Do you have irritating co-workers? According to a recent survey of 2,000 working Americans released by Olivet Nazarene University, one in three people said they have changed jobs because of an annoying co-worker(s).
Even though most of us have not had to go to that extreme, it is clear that annoyance of co-workers runs rampant. While 73 percent said they have between two and five, one in five people said that they have one co-worker who annoys them on a regular basis.
The 5 Most Annoying Things Co-Workers Do
They are loud and complain a lot (49 percent said this is the thing that annoys them most).
They gossip and bully (32 percent).
Their bathroom or eating habits are atrocious (12 percent).
Their email or meeting habits are bad (6 percent).
Their personal hygiene is not good (1 percent).
Here are four things you should you do if a co-worker is seriously annoying.
Know When To Speak Up And Shut Up
If the “annoyance” is harassment, “you should right now, stop reading and schedule a meeting with HR,” says NYC-based career strategist Carlota Zimmerman. If anything impacts how safe and comfortable you feel in your job, it needs to be reported.
“But if you’re surrounded by tedious co-workers talking about ‘like OMG how amazing Kim K is’ … go take a walk,” says Zimmerman. “Your career goals, your potential, depends on your ability to rise above your pettiness.”
It is a gray area that’s tough to navigate. Consider this rule of thumb: “If their behavior is making it more difficult for you to do your job or hurting the business in some way, you should say something; if it’s just that you don’t like their personality, keep it zipped,” says Scott Mautz, CEO of Profound Performance, a workshop, coaching and online training company.
Look At Where The Person Is Coming From
“Proceed with curiosity and not contempt. Try to look at them like a fascinating study in human behavior to see where they’re coming from,” says Mautz. Once you realize that, they barely speak in the group meetings. You may be able to cope with that behavior.
Know How To Speak Up
If you decide to confront a co-worker over, do it delicately, as “you can get your own unpleasant reputation” if you handle it badly, says Zimmerman. “A gentle, calm, but clear approach is a good way to start,” says Dr. Jude Miller Burke, author of “Millionaire Mystique: How Working Women Become Wealthy – And How You Can, Too!”
“Try leading into the conversation by complimenting or saying something positive about the person,” says Mautz. Moreover, he adds, “Consider blaming the deadline or project you are working on” you might say, “I am under the gun on this project because the president is coming to town soon. Do you mind taking your conversation elsewhere?” Finally, “thank them for being open enough to receive this feedback,” says executive coach Nancy Halperin, principal at KNH Associates.
Realize When It Is Time To Compromise And To Quit
“Speaking up does not always stop the behavior, but rather than seethe in silence, consider a compromise,” says Mautz. “If the person feels they need to read aloud to understand concepts and you cannot concentrate when they do it,” try asking them to work in one of the conference rooms, and you do the same.
A co-worker may be so toxic that you feel you have to get a new job. If that happens, first, “explore other options first such as moving your desk, or being assigned to another team,” says Halperin. If that doesn’t work, you may need to leave. Burke suggests that some situations may be signals that it’s time to go. Such as ongoing sleep disturbance; no hope for the situation to get better; emotional turmoil that has become the norm; bullying behavior that the organization fails to stop; and overall unhealthy culture from the top to the bottom.
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