Back To Career News

10 Ways to Drive Your Co-workers Insane


Some days, it can be difficult enough to hang out in an office all day. It’s an even more difficult duty when you work with someone who has an annoying habit, and by no means do you want to be the person in the office that gets on everyone’s nerves. If you don’t want to be the cause of your co-workers’ insanity, you may want to refrain from the following activities.

You may not even know that things you’ve been doing your entire life, are annoying to the people you work with. Furthermore, many activities are fine and dandy at home or while hanging out with friends and family members, but are annoying to your co-workers.

1.  Chewing Loudly

Chewing loudly in the office, and nearly every other venue, is an extremely annoying habit. This includes, but is not limited to, snorting, slurping, smacking your mouth, and making other noises most commonly heard amongst animals. If the room is quiet except for the noises you make when you are eating, you are chewing too loudly.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

2.  Popping Gum

Chewing gum alone is sometimes unacceptable in certain professional settings, but popping gum crosses the line a bit further. If you have ever been around a chronic gum popper for four or more hours straight, you are aware of how similar the noise is to the incessant dripping of Chinese Water torture. It takes a strong co-worker to survive daily gum popping without going insane.

3.  Bringing In Smelly Food

For some reason, certain co-workers have no problem with bringing in old, leftover fish for lunch to refrigerate and microwave in the company refrigerator and microwaves. In case you haven’t noticed, the entire building smells like your lunch afterwards. Also, probably refrain from bringing in the limburger sandwich. Stick to PB&J. No one in the history of lunchtime has ever been annoyed by a person eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

4.  Lingering

You know how sometimes the conversation ends and you try to get back to work but the person is still standing around, looking at papers on your desk, fiddling with your bulletin board, asking random weather-related questions? Don’t be a linger-er.

5.  Close Talker

If you are speaking so closely to your co-worker that you can list what they had for lunch, you are too close. This will not only drive your co-workers insane but make them uncomfortable. Unless you work with your mother, then you are probably safe.

6.  Too Much Email

Chain emails and multiple emails about nothing important will drive your co-workers crazy too. Be careful of what you email and try not to junk up their inboxes so much that they miss important work-related emails.

7.  Loud Talker

Not everything needs to be shared with the entire office and it is likely that a lot of information needs to be heard by the entire office. Use your inside voice. Turn off the caps lock.

8.  Slob in Shared Spaces

Being a slob, messy, or unorganized can also convey an image that you don’t care for your job, or are not completely attentive to your job. Clean up your work area and keep it as tidy as possible. It is recommended to be obsessive about being clean in shared spaces, however keep in mind that being an overly obsessive clean freak can also drive your co-workers nuts.

9.  Being a Debbie Downer

Everyone has problems. Try not to be the person that has the cloud of gloom following them around. Negativity is contagious.

10. Smelly Perfume

Not just perfume that doesn’t smell nicely, as everyone has different preferences, but wearing so much perfume that co-workers complain of headaches. If the entire building smells like you, your perfume may be driving your co-workers crazy–and not in a good way.


Sneezing All Over the Place

Granted, sometimes you can’t stop a full blown sneeze from exploding all over your desk. It is probably a good idea to have a box of tissues handy in case of this type of emergency. Otherwise, anytime any of your co workers have to use your phone, computer or touch anything in your area, they are going to be grossed out by the memory of you sneezing all over everything.

Reminding Everyone How Over Qualified You Are

There are always going to be times in the office where employees feel underappreciated and wonder whether they could be doing something bigger and better. However, constantly reminding the people you work with that you are way over qualified and totally under paid for the same position they are in, simply tells them that you are also way better than they are and are just hanging around a bunch of dummies for fun.

Nosepicking. burping and passing gas loudly should also be avoided in the workplace. If you just keep in mind that not everything is appropriate in a professional setting, you will have a better chance of keeping your co-workers sane. And, as they say, sane co-workers, are happy co-workers.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What habits drive you insane? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!

More From PayScale

Creative People Are Jerks, Study Finds

Why Happy People Have the Most Difficult Jobs

3 Things You Should Never Say At Work

(Photo Credit: Evil Erin/Flickr)





Christina Majaski
Read more from Christina

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
MumbleMumbleMumble Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I have a co-worker that mumbles to herself all day.  All day.  Every day.  There’s a psychological phenomenon, which I don’t know the name for, that makes mumbling by someone whose in the same room more annoying than irrelevant loud noise like someone in the next room being on a conference call for an hour. I wish I knew what the psychological phenomenon was called, because I would mumble it all day just for fun.

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.