Tech & Work

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.

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?


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

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