Bugbears that Drive Your Co-Workers Crazy

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They may seem harmless to you, you may not even notice them at all, but to your co-workers they may be annoying bugbears that drive them crazy. A new study carried out by The Brooke animal welfare charity has identified the top office bugbears or habits that drive people nuts. So what kind of bugbears did people say drove them crazy? 

The top office bugbears are actually being copied into emails that don’t concern you and having the phone ringing at one minute to five, just before you are about to leave the office. More general complaints among employees included air-conditioning being too powerful so that the office was like a freezer, colleagues who always speak too loudly on the phone, and surprisingly a company buying poor quality teabags for the company kitchen. Also featuring prominently on the list of bugbears was co-workers stealing coffee mugs, car parking related drama and uncomfortable chairs.

Tatjana Trposka of The Brooke said:

“We can all relate to the grumbles in this list.

“Being copied in to emails that don’t concern you or having your computer crash when you’re finishing some important work can be the peak of frustration for UK workers.


“But these aren’t called ‘first-world’ problems for nothing.


“Our research brings home the fact that no matter how annoying our work life can be, it doesn’t compare with the hardship suffered by working animals around the world today.


“While we complain that our offices are too cold, there are horses and donkeys slaving away in 60 degree heat without the luxury of medical insurance or hourly tea breaks


“A heavy work load for working donkeys is carrying half their own body weight on their back all day long to help their owners earn a modest living.”

However, of the 2000 workers polled more than half of them also admitted that many of the things that annoy them are small and petty. Some 39% of those polled admitted that the bad habits of someone senior to them was more likely to annoy them than a junior employee. Smells such as body odor, bad breath and smelly food were a common complaint by respondents. 18% of those polled even claimed to have confronted their colleagues over bad habits, but this was usually done in a lighthearted fashion and in 12% of the cases it became a running joke.

Aside from the petty problems there are the more serious issues that people have with management and their employer. These include no pay rise, no promotion, a lack of appreciation of work and too heavy a work load.

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Workers also resented workers who came in late and left early. One in five also said that the most irritating traits which a coworker could possess was never admitting they were wrong and making a drama out of every single situation. Amazingly a quarter of people also said they hated people who sing all day. So apparently a song doesn’t put a spring in everyone’s step.

 Tatjana Trposka continued:

“These survey results show that in the grand scheme of things, we don’t have it that bad.


“World Donkey Week reminds us how tough working conditions can really be.


“The Brooke works with communities to help them better understand the welfare needs of their working animals so they have a better working life.


“We hope this study will encourage people to appreciate how fortunate they are in their day-to-day working lives and spare a thought for the hardworking animals around the world who don’t have a say.”

According to the survey the top 50 office bugbears and top 20 traits of annoying colleagues respectively were:


1. Being copied in to emails that aren’t relevant to me

2. The phone ringing at 1 minute to 5

3. Computer crashing

4. Air con making the office too cold

5. The printer breaking down

6. Colleagues that smell of BO

7. Loud telephone voices

8. People chatting too much

9. People not cleaning the microwave after use

10. People sniffing

11. People reading emails over your shoulder

12. Running out of toilet roll and not replacing it

13. Colleagues not saying thanks when you hold the door open for them

14. People with bad breath

15. Anyone that says ‘blue sky thinking’

16. Inconsiderate parking

17. Co-workers’ smelly lunches

18. Uncomfortable chair

19. Those that book school holidays off really far in advance

20. Your boss catching you on Facebook for 1 minute when you have been manic all day

21. Your company blocking you from certain websites

22. People in the car park blocking you in

23. The company providing cheap teabags

24. Colleagues moaning about personal life

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25. Co-workers who constantly boast about their children

26. Diet bores who constantly talk about their food

27. Colleagues that are younger than you telling you what to do

28. People pinching your lunch out of the fridge

29. Those that leave empty wrappers in the tin of sweets

30. Incessant birthday cake and sweet treats

31. The vending machine stealing your money

32. Colleagues not making tea

33. Colleagues using work phones row with their partner

34. Someone using your mug

35. No one refilling the stapler

36. Co-workers who constantly text at their desk

37. Queuing for the microwave

38. Co-workers who leave at 5 on the dot

39. Colleagues leaving the toilet seat up

40. The lift breaking down

41. Not enough plug sockets

42. Fire alarm going off when you’re on the phone

43. Colleagues describing their dreams in exact detail when they come in

44. Colleagues singing

45. People who chew pens

46. Having to stretch over desks to answer a colleague’s phone

47. Clients turning up early for meetings

48. People not chatting enough

49. People forever stealing your favourite pen

50. The water cooler being too far away


Blames everyone for mistakes

Come in late and go early

Never admit being wrong

4. Makes a drama out of everything

5. Sucks up to the boss

6. Take credit for others’ work

7. Make personal calls

8. Slags everyone off behind their back

9. Never make a tea round

10. Hand over complicated work

11. Never listens when you talk to them

12. Takes time off sick with minor ailments

13. Whistle all day

14. Sing all day

15. Has poor personal hygiene

16. Have earphones plugged in all day

17. Never chip in for birthday presents

18. Get drunk at office parties

19. Books up all the school holidays first

20. Always calls you when you are on holiday

So do you think that you are more of a victim of the office bugbears / annoying traits or are you a perpetrator? Perhaps you are both? Do you have any which are not included on the list? Your thoughts and comments below…





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