The 'reply-all' and other office pet-peeves


Petpeeves 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:

  1. Gossip (60%)
  2. Poor time management (including personal calls and non work-related web surfing) (54%)
  3. General messiness in shared spaces, such as dirty dishes in the sink (45%)
  4. Strong or offensive smells like perfume, smoke or food (42%)
  5. Loud noises such as speaker phones, raised voices or obnoxious ringtones (41%)
  6. Overuse of cellphones, BlackBerrys or PC’s during meetings (28%)
  7. 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.

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50 comments

  1. Kelly

    My pet peeve is people who come to work and use it as their social outlet, no social life out of work so all conversations to coworkers are non-productive. either about husbands/wives, non-stop talk about their kids, or about how busy they are, blah blah blah blah.

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  2. cheryl

    Sounds to me, Kelly…..

    like, maybe you do not
    have a husband or kids

    because if you did….

    You would really
    UNDERSTAND
    why — those issues
    NEED to be talked
    about…
    People spend more time at
    work then they actually
    do with friends or family !!!

    Like

  3. Nadine

    my pet peeve are people who are anoyed by everything at work. i can't stand anal retentive who have a problem with everything don't wear sents, do use your phone, don't spell correctly. We're all at work just go with the flow.

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  4. Peter

    Nadine, you should check your own spelling before you say you dislike poor spelling: it's "scents", not sents.

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  5. Kate

    My personal pet peeve is when managers send out redundant memos berating everyone because they know who the person people are who caused the problem but for some reason are too scared to go and talk to them. All it really does is lower morale, waste paper, and kill trees. Another good one is when the manager tells you to leave your personal life at home when you come to work then spend most of their time complaining about how hard his/her life is. So the bottom lines for those who are guilty of that one: act as you would expect others to act and your subordinates or coworkers all have their own problems, They don't need yours too!

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  6. mike

    Im a real estate agent so I'm often on the road alot while always checking my email on my blackberry or laptop, my job is hard as hell and I try to remain civil but what pisses me off is drivers who just cut you off and give you the finger for no reason! Im a easy going guy obviously i dont care, if anything i'll pull him over and sell him a house. i came to the realization that alot of people have and actually live very depressing lives. People for some reason put on a show that they arent depressed.. How many people here know what im talkin about? and how many are one?

    By the way I'm in toronto i refer to myself as the best in my industry..being the best allows me to give my clients grade A service! I'm not number one…YOU are! interested in proper agent advice?

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  7. niu

    General messiness in shared spaces… come down to "general abuses in shared spaces". Including behavior such as rinsing mouth and brushing teeth in the kitchen sink.

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  8. Jesse

    Sounds to me like cheryl is defending those people who do nothing but talk about husbands and kids to others who will pretend to be nice and listen as maybe she is feeling guilty herself as being one of them who is too busy being married to her job and has no time for her husband and kids. Your time is what you make of it. Let's get that straight, right now. I pick up that cheryl is a talker rather than a listener. Have a nice day. :D

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  9. Ali Lwans

    -People who talk really loud on their phones, no not just cell phones, but office phones! It is really annoying when others are trying to do work.

    -Also the 'hierarchy' which really limits creativity, yet at the same time people not understanding their and other people’s respective roles. (A.k.a. people who some how get away with doing nothing).

    -People who take long and frequent breaks chatting about their social life to other people, who may or may not care (I am one of those people who do not care). Then as soon as it strikes five o-clock they complain that they have a lot of work, not to mention brag about the over time they are about to put in.

    Well those are just a couple. hahaha. Anyways, I also wanted to say, I probably do stupid annoying things at work too. Try not to get too annoyed and nit pick at the little things. Yet at the same time, it is important for everyone to try to respect his or her co-workers! A healthy stress-free work environment it the best environment, unfortunately it can only be achieved by working from home.

    CHEERS!

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  10. Curtis

    It is my belief that you would all benefit by reading a book called "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's a pretty hard book to put down once you begin reading it.

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  11. David

    I agree with Simons comments. I lived those very same comments during our company conference call yesterday. They send an agenda via email but none of the corporates are prepared on the subjects they sent on the agenda. My biggest peeve is when managers who are being spoken to during the call, speak just to be heard. Just shut up !!! and listen. Their comments are usually unrelated to the issue and have no value to anyone listening.

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  12. rob

    Office workers I figure you have alot to complain about .your management is not doing its job. So do it there are coffee breaks and lunch times those are the times to visit and chat or do what ever you want . But when at work (WORK)
    that is how it got named

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  13. Kristin

    Anyways, this really hot guy at my work is going out with this dumb annoying pig and I just don't understand. He could do so much better. I guess she knows this because she had a little "chat" with me today about it. She said she knows the stuff I've been saying and how it's just so inappropriate and that she just wanted to tell me so I know how disrespectful i'm being. I ACTULLY appologized but then I thought about it and now I just see she's trying to make drama out of nothing and is just really insecure.

    Anyways, that's my rant lol

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  14. sam

    I just hate office/elevator small talk. I don't need a weather update or your opinion about the weather from you everytime we look out the window or take a break.

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  15. Caitlyn

    My ultimate pet peeve at work is when my co-workers borrow my sex toys! Like geez, if your client requests a specific sex toy – make sure you have one of your own in stock!

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  16. geoff

    Speaking of spelling, since when is 'alot' one word? The dictionaries I've checked indicate there's no such word as 'alot' – so there must be 'a lot' of people who can't spell.

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  17. Chad

    I am personally, for the most part, impartial about work manners. You want to socialize, I'll socialize, you make a mess, I expect you'll act your age and clean it up… but what you do NOT under ANY circumstance do, is try and tell me how to do MY job. Unless you are in an aphiliated and superior role in the work place, that is the one singular way you will get on my nerves. Respect people, respect.

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  18. sarah

    i hate when people take super long breaks and their 10s are halfs and thier halfs are 45mins to an hour. but i quit my job so now i have nothing to complain about. Im a full time crim student and going to be a cop!!! P.S. i read all the comments and to those people who talk about thier family at work, keep doing it cuz it shows that you are a loving person and it makes you more approachable to the new employees. i love my family too!!!

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  19. Chas

    I'm consistantly irritated with people who walk around talking about how much work they do for so little pay. It's getting really old!

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  20. Kal

    I hate that smokers who take like 40 smoke breaks a day are not looked twice at, but when non-smokers look like they are not doing something for a second all hell breaks loose.

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  21. helpless

    pet peeves *LoL*
    try defending yourself once being accused of making fun of co-workers ratial differences unjustifiably!
    I'm at wits end. Missing a co-worker off on sick leave, I commented on the high quality of work performed and how she can not be replaced. The new fill-in took it wrongly (once she finised eaves dropping on my conversation) and twised what I had said to suite her needs of desiring going to a government legal service and accusing me of making fun of her because of her nationality.

    I can't even sleep anymore. All I want is to be able to work hard and find rest.

    re- pet peeve? how about co-workers having enough work not to bother other people?

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  22. Loki's Mom

    To everyone who keeps commenting on loud talkers (phone conversations, face-to-face with co-workers, whatever), make sure you've actually TOLD the person s/he is being loud, before griping about it. Many people don't know they are being heard throughout the office and would probably appreciate it if someone stopped by and made a polite suggestion that perhpas s/he could lower her/his voice because the office is so quiet everyone can hear her/him. If that doesn't help, *then* you can complain about it. Don't berate someone because they talk loudly unless you know the person is doing it on purpose.

    Talking about your family (or socialising in general) is fine, but do it during your break(s). Talking about your problems at home, is not. That's what friends are supposed to be for (or even other family members if you have them). If your co-workers are your friends, then take the conversation outside the workplace (or do it during a break, away from everyone else).

    My major pet peeve (and this is actually more for the internet than the workplace): spelling (and grammatical) errors. As someone pointed out, spell check is a button away (although if you've graduated high school you should be capable of basic spelling and grammar without resorting to spell check).

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  23. James

    i hate it when your on break and like a group of people start talking in there own language when they all know how to speak english, i dunno i just think thats rude, and really lame music being played really loud ha ha

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  24. Lisa

    First, I totally agree with the spelling thing. Second, I work in a family business. As one of the non-family members I find myself annoyed constantly by their bickering over non-work related issues, like debt management and christmas gifts. Also somehow out of the deal I gained an extra mother without the benefits of gaining a boyfriend. Nagging bosses are the worst, especially when they act like nagging mothers-in-law. I, like many others, would like a boss who knows what they want, when they want it, and how they want it done. I really get sick and tired of the 'well what do you think?' and the 'how would you do it?' questions. If I am not making a managerial salary then I don't want to be making managerial decisions!
    PEACE

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  25. Ghost

    Peter maybe you should take a reading course,Nadine was giving exampels of silly peevs people have, and her main foccus subject is going with the flow.

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  26. Ghost

    Jesse sounds like she is defending Kelly bashing Cheryl because shes another bitter single. get a real life not fake little single life that crashes and burns when your in your 30s its called growing up, have some kids you will see the importance of growing up,and learning lifes not all about you and your little circle of friends.

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  27. Donna

    I agree with a lot of the comments & have to admit I'm guilty of a few…I have a couple peeves to add,though..managers talking shop at coffee with a 'select few' and making the rest of us feel like we shouldn't comment but sit & listen how important they are! Also, the thin people commenting about having to lose weight & not eating this or that and usually making these comments in front of the manager when there is an over weight person nearby….heck, 'usually' size doesn't matter as long as you do your job & the people who make these comments either don't know or don't care how they make others feel.

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  28. krista

    i cant stand it when co-workers, supervisors or management complain that others are being slow or to talkative and then spend the whole day either standing in one spot or trying to find different ppl to chat with! this drives me crazy!its easy to tell ppl to hurry up when all you do is stand in one spot and count stuff or blab. all that leaning must be hard on the spine.
    Hypocrites, i hate hypocrites.

    p.s- i think kristin might be a crazy 16yr old! grow up and move on.

    Like

  29. Elvis

    Too anny of u that have probems w1th spell1ng peevs, 1 say get an 1Q spell1ng means noth1ng to l1ttle of a person's 1ntelegence. Rather people that compla1n about spell1ng, have less 1ntelegence because they can not f1gure out or 1nfrence the top1c be1ng presented,AKA they don't take t1me to read. Last time some one was perfect he was na1led to the cross. My po1nt people are not perfect and m1ght have learn1ng problems that cause spell1ng problems so make fun of that 1f your so h1 and m1ghty/pathet1c, also Albert Einstein and many other soc1ally dubed Gen1ous that could not spell for the l1fe of them, spell1ng is for secretarys to f1x. If you want spell1ng to be f1xed on a large scale standerd1ze spell1ng, rules no except1ons to the rules and take out the var1at1ons of sounds in words. other wise stop complane1ng. If you need to send letters out of your off1ce then spell check or get someone to proof read yes other w1se stop being P1ssy about spelling, Just My Op1n1on.

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  30. Elle

    My major pet peeve in the work place is a manager who expects you to do all the work on a project, then invariably 'forgets' to mention your name once the project is completed and recognized by upper management. Taking credit for someone else's hard work is soo not cool!!

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  31. Lori

    On the topic of spelling and grammar, I have just one comment. It reflects an education.

    Poor spelling and poor grammar is unprofessional, regardless if the communication is internal or external.

    Make the effort.

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  32. brady

    i get vexed when people whistle to get your attention like your some dog or pet like i am your slave. next time someone whistles at me i will punch them.

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  33. corky

    Hey, Ghost, there's more than one way to have a life . . . Biased a little?

    My peeve involves sleepy colleagues who forward your delicate/compromising work-related email to another concerned party without checking the email trail (which they should've been reading in the first place). Having been burned in a big way by this a couple of times years ago, I now militantly protect myself in the e-trails. Remember that the dopiest person on your e-trail makes you vulnerable to political snafus in the workplace.

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  34. Cathy

    Pet Peeve – Too many of my co-workers fight change and innovation. If they would just go with the flow and participate, they would appreciate the change.
    Incorrect spelling of names. Whether the name has 15 or 5 letters, it is rude and displays laziness to spell a person's name incorrectly. Get it write or keep asking until you do.

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  35. John

    Wow. Good thing the spell-checker is not active on this chat. We'd all see a lot of underlined words. Worst offense is a smoker returning from a smoke break and standing close to me. yuk…change your clothes or don't smoke in a confined area.

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  36. Defender

    Ladies I'd like to remind you that the comment board is to complain about YOUR OWN pet peeves not complain about other people's pet peeves. I've been married for 9yrs and when I go to work I do not talk about my wife, why? she's not going to help me win me that promotion that I've been waiting for, etc; The point being there's a time and place for everything. My biggest pet peeve is strong perfume scents.

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  37. john

    my pet peeve is when someone comes to me and starts talking about how busy they are. that happened to me the other day and I blatantly told the person," you don't look very busy right now ". that pretty much shut him up eh.
    p.s. what kind of job is caitlyn in? why does she have sex toys at work and why is her co-workers borrowing them for their clients?

    Like

  38. Morley

    To Cheryl: If you want to talk about your husbands or wives or kids, then take it to the cafeteria or the restaurant down the street. Just like I don't need someone farting in my office, I don't need to be subjected to people yapping about family problems. Work is where I go to work. If you need to socialize, that's what coffee breaks are for.

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  39. Andrea

    Curtis, you are so right. The Four Agreements is by far the best book I've ever read and the one that has really changed how I see myself and others in my world.

    Like

  40. GV

    my pet peeve is people who sit near you and constantly talk to themselves about their work, or whistle while they are working. But I don't work there anymore so it is not an issue right now. Also, I have a new job (about 2 1/2 mo) and my boss sits at the next desk in a very small office and does not say one personal word to me. It is all about the work. He does not even know if I have a family or pets or anything. He will not even say "bless you" when I sneeze. He is not too demanding so that is good. But I take my lead from him and so I do not ask him anything personal – I might once in awhile ask if he had a good weekend. It is so different from my last job where everyone was so friendly and outgoing but still professional. I need the job so I have to stay. Just wanted to vent.

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  41. Sarah B

    I HATE DIRTY STINKY SMOKERS THAT STINK WHEN THEY COME IN FROM THEIR BREAKS. NOT TO MENTION THAT THEY STAND 4 FEET OUT FROM EVERY OPENING OF EVERY BUILDING SO I HAVE TO WALK THROUGH THEIR CANCER STINK CLOUD WHEN COMING AND GOING. THEN THEY COME INTO THE OFFICE AND STINK STILL. YOU CAN TELL THEIR PATH THROUGHOUT THE OFFICE. THE WORST IS HAVING TO WORK RIGHT BESIDE SOMEONE WITH THIS TERRIBLE ODOUR.

    OTHER THAN THE FACT IT IS KILLING YOU AND YOU ARE TOTALLY IN CONTROLL OF THIS, YOU STINK TO HIGH HEAVEN AND IT IS RAUNCHY AND NASTY AND IF NO ONE HAS EVER TOLD YOU…..NOW I AM…..EVERYONE AROUND YOU THINKS IT…..DON’T BE A FOOL…..YOU BLOODY WELL STINK LIKE A DIRTY, NASTY DIRT BAG.

    IT’S HARD TO TAKE PEOPLE SERIOUSLY THAT STINK THAT BAD…I JUST CAN’T WAIT FOR THEM TO GO AWAY.

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  42. Meleras

    My pet peeve: body odour and management that refuses to do anything about it or is afraid to do anything about it.

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  43. Samantha

    my pet peeve really only applys to my work environment. my boss (the store manager of where I work) is very sexist. he favours guys over girls, because he is a guy and has 2 sons and no daughters. so anything the warehouse guys do wrong, he will take out on the girls. he does sometimes yell at the guys, but you do one thing wrong and hes in a bad mood allll day!
    my other pet peeve from my work is when people dont fill out Delivery/Pick-up-later forms correctly, or they dont file them correctly and I have to go and fix everything they f****d up on. so annoying, is a little competence to much to ask for?

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  44. yo yo

    I just developed this new pet peeve a few days ago. This guy who sits behind me keeps farting! SERIOUSLY! It stinks so bad. He keeps eating something, anything. I'm looking at this desk right now and he's got a box of FRENCH ONION CRACKERS! Smells more like a rotten french fries dipped in 50 year old cheeze! YUCK!

    Please everyone, if you have to fart, TAKE IT OUTSIDE! (or the bathroom if that's the case)

    Like