Even if you know you should be a good neighbor to your coworkers and cubemates, we still all have that one coworker who unintentionally offends others or hinders their productivity. Why not take a moment to assess your coworking style and make sure you’re not being “that guy” (or gal)—the annoying coworker who displays one of these traits.
The smelly neighbor
Let’s assume that good hygiene is a given, shall we? But that’s not enough to be a “scents”-ible coworker. In one study, one-third of respondents reported fragrance sensitivities. So, whether you’re dousing yourself in perfume or cologne, or constantly spraying air freshener, you could be inadvertently turning off your work neighbor.
If you find yourself frequently using an odor-eliminating spray, think about why. Food is a major culprit: try not to chow down on last-night’s stinky fish leftovers or a kimchi salad, and take care not to burn your popcorn, which can infiltrate your work space for hours.
The loud neighbor
Ding ding…ding ding…you may love being popular, but the rest of the office doesn’t necessarily need to know what you did last night or how many texts you get. Consider putting your phone on silent and turn down the volume on your computer speakers. If listening to music helps you focus, try to make sure you wear earbuds or headphones, but don’t totally zone out either. You don’t want to be the bad coworker who doesn’t see a colleague madly waving to get your attention.
Finally, you will most likely be considered a rude coworker if you take personal calls and yap loudly on your phone all day. Try to keep calls to a minimum and move outside or to a conference room if the conversation is going to get long—or animated.
The nosey neighbor
When you think of annoying coworkers, the “chatty Cathy” takes the cake. If a coworker is clearly concentrating, take care not to engage them in conversation. Consider watching the interruptions, especially if you’re tempted to get involved in something you inadvertently overheard. An open plan or cubicle environment provides easy access to your coworkers’ discussions, but try not to butt in unless your advice or insight is requested.
The sick neighbor
Rude coworker alert! If you’re coughing and sneezing, please just go home. Nobody wants your germs, yet one poll found that a surprising three-quarters of respondents say they come to work sick. Don’t fool yourself that this is noble: germs spread like wildfire in an office, so try to keep yourself and your hacking at home.
The messy neighbor
Annoying coworkers have desks strewn with papers or constantly leave dirty dishes in the break room. Consider taking the time to clean up after yourself, whether it’s making sure you have sufficient file folders and other organizational tools to keep your worker station pristine, washing your own dishes or wiping down your desk and any shared workspaces to keep them clean and germ-free.
This National Good Neighbor Day try to take a moment to think about all the actions that make you a good neighbor at home—and bring them to the office to maximize coworker relationships.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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