When you work side-by-side with someone in a vehicle, a workspace, or some other close quarters, you’re exposed to each other’s habits daily. Unfortunately, not everyone likes what they see, hear, or smell.  

Sometimes, we can distance ourselves from the annoying coworker that no one wants to be around, but what if that person is someone you need to share a space with?

Rude behavior in the workplace or on the job site comes down to insensitivity toward others. In some cases, the individual is oblivious to their annoying behavior, while, in other cases, they are downright malicious. Rude behavior is especially off-putting when you cannot guard yourself against the sounds and smells of those around you.

What you might consider rude may be normal behavior for a coworker, which is why it is crucial to understand what behaviors are generally considered, by experts, to be disrespectful and impolite.

Here are the top nine disrespectful and impolite behaviors that are most annoying to coworkers:

1. Showing Up Sick To Work

We’ve all experienced a situation where someone shows up to the job site physically ill. They’ll cough and sneeze all day and blame it on allergies when everyone knows they are sick.

Experts say that regardless of whether a cough or a sniffle is innocent or signaling something more serious, most employees are sensitive about getting sick and taking time off from work, especially during the holidays. Showing up at work while physically ill shows a profound disrespect for the health and welfare of others.  

2. Invading Other People’s Spaces With Your Stuff

When you have a work area specifically dedicated to your use, whether it’s a desk, storage, or some other space, there is nothing more annoying than someone else moving or storing their items, such as tools or other materials, in that area.

In shared workspaces where employees have dedicated spaces for their own use, workers should never have the attitude or assume that because every area is accessible, it is available for everyone to use. When clear boundaries are set, experts say they must be respected.

3. Listening to Music Without Using Headphones

There’s a good chance that the person working next to you does not want to listen to your music. Whether it’s a matter of taste or if it’s just a distraction for them, no one should force their coworkers to listen to something they don’t want to listen to. So the next time you want to listen to music or your favorite podcast at work, bring your headphones.

4. Making Bodily Noises or Gossiping

According to experts, a common complaint among workers is that they have to hear unwanted sounds from a coworker.

In this case, we’re talking about sounds far beyond music or radio shows. Bodily noises, including chewing, heavy breathing, belching, and flatulence, can be incredibly annoying to those around you. They are often coupled with equally off-putting smells.

Telephone calls and conversations with coworkers can be just as distracting and annoying. In fact, it sometimes isn’t so much the fact that coworkers are talking that can be annoying but what they are talking about. Whether hearing a coworker argue with their spouse over the phone or getting sucked into a conversation where coworkers gossip about someone else in the organization, experts say this type of behavior is rude and disruptive.

If you suffer from unwanted sounds on the job, experts say noise-canceling headphones can solve your problem.

5. Tuning Out Coworkers Who Are Trying to Talk to You

Before you invest in those noise-canceling headphones, remember that listening to something on your headphones with the sound turned up too loud can also be considered rude behavior. In most cases, the work environment is interactive, and there will be times when coworkers need to communicate, whether for safety reasons or to ensure that the task you are performing gets done right and on time.

Experts note that trying to speak to your coworker while having to repeat yourself over and over is also pretty annoying. So coworkers need to find a balance that works for them.

6. Treating a Shared Workspace Like Your Home

Experts say that many people need to hear this; a shared workspace is not your home!

Whether it’s hosting a Zoom presentation at full blast, broadcasting a personal call on speaker, eating microwaved meals under your coworker’s nose, or letting personal items spill into neighboring work areas, your shared workspace is not your home.

7. Interrupting or Commenting on Private Conversations

Just because you share a work area with someone and you can hear their conversations doesn’t mean you have an open invitation to share your two cents. Experts note that offering your opinion or unsolicited advice comes across as condescending and will likely frustrate, annoy, or even embarrass your coworker. So don’t do it.

8. Using Way Too Much Perfume or Cologne

Some people are sensitive to smells. So, you should be mindful of how much perfume or cologne you wear, as it may be annoying or distracting to your coworkers. If you need to wear a scent, experts say you should use just one spritz.

9. Being Unwilling To Take Responsibility

What sort of energy do you bring into your workplace?

Getting through the workday is hard enough without dealing with a coworker constantly complaining or being negative. While not every day at work can be filled with unicorns and roses, that one coworker bringing negativity to the worksite daily can cause immense strain on others and create an unpleasant environment.

When it comes to any of these annoying and rude habits, the answer is simple; Don’t be that person!


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