normal end of rehearsal. That's harsh, but understandable. When you are late you are not just wasting your time, but the time of anyone who depends upon you at your place of work. This could mean fellow co-workers, clients, bosses...anyone.

We spend a lot of time at the workplace. There's no reason why that time should be spent displaying any of the listed behaviors. You want to be someone everyone wants to work with, not avoid. If you can stop and consider how your behavior affects others – you should easily avoid making any of these mistakes.

What annoying co-worker behaviors make your list?


About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

87 comments
plumbsue60
plumbsue60

I hate when someone makes a mountain out of a mole hill and when a coworker cannot put aside his differences for the sake of the company when he has to work with someone he despises. 

gevander
gevander

When I think of "rude" behavior, the one that should have made the list is:

People walking around with their ear buds in.  Many people bring ear buds to work to drown out the noises around them, but wearing them away from your desk is rude.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Occasionally when I arrive at work, I find things piled on my desk as if it's a "general purpose table". It seems the space was too convenient to use since I was gone at the moment. Also, I have often had to round up a video cable to reconnect my monitor because someone "borrowed" it and didn't reconnect it.

nh4tom
nh4tom

I find it a bit odd that no one has mentioned the crude, obnoxious and filthy language that has become so prevalent in the workplace.  Has our society become so coarse that the practice has become acceptable?

SycamoreISU
SycamoreISU

Lunch thieves should have made the list. If you didn't bring it, don't eat it! Someone at my work is so brazen that he/she once stole food clearly labeled with the name of a vice president. A few dollars of grub is not worth possibly getting fired.

beck.joycem
beck.joycem

People who walked up to me, seeing me obviously focused and busy, and just butted in with a question requiring a considered answer. No waiting until I finish typing a sentence and turn to them, no "excuse me, there's a problem we urgently need to talk about". Like nobody's priorities mattered in comparison to their own, and my primary function was to be available to them, rather than running the company's accounts.

piratesmvp04
piratesmvp04

One I would definitely add is eating while talking on the phone. No one wants to hear your chopping when your mouth is right as the microphone on your handset. I don't have a problem with eating while you work, but put the fork down when you're speaking with others over the phone, especially with clients.

D.James
D.James

The most annoying and disrespectful thing in the workplace is answering the phone in the middle of a face to face conversation. When that has happened to me I walk away or out of the office.

dtr13rckbrs
dtr13rckbrs

I have a person from another company that shares my office (blacktop/quarry) he burbs and farts constantly and makes sure everyone knows it, goes out between the vehicles by our rear entrance (we all use this entrance to bring in samples all day) and urinates right between cars near the doors, turns his cd player up and restarts the same cd/song 3 to 5 times every day, never sweeps up, gets his boss to have his other coworkers do his jobs cause he is too busy while he falls asleep in his chair...I really think he has something on his bosses because he should have been let go years go...this has been going on since 2006...there is more but useless to mention as it'll do as much as the complaints to his company...

Snak
Snak

I work with a lot of people, both in my day job (IT Support) and in my capacity of Music Festival Organiser. They are totally different types of people - the musicians especially can show all of the above traits plus many more - some they even invent themselves. IT Support geeks (me included) are also notorious for personality 'disorders'. I find that finding out who someone is, what their traits are, and then conditioning myself to accept (and make fun of) them helps. People are people (well, actually, people are slightly sophisticated monkeys and that makes it easier to understand) and so we are all different. I have no problems with any of the above - I find laughing at them is stress-relieving and, often, the kick they need to 'cure' themselves ;)

333239
333239

11. The tech fanboy. There's nothing as annoying as someone who harps on all the time about how the tech they use/bought (phone, OS, etc.) is the best and what everyone else uses is cr*p. Let everyone use what suits them and get on with it.

;-)

ksbubbs
ksbubbs

Oh my God, I can add lots of things to this list.

I work in a call center. My biggest pet peeve ever is people who talk excessively loud. They seem to talk the loudest when they are talking to their customers. I don't know if they have some sort of hearing issue. I don't think so because when you talk to them when they are off the phone, they are speaking in a normal tone. However, get them back on the phones, and they sound like they are trying to be heard from one end of the floor to the other. What do I mean by excessively loud, you ask? When the person is sitting over 35 feet away from me and I can work my customer's issue and their customer's issue without hearing one word the other customer is saying. If you're talking too loud, turn your headset volume down!!! Another thing is when people are having off-work conversations on the call center floor. Just because you're not on a call doesn't mean that no one else is on the phone talking to customers. And if they are asked to please speak quieter? They go off like the fourth of July or just look at you with a blank stare. I hate it when a customer says to me, "is there a party going on at your office?"

One more thing that gets on my nerves: pounding fists and computer mice on the desks. You're frustrated with what you're doing. Ok, I understand that. Pounding your fist on the desk is distracting and rude, especially if I'm on the phone with a customer and I'm trying to focus on the customer's issue. You feel the need to throw an adult temper tantrum? Go to the bathroom and kick the walls until you feel better.

I'm just wondering what happened to people having respect for others in the workplace.

radleym
radleym

As a former smoker,  I get that smokers don't smell very good to nonsmokers.  But implying that that smell is unhealthy for co-workers? Really?  I recently also saw a non-smoking add trying to imply that having a dirty ashtray in the home could give your kids cancer!  Smokers have been driven way out into the most inclement weather,  without shelter,  and now there's talk about banning smoking outdoors,  away from others.  Look,  non-smokers have already won. Smoking is a dying habit,  and rightly so.But the smoker sthat are left are hard core adidcts,  and. tortruing then any further is not only needless,  but needleslsy cruel.l



mjc5
mjc5

You forgot one. The oversensitive employee who wants everyone to act as they dictate.

Aggressive typing - give me a break.

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

Aggressive typing? Really? I am going to give some advice my mother gave me as a teen: You need to man up.

phmonk
phmonk

Re. #2, I have seen people argue that they're *entitled* to leave a mess because they "get paid to do x, not y." Obviously, someone is paying their mothers/significant others to clean up after them when they get home at night, so it's completely understandable for them to opt out of consideration for others.

kavanaghk
kavanaghk

How about the person that asks you a question and then tries to finish what your saying and guess what you will say next

KelvinSmoke
KelvinSmoke

Boss that is technologically ignorant, wants stuff to work better, spend hours rebuilding Excel spreadsheets for them as example, then acts like he's the boss and doesnt pay attention when you explain things, and then immediately "breaks" the spreadsheet by adding columns moving items without changing formulas or even trying to make the new sheet look like the old one....But acted like I was talking out my ass but still calls me first to fix it. Backups fix electronic work, but when this superiority interferes with real work.....it is a boss that is the opposite of productive, and my case example of why to never promote through attrition.

dds8892
dds8892

I don't like it when you call a user that has a ticket created, the ticket says it's an emergency, you call and leave a message and the user never calls you; you close the ticket and then the user freaks out because you closed the ticket and they never returned your email or call.

mkate23
mkate23

OH no not loud typing....geezzzeee what next.  Now you have make me paranoid and I am going to have to go out and get a new keyboard...


It is not my fault that I have to type all day - that is why they call me a Word Processor!!!!


And now I notice that my mouse is very loud - OH the horrors!

Saskatoonian
Saskatoonian

I don't work in an office environment, but these rules should apply no matter where you work!!

Ron_The_Writer
Ron_The_Writer

One of the most annoying issues to me is when a co-worker constantly asks me to look up reference information for them when they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves. Related to this is when they ask questions about stuff they learned but forgot, and they always seem to forget stuff everybody else remembers.

mmoran
mmoran

Some of the wisest workplace advice I ever got, very early in my career, essentially amounted to "Do the opposite of #6." 

IOW, be a "glory-giver."  Whenever someone (especially management) says something complimentary about your work, bend over backwards to publically give credit to everyone who helped or contributed in even the slightest way to your success.  You'll be amazed at how willing people will be to help you.

At one job, the company president called to personally thank me for getting an accelerated order out on time.  I related to him in detail the contributions of all the team members.  Ten minutes later, the comptroller strolled into my work area with a bonus check that amounted to nearly a week's pay and the news that I was getting a 25% raise.  Good relations with co-workers may not be your only reward for giving credit where it's due!

iGeaux
iGeaux

@john.stewart "we are all adults here" HAHAHA!!!...Maybe you can stop by and professionally confront the developer that farts and burps ALL DAY LONG here. Managers have had those meetings with him and it doesn't get better. Can you fire someone for excessive flatulence? There's another developer that puts on his headphones in the morning and gets to work, typing so aggressive that you think his keyboard must actually be a miniature Whack-a-Mole game and he's just two strokes from hitting the carnival ticket jackpot! The same guy sucks his teeth and taps his boot buckle against his chair nonstop. Believe me, I definitely wear headphones, but I can't listen to music that loud! I have to wave my hands to get his attention, since he apparently can have his headphones really loud. When I say, "Hey man, that teeth sucking and foot tapping is really loud and annoying" ...he genuinely says "I'm sorry. I didn't even hear it." LOL!     BTW @NWwoman The other guy just released the nastiest, lunch-churning belch ever and I'M THE ONE headed to HR!?!?! Your cat idea for problem solving - "quick hiss and swat" - does NOT work!! 

tkole2002
tkole2002

This article definitely puts the Tech in TechRepublic. 

Oh and on #3? Unless you get really obnoxious about it, in the Tech racket, you're definitely allowed to savour the sweet,sweet taste of resolving a knotty production issue that has been causing your shop dollars and downtime. 

Hmph

Slick53
Slick53

I believe people who complain about others habits, though they may be very annoying to them, should stop and think about all the habits thay may have that may be just as annoying to others as well. People who place too much importance on other peoples habits are limiting that persons individuality. People should not be clones of each other, and we should not expect them to be.    

NWwoman
NWwoman

To me, this article is, quite frankly, annoying.  I do not know a single human being who does not have one or more traits/behaviors that can frustrate or vex certain people or larger groups of people.  We're simply human and when you put people who did not choose to be together into a forced group all day, one thing is guaranteed: someone will offend or annoy someone.  Cats solve this easily -- they do a quick hiss and a swat but hours later the same cats will be playing well together.  While we are not going to be able to act cat-like (although I can see how it might quickly solve some problems!) we could instead learn how to get along, which includes the ability to sometimes laugh with someone over their quirk while telling them to cut it out.  And having someone jump up and down with joy over solving a problem, good grief...that's cool behavior that we should encourage.  It's joyful..it's happy..it's a battle won..  learn to be happy for others!

hfitts
hfitts

I used to work with someone who, when someone (even their supervisor) came by their office door to briefly speak with them (even about something relating to their project), simply could not pull their eyes away from their computer screen for a second.  They would also continue typing while the person was trying to speak with them.  And I'm not talking about the type of visitors who annoy everyone with useless gossip, etc., but people with real questions or input.  I always thought this was extremely rude.

MMarble
MMarble

Telling me about every other (fill in your minority group here) you knew, know or are likely to meet.  I didn't ask you.  I don't care.  Yes.  It did happen that often.  I'm not an exotic animal.  I'm a person.  A very annoyed person.

bmerc
bmerc

If these are the rudest behaviors you've ever seen in your workplace then you're pretty lucky. 


dbatti
dbatti

This info is in every type of business, including tech...I think the commenters about the victories have not experienced the true essence of what the article is getting at - the repetitive, showboating and gloating that I have seen is sickening.  I have tried to determine if it is a millennial issue or personality.  I do see some differences in the way we used to handle the victories and other annoyances and the way we have to approach them now.  I think the tolerance level is too high.  If something is happening that is detracting from the work getting done, makes someone uncomfortable or sick or is inappropriate, it needs taken care of. A lot of what happens in the workplace is "set" by the leader - do they whine, brag, act like a jerk - if so, then this is seen as acceptable behavior.  If they are afraid of dealing with it, then they are weak and this is seen as allowed behavior. It is a good idea to confront the person that is causing you the most angst.  Document what was said and what you did.  If it stops - great, you have solved a problem.  If it did not then you need to talk with a person in charge.  The most annoying coworker behavior I have is complaining to me about it instead of handling it like an adult.

mdeath_2000
mdeath_2000

You forgot WHINING. My office mate whines incessantly in this falsetto voice to add sauce to the pie of over the top annoying. He came in from vacation whining about his supervisor with whom he hadn't  even visual contact for over 7 days. If you tell him to stop whining, he whines even louder that he doesn't whine! Oy.

kitekrazy
kitekrazy

@radleym It will get worse if the potheads get their way and it becomes legal for recreational use. There is no aftershave or cologne that will remove the hideous smell of pot.

JTONLY
JTONLY

@radleym 

It was never about "Health"; it was always about Control.

ksbubbs
ksbubbs

@radleym Well, there are more blows to smokers if you feel that the world is unkind to smokers. People who smoke will pay more for health insurance than non-smokers. People who smoke increase their risks for heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. There are other health risks that are caused by smoking.

rraattbbooyy
rraattbbooyy

Guess you've never used an old IBM 101-key keyboard.  It's like someone taking machine gun target practice in the next cubicle.

Assaf Stone
Assaf Stone

@phmonk I come across that a lot, though the mess is often work-related ("I'm paid to write code, not test"). To them, I often reply, "Well, you're not paid to make a mess either!"

odd_bod
odd_bod

Hmm… I like my one if my past boss’ answers to this regular occuring phantom emergency… “I don't see how your lack of planning should constitute as our emergency. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

I think the emergency doomsayer was sent on a project management course…

mkate23
mkate23

@NWwoman  "And having someone jump up and down with joy over solving a problem, good grief...that's cool behavior that we should encourage.  It's joyful..it's happy..it's a battle won..  learn to be happy for others!"

This 100 times a day would be swell.  I agree that this is NOT a bad thing.

tekkee1
tekkee1

@NWwoman

I disagree and, frankly, greatly appreciated this article.  If you've only been on the periphery you might not understand the dynamics described.  Dealing with 1, 4, 6, 7 and 10 from a previous supervisor made it very difficult to constantly give one's best at work...or even want to show up for work.  #3 showed up in another prior work environment, where I learned that excellence in work paired with humility is not rewarded - I was the new guy sharing a room with about 15 other techs, ONE of which always heralded the completion of his work, boasting "another (name withheld) unit!" - he was labelled a brown-noser by his peers as his constantly touting his greatness seemed to sway the management into being singled out for reward even though he was not the only high performer.  Occasional celebration is cool, but where there might be a sense of competition, the behaviour is annoying and demoralizing.

MMarble
MMarble

@NWwoman I can't swat my co-workers no matter how much I want to.

MMarble
MMarble

@hfitts Guilty.  Depends on what I'm working on.  If I'm troubleshooting an error, I might be watching  for a specific message and if I look away from the screen, I'll miss it because its only visible for a second.  Some tasks could have disastrous results if I make mistake and so I give them my absolute attention.  Sometimes there is a time component, such as a problem with the payroll file or access to a bank site.  The file needs to be uploaded by 2 pm and the user didn't advise us there was a problem until 1:45.  It's nothing personal.  I just mentally weigh the consequences of you being offended versus incorrectly completing a task.

mkate23
mkate23

@mdeath_2000 Now this ONE should totally be on the list.  It is soooo beyond annoying and what can you say really - ahhh poor thing...rather than put on your big Boy/Girl panties and move on.

rraattbbooyy
rraattbbooyy

"There is no aftershave or cologne that will remove the GLORIOUS smell of pot."

There.  Corrected that for you.

sroe1529
sroe1529

or went to law school!  :-)



iGeaux
iGeaux

@MMarble LOL! He did really burp while I was typing my comment, but no I didn't swat. I was kidding. 

NWwoman
NWwoman

@MMarble @NWwoman  Yeah, I know ...but boy, wouldn't it be cool if we could...just a wee little swat, you know?  lol.....have a great day...

hfitts
hfitts

@MMarble @hfitts Yeah, I could understand that sort of thing being a good reason for "offending" someone.  But, in my example, the person didn't have that kind of job.  And if they had only said something like 'pardon me guy, but I just have to catch this error screen before it disappears', or something like that, I would have understood that.  That wasn't the case.  And I could also have understood if they had said 'just let me finish this thought' or whatever, but again, that wasn't how it was.  This person was just extremely aloof, and thought that their time was more valuable than anyone else's.  As I said, I saw it happen to the person's superior as often, or more often, than it happened to me.  And I wasn't offended, I simply recognized the rudeness.

odd_bod
odd_bod

Cured with the whole office floor standing up… as if on cue… and whining in falsetto, back to the whiner… :D

I guess he wound up a lot of people with that trait…

odd_bod
odd_bod

That's what nerf battles are for, great stress relievers…