Common Office Pet Peeves

Frank headshot

Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

Everyone has certain pet peeves about working in an office setting. In 2011, LinkedIn surveyed 17,000 professionals globally on their workplace and office issues. Although much has changed since this poll was conducted, most of these complaints are still common. Throughout this article, we’ll analyze some of the everyday office pet peeves and things you can do to mitigate these everyday distractions.

Co Workers Avoiding Responsibility for Their Actions

The most common complaint working professionals had about their workplace environments was a lack of accountability amongst colleagues. Whether blaming another team member for a project delay, failing to meet a deadline, or simply not showing up on time, this behavior is something nearly everyone has experienced at one time or another.

Although you aren’t responsible for another team member’s conduct, one thing you could do in this type of situation is to try and have an open conversation with the person rather than simply going straight to your boss. Talking about how your workload is being impacted may have a positive result if they understand what’s really happening. In certain situations, speaking to management may be unavoidable, but remember that office politics are often a common cause of toxic work cultures. It’s much better to try and build trust with your team members rather than seek a reprimand from the higher-ups.

Constant Complainers

Another common office pet peeve relates to colleagues and team members who complain constantly. While there are undoubtedly many situations where a complaint is warranted, especially if the work environment is toxic, it’s a different thing altogether if complaining is just a personality trait. Not only does this significantly impact team morale, but it also creates a miserable and unengaging workplace. The best thing you can do in this situation is to tune out the noise and focus on your career, as difficult as it may be. When you choose not to engage in toxicity, you’ll find yourself in a much more positive mindset during your workday.

Dirty Common Areas

The last thing you want during your break is to find yourself sitting in a dirty common area. Unfortunately, coworkers often neglect to clean up after themselves. It can be frustrating, especially when the trash can is literally sitting ten feet away, but at the end of the day, you can only focus on what’s under your control. Rather than shaming an employee for these habits, it may be better to leave a discreet note on the fridge or door to make colleagues aware of the issue without signaling anyone out directly. Just make sure that the occurrence is frequent enough to warrant this response, as you don’t want to be known as “that person” at the office.

Strong Smells, Perfumes, and Odors

A common pet peeve among American office workers was the smell of colognes, perfumes, and other odors. This is especially true when it comes to using a communal microwave. Fish make for a wonderful dish in most settings, but most people aren’t excited to smell it the second they walk into the breakroom after a long stressful morning. You can’t please everyone, but it’s better to be conscious about heating certain types of food when surrounded by coworkers who might be sensitive to the aroma.

Loud Cell Phones, Chatter, and Noise

When working in an office environment, annoying sounds and distractions are often unavoidable. Loud typing, ringtones, chewing, and chatter are just a few types of distractions that working professionals experience on a daily basis. It’s hard to focus when your colleagues are having a lively conversation next to your cubicle or the person five feet behind you is constantly chewing loudly.

Although widely frowned upon, offices are filled with the sounds of cell phone notifications and ringtones. We live in an age where everyone is connected to their phone somehow. Checking an important text message is one thing, but hearing Facebook notifications every five minutes from your coworker is something else. These distractions can be highly irritating and negatively impact your productivity throughout the workday. If your office allows the use of headphones, you may want to consider listening to a podcast or calming music to tune out the background noise.

Meetings that Start Late or Go on Too Long

Ever found yourself sitting around for thirty minutes waiting for a meeting to start? Ever looked down at your watch to see that a presentation or discussion has gone over time by 45-minutes? In fact, this is one of the most common workplace issues experienced by professionals. These meetings can take a large chunk of time out of your day, especially if they don’t start on time. This is even worse if your boss still expects you to complete your big project by 5:00 pm, despite the negative impact on your workflow.

Coming Into the Office Sick

During the Covid-19 era, this has been a much more seldom occurrence in most office settings. That said, it still happens more often than it should, especially if the company has a labor shortage. If you test negative for Covid-19, many employers will still expect you to show up to the office, even at the risk of getting others sick. If your company allows you to work from home, you’ll likely be allowed to complete your assignments remotely, but not every professional has this luxury. Although taking a sick day for a common cold is never a great feeling, your coworkers will certainly thank you for it.

Always Remain Professional

Although these types of office pet peeves can be aggravating, you need to be sure to manage your irritation in a calm and professional manner. The last thing you want to do is start gossiping about another employee whose quirks or behaviors have been irritating you. If you need to address the issue, have an honest but polite conversation with your coworker.

But before you choose to engage, ask yourself whether or not the behavior is truly worth a conversation. As annoying as many of these things might be, the best option is often to focus on yourself and ignore these distractions altogether. The workday is long, and it’s probably better not to waste it arguing with colleagues about their chewing habits or obnoxious cell phone ringtone. At the end of the day, no one is perfect, so try your best to avoid a petty response, no matter how irritating an office pet peeve might be.