Nobody is perfect, we’ve said this over and over again. Not only that: we cannot please everyone, and that is perfectly normal.

What we can do, however, is try to avoid all those behaviours and habits that irritate others. In some cases it’s a matter of understanding the more or less particular needs of close colleagues. In others it’s a matter of eliminating ways of doing things that are generally considered annoying.

The question is: which behaviours are we talking about?

The American Quality Logo interviewed almost two thousand American employees to find out. The rankings aren’t at all surprising: in first place we find those who interrupt their colleagues when they speak, in second place those who take credit for the merits of others and in third place those who talk too much about personal matters.

The annoying habits however are numerous and can hardly be summarised. We collected the main ones here below.

Being constantly late

Being on time is a sign of respect in every sphere of life and at work it should always be a prerogative. Many people, however, haven’t learnt this ‘rule’: they arrive late to the office, show up late for meetings or linger too long when having a coffee break. In the long run (but not so long) this behaviour can irritate not only colleagues but also direct superiors.

Constantly using the telephone (for personal matters)

We’re not talking about the occasional emergency call from a family member, but about a behaviour that is repeated over time. Using office hours for personal calls, texting or constant social media scrolling is an unacceptable behaviour more for colleagues than HR. The equation is simple: time spent on the phone = time in which you aren’t working (while others are).


Earlier we were talking about oversharing private matters: the habit becomes even more annoying if these conversations are about personal problems, especially if they are minor.

Those who constantly complain also often engage in other childish behaviours, which can spoil the mood of those around them in a matter of minutes.

Asking too many questions

We live in a fast-paced world where every minute is precious to maintain high productivity. Having to explain the same thing several times to a colleague can become not only annoying, but also problematic. When it’s a new employee the behaviour is excusable, but the same can’t be said with more experienced colleagues: in these cases the continuous request for clarification looks like a waste of time or simply a result of inattentive listening.

Excessively loud tone of voice

There are of course many other habits that are more or less annoying, from tapping on your desk to clearing your throat too often. Luckily most people try to improve their behaviour once warned: the important thing is to always approach others tactfully and politely, so as not to get on the wrong side of them.

If this method doesn’t work, the only solution is the manager: disrespectful behaviour can destroy even the most closely-knit team if strict measures aren’t immediately taken.

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