The Top 10 Most Irritating Behaviours at Work

There’s the office jargon which we all love to hate (but still use ourselves). Now the spotlight is on the most annoying behaviours, courtesy of a study by UK outfit Flexioffices.  The company surveyed 2,500 workers across the UK to discover their opinions about the most irritating work habits, and here are the results:

1.  The blame dodger


Score: 17% of votes

Avoidance of responsibility is their ‘calling card’: these people will never take the blame for anything. It’s always someone else’s fault, they weren’t there at the time, you didn’t communicate clearly enough.

2. Lateness

Score: 15% of votes

Those in the East of England are very irked by people being late. And so they should be. There’s always one: the employee who has to be seven minutes late for every function, event or meeting. When you’re late, you are not only wasting your time, but everyone else’s too.  And as this survey shows, your lateness is noted by others.

3. People who stick their noses into every discussion

Score: 14% of the votes

You didn’t ask for their opinion – you never do – but they always give it. Nosy parkers take note: respect people’s boundaries!

4. Power trippers

Score: 12% of the votes

The only surprise is that this wasn’t higher on the list. Power trippers want to show others ‘who’s boss’; they bark orders at anyone who is bothered enough to listen and will tear into subordinates guilty of the smallest misdemeanour. It’s not a way to earn respect, power trippers!

5. Poor listening


Score: 9% of the votes

If you’re a poor listener, don’t look for work in the Yorkshire, Humber or Scotland regions. For a  good example of poor listening, watch this  video of Matt LeBlanc from the sitcom “Friends”, demonstrating what could only politely be described as ‘ineffective listening skills’:

6. People who play their music too loudly

Score: 9% of the votes

It’s always when you are working towards tight deadlines that your co-worker in the adjacent cubicle decides to listen to her favourite Iron Maiden track at eardrum-destroying levels, blaring out through her headphones.

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7. Dominating meetings

Score: 9% of the votes (joint 6 position)

Some co-workers want to hear only one person’s voice in the room: theirs. Women in particular do not like this behaviour. Men: you have been told.

8. Stealing other people’s food


Score: 7% of the votes

I once had a co-worker who labelled every item of food she had – including fruit. I can now understand why she did this.

9. Corporate laughter    

Score: 4% of the votes

Again, I’m surprised that this behaviour isn’t higher up the list. It seems that the higher up the corporate ladder the office joker is, the louder the laughter from others. Most office jokes aren’t funny, particularly any of this ilk:

"Hand over the tea/coffee and nobody gets killed!"


“Is it beer-thirty yet anyone?”

Resist any temptation to indulge this behaviour.

10. Dirty desks

Score: 3% of the votes

There’s a well-known adage that says, “Tidy desk, tidy mind”.  Untidy workers should take note of this, but as Albert Einstein said:

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

So it’s important to get the balance right.


Few of us try to be annoying to others, but there’s a fine line between seemingly innocuous behaviour and behaviour that is just irritating.  Aim to become the colleague that everyone wants to work with – you’ll go far in your career.

What irritating behaviours would you add to this list?

Flexi Offices




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