20 Things That Annoy People at Work

Working alongside other people in business requires you to adjust to different personalities, broken equipment, and everyday old bad habits. If any of these things annoy you, join the club because you have plenty of company. Practically everyone encounters irritating coworkers and disruptions during the workday they consider to be annoying. Most of the issues are small and minimally impact the company’s overall performance. However, they are common complaints heard in most workplaces, yet rarely addressed. Recently, Zety, a career advice website, conducted a survey to gain insight into the things people think are most annoying at work. More than 1,000 people completed the 56-question survey. Surprisingly, most of the issues the survey respondents mentioned can easily be remedied with better communication and a little more planning. Here are the top ten things respondents believe are very annoying or annoying about their jobs.


  1. Hardware not working correctly, slow computers (61 percent)
  2. Coworkers leaving the bathroom without washing their hands (59 percent)
  3. Coworkers coming to work when they are sick (53 percent)
  4. Wi-Fi is slow (51 percent)
  5. Bad breath, or body odor (50 percent)
  6. Printer is out of paper, broken or jammed (48 percent)
  7. Calling unnecessary meetings to discuss issues that could be handled by e-mail
  8. People drinking out of someone else’s cup (45 percent)
  9. Coworkers coming in late or leaving early (44 percent)
  10. Limited parking spaces (43 percent)

Men Get More Annoyed Than Women
The Zety survey, results indicate that men have a higher level of annoyance than women in twenty-five of the twenty-eight topics about “pet peeves,” and personal preference related to how respondents feel about their coworker’s bad habits. However, women (45 percent) were more annoyed than men (33 percent) by coworkers who neglected to wash their hands before leaving the bathroom. Women (30 percent) were also more annoyed by people who come to work sick than men (22 percent). Additionally, more women (20 percent) than men (10 percent) would opt to turn down a cold air conditioner.

Gen Z and Millennials Rank Highest
People tend to take things in stride as they become older. Situations that bothered them at one point in their lives become less aggravating over time. They learn to ignore their coworker’s annoying habits and focus on those things that are within their control. According to the study, Gen Z and Millennials have a higher annoyance level than Gen X and Baby Boomers in 26 of the 28 questions that identify pet peeves. The only areas where they rated lower than Gen Z and Baby Boomers were coworkers coming in sick, and coworkers browsing social media or texting.

Respondents who rate “coming in sick” as very annoying

  • Baby Boomers (32 percent)
  • Gen X (30 percent)
  • Millennials (24 percent)
  • Gen Z (23 percent)

Respondents who rate “texting and browsing social media” as very annoying

  • Baby Boomers (32 percent)
  • Gen X (30 percent)
  • Millennials (24 percent)
  • Gen Z (23 percent)

As mentioned earlier, the survey asked a total of 56 questions. So, what were the ten least annoying or highly annoying situations that bothered respondents?

  1. Too little time to interact with coworkers (19 percent)
  2. People chewing on pencils or pens (25 percent)
  3. Company firewall (25 percent)
  4. Few sockets available (25 percent)
  5. Not enough coffee in the pot (27 percent)
  6. Inadequate lighting or décor (28 percent)
  7. Overusing jargon or buzzwords (28 percent)
  8. People having conversations in bathrooms (28 percent)
  9. No clean dishes to use (29 percent)
  10. Elevator our of service (29 percent)

It seems that people are beyond annoyed at times and wanted to add additional comments that were not covered by questions in the survey. These respondents mentioned office politics (backstabbing, favoritism, and gossip), noise (whistling, loud eating, music), and people who aren’t doing their fair share of the work. Human nature being what it is, people are bound to have disagreements. As one respondent wisely said, “work is hard.” Whatever employers can do to make the work environment less stressful, the better for everyone concerned, certain things in the survey are people’s annoying habits that can’t be changed. However, fixing office equipment and elevators promptly is undoubtedly doable. If you are an employer and the company offers free perks such as coffee or snacks, ask for volunteers who are willing to make coffee or notify someone when supplies run low. If at all possible, consider letting employees work from home when they are sick. Everyone who wants to stay healthy will appreciate your concern and willingness to accommodate their circumstances.   


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