In Letterman-like fashion, I am presenting the most horrifying, offensive and incessant co-worker behaviors that infect the office and kill your productivity.
#10. Gum chewing. Whether it occurs just at inappropriate times or constantly throughout the day, gum chewing can be a major distraction. The constant “smack, smack, smack” of your boss’ mouth is not only irritating but unprofessional.
#9. Smelly food. Nothing distracts more than a co-worker with a strong smelling lunch. A ban on microwaved fish should be instituted immediately in offices nationwide.
#8. Clipping fingernails. Aside from the bothersome clinking sound of the clippers, you must also guard against nail clippings flying at you as you walk by. Personal grooming habits are best kept personal and have no place in an office environment.
# 7. Bad coffee breath. A five-minute meeting with a foul-smelling co-worker can feel like an overnight retreat. Skip offering them gum (see annoying habit #10) and go straight for the mints instead.
# 6. Unsolicited Humming. Sitting next to a budding American Idol is not fun, no matter how great a voice your co-worker might have. There are some great noise-cancelling headphones on the market nowadays that are surprisingly affordable.
# 5. King of forwards. Every office has one. The one person who just doesn’t seem to get that people don’t want to clutter their inboxes with pictures of dogs dressed up as Yoda or an image of Tweety Bird made entirely out of ‘@’ symbols.
# 4. Really personal conversations. I believe that a company is a community of employees and that co-workers are almost like a second family. That said—not everyone wants to know about the wart on Marty’s foot or how Carol’s daughter is involved with a married man. We shouldn’t have to abandon our personal lives at the office, but we don’t need to put it all out there either.
# 3. Working while sick. No one wants to sit next to someone who is constantly sniffling, sneezing and coughing their germs all over the office. Folks need to starting taking sick days when they’re sick instead of saving them up for the family vacation to Mexico.
# 2. Not re-filling the water-cooler or making fresh coffee. Common courtesy is slowing disappearing from corporate offices. It should be a mandatory requirement in every company handbook that the person who drinks the last cup should have to replace the pot.
# 1. Inappropriate ringtones. There is nothing more exasperating than sitting in a meeting and all of a sudden the “Thong Song” starts playing. Vibrate is the only acceptable ring for the workplace but at the very least, ringtones that can be heard in the office should never include the words “biatch” or “ho.”
If you work in an office where you experience one or more of the above behaviors, you have my sympathies and hopefully some good anti-bacterial lotion and an iPod.