5 office pet peeves to avoid
The other day, someone from my office (whose name I will not disclose) ate my beloved protein brownie. To anyone else this might not have been the biggest deal, but for someone who holds out for it all day—to say I wasn’t pleased is an understatement. Though I survived (just), it got me thinking about workplace practices, and colleagues we should aim to avoid being—because even the best co-workers have their drawbacks.
1. Paper Wasters:
Ones that unnecessarily murder trees.
We all know that one person in the office who ‘must’ print off every email they receive in order to read it. I regularly wonder whether this person is aware of the environmental consequences of their actions or if they simply don’t care because they won’t live to see them play out. Whether it’s their inability to understand technology, or they just prefer reading off paper, printing every single email (at best, every second email) is hardly necessary, and definitely not efficient. All you’ve done is re-invent snail mail and taken the ‘snail’ out of it.
2. Desk Border Crossing:
Ones that are completely unaware of the fact that their crap is on your desk.
At my last position, I had a coworker who would place her mac and cheese on my side of the long table in which we shared, and was clearly split by a distinct line created by the manufacturers—sort of like the unofficial border line between my world and hers… not to be crossed without prior consent. Just because someone makes a considerable effort to keep their space neat (possibly for their own sanity), doesn’t make it an invitation for you to inhabit it.
3. Pixel Thieves:
Ones that send emails as frequently as they might send text messages.
Have you ever found yourself within speaking distance of a co-worker, and had them send you a ‘thank you’ email? Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate being recognized for my hard work, I just rather my inbox didn’t blow up and cause me serious anxiety because of it. Sometimes it’s best to just voice your gratitude verbally if the person is literally just two meters away.
As a general rule, keep your emails short and concise with as little back and forth as possible—that includes knowing when to stop saying ‘hi’ after you’ve already sent the same co-worker a dozen other emails throughout the day all beginning with ‘hi’. Once you’ve opened a ‘thread’ with someone, any derivative of ‘hello’ is just unnecessary… Imagine what it would be like to have a verbal conversation with someone who constantly said ‘hi’ before every response.
4. Fridge Stockers:
Ones that hog the fridge with items they won’t ever be eating in the next century.
If you aren’t planning on eating that spaghetti bolognese from two weeks ago, either chuck it out or take it home. This isn’t your personal fridge for you to hoard items like they’re going extinct. It’s great that you had the foresight to make your own food at home, and let alone bring it to the office, but somewhere along the way you were either invited out to lunch or completely forgot that you brought your own lunch and purchased something down the street. It would be conceivable that at some point throughout that week you would remember that you had brought lunch that day, and taken up valuable real estate in the fridge—the fridge that no doubt (because of multiple episodes of the above happening to many co-workers) is full to the brim and looks like the office grew from 10 people to 80 people in the space of a few weeks. This is probably the time that you should go to the fridge and claim your molding, rotting, eroding something-a-rather.
5. Gossip Girl (without the XO):
Ones that are more concerned with office gossip than work.
Firstly I want to point out that I am naturally friendly in the office, and take a genuine interest in how my co-workers are. But there’s a point where if it were a subway station, I would have liked to have gotten off at the previous stop, or ran express to somewhere… anywhere else. We’ve all encountered that one person in the office (I don’t want to say ‘oxygen thief’) who loves to chat about things that could probably wait until lunch time, or even just stay in the proverbial waiting room—never to be called. Then there are the people in the office who find it implicitly necessary to bitch about other colleges. Clearly it’s inevitable that somewhere along the co-existing relations within an office, people are going to get on each other’s nerves, but is scathingly venting to another colleague conducive of a healthy culture?
Update: the brownie culprit has been resurrected with the arrival of two new brownies on my desk!