A recent poll indicates that office workers have plenty of gripes, and most of them are about the behaviour of their co-workers. The list has plenty of tech complaints, but the biggest annoyance is also one of the oldest.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the number one office beef is gossip. The full top-7 list breaks down like this:
- Gossip (60%)
- Poor time management (including personal calls and non work-related web surfing) (54%)
- General messiness in shared spaces, such as dirty dishes in the sink (45%)
- Strong or offensive smells like perfume, smoke or food (42%)
- Loud noises such as speaker phones, raised voices or obnoxious ringtones (41%)
- Overuse of cellphones, BlackBerrys or PC’s during meetings (28%)
- Misuse of e-mail e.g. hitting ‘reply-all’ unnecessarily or putting people in the BCC line (22%)
The study was conducted with 2,429 respondents, all of whom were in the U.S. It would be interesting to see if the top seven were the same in Canada. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but my personal top peeves are actually the last 3 on the list. Having worked exclusively on websites for the last 10 years of my career, poor electronic etiquette drives me crazy. That said, here are my contributions to the office pet-peeves line-up:
- People who don’t take the time to read your emails thoroughly before replying (and yes, I’ve been guilty of this myself)
- Meetings that don’t have a specific goal or agenda and end up with nothing concrete being decided
- Conference calls on which people in a boardroom forget that others are on the phone
- People who carry on loud conversations as they walk down the hall (especially in open office environments)
- Poor spelling. I know, I’m showing my age on this one. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re going to communicate in writing, please, at least use the spell-check!
Ok, I can feel you absolutely shaking with the desire to add your pet peeves and vent your frustrations with the office… have at it… try to remain civil :-)
Update: I really should have provided a link to the original article, mentioned that the study was done by staffing firm Randstad USA. Sorry, my bad.
Also, you may be interested to know that people’s willingness to address their peeves with co-workers varied with the irritation in question: 42% were willing to address loud-talkers, 34% would confront the gossipers among them and only 25% would hold people accountable for their e-mail faux-pas.