7 habits of highly annoying coworkers (video transcript)

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Do you have one of those teammates, not somebody who’s incompetent or actively aggressive or nasty, but one that’s just so annoying and has these little habits and idiosyncrasies that drive you around the bend? In over 25 years of studying teamwork, I’ve seen all kinds of workplace habits that are downright infuriating. So much so, I needed a chance to vent.

Here’s my list of seven of the most annoying things a coworker can do.

Annoying habit #1: Coworkers not respecting other people’s time

Okay, number one is the teammate who asks you for something like it’s so urgent they need it yesterday, and so you move your priorities off and you stay late and you get it done. And then they haven’t even opened the email for three days.


That’s so self-centered, making it seem like your priorities are way less important than theirs. Awful.

Annoying habit #2: Coworkers asking for things they could just do themselves

Number two is the person who treats you like their own personal search engine. They just turn to you and they’re like, “Uh, what’s the fastest way to get from New York to San Francisco?” Or, “How many widgets are sold in the average year?”

I fall for that one all the time. I just call up Google and I… wait what, I’m not your personal assistant! You can actually figure this out for yourself. Don’t treat me like your own private Google. No. So annoying.

Annoying habit #3: The coworker who swallowed the thesaurus

Number three is the person who’s always trying to sound so smart. You know, they’re talking about how to utilize a novel paradigm to generate accretive outcomes. Oh, come on. Really? Give it a rest. You don’t need to pretend you’re smarter than everybody else. So annoying.

Annoying habit #4: Coworkers who are never on time for meetings (and then disrupt them when they get there)

Number four is the person who is chronically late for meetings, like somehow they just can’t figure out how to get there on time. And then 10 minutes in, they’ll say something like, “Oh, okay sorry that I’m late. Could you just go back and tell me what you covered?” No, you were late. Just because you were late, just because you missed the bus doesn’t mean that everybody else has to back up and use up their time on that. No way.

Or similarly, they’re late, and then they go on like, “Well, somebody might have already said this before I got here, but…” and then they go on and and say it. Well, actually somebody did say it before you got here, and it was way more articulate than when you just said it. No, thank you.

If you’re sick of your meetings getting off to a shaky start, here’s how to get them going more effectively.

Annoying habit #5: The coworker who’s a chronic temperature-twitcher

Talking about meeting etiquette, number five is the person who walks into the meeting room, takes one look around and decides that somehow the temperature is not maximally conducive to their “creative genius”, so they walk over and change the thermostat without asking anybody. You know, I’ve had this so many times, some guy in a three piece suit walks in and puts the thermostat down to the level of happy penguin. And I’m sure guys can relate to the woman who’s walked in, cranked the heat so it’s approximately the right setting for doing bikram yoga.

No, your own personal thermostat is not the official team thermostat! Leave it alone!

Annoying habit #6: The coworker who’s two-faced

Number six is the person who’s just blowing sunshine at you all the time and saying all these nice things and pretending that you’re such good friends. And then you catch them at the water cooler slagging you off or saying something totally different to what they said to you. No, passive aggressiveness is uncool. And if that’s something you’re having a problem with, here’s how to deal with it.

Annoying habit #7: Coworkers who play the martyr

Okay, the final one is the person on your team who’s says, “Oh, woe is me. I have so much to do. This is so hard. My work is harder than anybody else’s.” But when you offer to help, they’re like, “no, no it’s fine”. No, you can’t turn down help and then play the martyr. No way.

Which annoying habits would you add to my list?

All right. Those are a few of the habits of coworkers that aren’t necessarily anything horrible or suggest any kind of incompetence, but are just so unnecessary and so annoying.

But what would you add to my list? Let me know in the comments. And I know this post had absolutely nothing constructive to say, but thanks for letting me vent all the same.

More on this

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Dealing with the person who skips your meetings

Stop Trying to Sound Strategic!

Video: How to Deal With One of the Most Annoying Workplace Habits