8 Things People Hate About Their Colleagues (Are You Guilty?)

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Bernard Marr

It’s true that we can’t choose our families, but in most cases, we also don’t get to choose our work colleagues — and many of us spend more time with the people at work than we do with our blood kin!

According to a UK study, one in five office employees say they hate one or more of their coworkers. A third of people in the study said they dislike their colleagues so much that they would never even consider socializing with them outside of work.

Bosses and senior management emerged as the most hated group overall, but no one was immune. The study found that media was the most vicious field to work in, followed by accounting, IT, and sales. Nursing came in as the nicest field.

No matter what your job, this study suggests that some people, somewhere in your office may really dislike each other… And these could be some of the reasons why.

  1. Disregard for shared spaces.
    Ever office has an office slob. They may be able to find what they need in that landfill they call a desk, but it may offend or inconvenience their colleagues — especially if they can’t find what they need when they need it. If someone’s mess goes beyond papers and files to include food wrappers and dirty dishes, closest neighbors may not appreciate the smell or potential for vermin. And if their mess extends to shared spaces like the kitchen or breakroom, well, now then they are just being inconsiderate.
  2. Lack of email etiquette
    Please tell me people at your work are not sending funny cat videos and spammy chain emails to their office mates… Even if someone’s email game isn’t that bad, they may still be annoying people if they habitually ‘reply all’ on emails when everyone does not need the reply, use all caps or no punctuation at all, or habitually send novels when a single sentence or two would suffice.
  3. Know-it-all
    Yes, clearly there are some people who are simply the smartest person in any boardroom, but no one else wants to be reminded of that. In fact, some have been so busy being right that they failed to notice that they have completely alienated their entire team, and that no one wants to implement their ideas just to spite them. Rather than having the answer for everything, why not let someone else have a go?
  4. TMI
    Sharing too much information (TMI) is a tricky line to walk. Many coworkers share personal information about their kids, their hobbies, or their pets – which is great and adds to things. But some may be crossing the line when they discuss their embarrassing medical problems, share photos of their weekend drunken debauchery, or kiss and tell. Remember, this doesn’t include just the things people tell their colleagues directly, but also the things they are unfortunate enough to have to overhear when they take private phone calls at their desk.
  5. Laziness
    Nothing will drop someone off people’s favorites list faster than not pulling their weight on the team. If there is someone who is constantly the one not finishing projects, taking long lunches, napping at your desk, or doing just the bare minimum to get by, they are the lazy guy. And those who have to pick up the slack for them won’t ever be their biggest fans. Similarly but slightly different, if someone is always late — to work, to meetings, to whatever — people get tired of that, too.
  6. Complaining
    If someone is constantly moaning about the work load, the hours, the boss, the temperature of the office or the sorry state of the coffee, you can bet that their coworkers are tired of listening to it. Everyone works hard, no one wants to stay late, and yes, the coffee sucks — but no one wants to hear about it all day every day.
  7. Gossip
    Many offices run on gossip as much as they do coffee or tea, but there’s also always someone who takes it too far.  If someone is more concerned with their coworkers’ personal lives or interpersonal communications than they are with their own life and work, chances are, somebody isn’t happy about it. Best to remember to mind your own business and let everyone else get on with theirs.
  8. Too competitive
    Competition can be healthy. Seeing who’s first on the sales leaderboard or who has completed the most projects this month can be motivating and fun. But when there is someone who acts as though work is a war and there can be only one victor, they’re probably taking things too seriously and almost certainly making enemies.

I believe that no-one should ever reach a state of ‘hating’ anyone at their work place and if people simply watched out for these little things our work places would be much better and happier places, for everyone!

What other most-hated office behaviors have I overlooked?  I’d love to have your contributions in the comments below.

Thank you for reading my post. Here at LinkedIn and at Forbes I regularly write about management, technology and Big Data.