Ultimately, work comes down to a team effort. Even if you’re a department of one or in a heavily independent role, you’ll need to work well with others. So it’s crucial not to be an annoying coworker!
Some of these principles may sound like given, but it’s easy to lose focus of a situation when you’re living it. Whether you’re working remotely or in the office, do your best to be self-aware and avoid these hated behaviors.
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, you might urgently need to update someone on a project. Or maybe you’re excited to get back to an earlier conversation. But make sure to read the room first. It’s extremely easy to interrupt someone without realizing it.
Career coach Letisha Bereola says that it can be very easy to interrupt someone on accident remotely. You never know when someone is about to unmute their microphone, and often people won’t realize they are on mute. But when it becomes a pattern, it’s distracting and makes you overshadow others.
Avoiding interrupting is good, but Letisha says you can go a step further and help elevate those who might have trouble speaking up by trying something like, “I notice there are people on our team who don’t speak up a lot – could you help boost the voice of some of those people at our next meeting? So if someone interrupts [insert name here], could you help her get the floor back?”
“Even if, like me, you have the best of intentions when you chime in, check that you are actually building on what the other person is saying, not just interjecting your opinion or vocalizing your agreement.” –Kathleen Davis, Fast Company
If interrupting is the most annoying coworker habit according to Quality Logo Products’ recent survey, taking credit for others’ work is a close second. If everyone works hard only for one person to steal the glory, it leaves a sour taste in everyones’ mouths. Worst yet, this is often done by bosses, taking the credit of their team to gain clout with their higher-ups.
Sometimes, this can happen by mistake. Your particular contribution gets noticed, and you talk up your own work instead of adding credit for the team. Career coach Susan Peppercorn suggests not being afraid to step in about mentioning your contributions if someone appears to be hogging credit and to keep a paper trail of your accomplishments in case you need proof for performance reviews.
“Do your best to be helpful, compassionate, respectful and, whenever the occasion arises, to give credit where credit is due.” –Vicky Oliver, Fast Company
It’s good to have friends at work, both from a company morale point of view and for your own mental health. But don’t treat your coworkers like your drinking buddies or your therapist. One surefire way to earn your coworkers’ ire is to constantly overshare, especially with personal problems.
On your end, be aware of how often you’re coming to your coworkers about out-of-office issues. If you find yourself on the receiving end, Fast Company’s Vicky Oliver says to politely but firmly voice your discomfort. If someone is in a true crisis, lend a sympathetic ear, but don’t be afraid to suggest talking to someone a little more qualified to help.
Also, don’t be the person harassing others to buy cookies or donate to something you’re a part of. You might be proud of what you have going on outside of work, but don’t force your coworkers to be part of that if they aren’t interested.
Not respecting others’ time
A good group of coworkers can be an asset and can help you out in a jam, but make sure you aren’t leaning on them too much. Everyone’s time is just as valuable as yours, so make sure not to abuse others’ limited time.
Liane Davey mentions common examples like frequently being late for meetings, asking people to do things you can easily do yourself, and not responding to emails in a timely manner. It’s frustrating when these happen to you, so do your best to make sure you’re not the one disrespecting others’ time.
“I just call up Google and I… wait what, I’m not your personal assistant! You can actually figure this out for yourself. Don’t treat me like your own private Google. No. So annoying.” –Liane Davey
Tossing around too much jargon
Finally, we all know how tiring it can be dealing with constant business jargon and buzzphrases. They have their place in the office, but you don’t need to put on air for the people you talk to every day.
Forbes’ Bryan Robinson says that too many eye-rolling phrases will get under your coworkers’ skin, especially in casual conversation. Ditto with throwing around acronyms that everyone might not know as second nature. Too much jargon can alienate someone and make them feel like they aren’t part of the team.
Self-awareness is always a valuable trait, and being aware of how you interact with your coworkers is the easiest way to avoid these annoying behaviors. You might be guilty of one of the above from time to time, but if it becomes a pattern, you’ll get a bad reputation.