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Most Annoying Co-Worker, Manager Habits

A man is eating sushi in front of a computer.

​Co-workers can get on your nerves occasionally, but with so many people still working from home, that's been less of an issue, right?

Umm, no—at least not according to a survey of 1,900 U.S. workers conducted in February. Among its key findings:

  • 68 percent have confronted a co-worker about an annoying behavior.
  • 60 percent claim entry-level and midlevel co-workers are the most annoying
  • 48 percent find their co-workers less annoying in a remote setting.
Some of that irritating behavior happens during Zoom calls and other virtual meetings—background noise during video or phone calls, eating on camera, and muting and unmuting at improper times, for example. And 56 percent said not having a professional background during video calls reflected poorly on their co-workers. 

Slightly more than half (55 percent) of remote workers said their co-workers' behavior irks them at least a few times a week. The annoyance level rises for in-office workers, with 72 percent reporting they get annoyed with colleagues a few times during the course of the week. Maybe it's the result of being in close quarters, but some of the most irritating behaviors noted by in-house employees included reporting to work sick, talking too loudly on the phone and taking a call on speakerphone in an open office.

But whether in person or remote, interrupting others was listed as the most annoying work behavior overall, reported by 48 percent of respondents. Also in the top five: taking credit for another person's work, oversharing, not doing their own work and arrogant behavior. 

If you want to get along with your co-workers, stay away from talking about politics and COVID-19—including discussing vaccines. Respondents cited these as the most annoying discussion topics.

E-mail also can be a source of irritation, the survey found, with top pet peeves including sending unnecessary e-mails, "replying all" to company-wide e-mails, and unnecessarily marking e-mails as urgent or important. E-mails containing grammatical errors or promoting a side business also made the list.

Managers' troublesome behaviors also didn't escape unnoticed, including not showing up for a meeting they had scheduled (37 percent) and cancelling a meeting shortly before it's set to begin (35 percent). But playing favorites was the most annoying managerial habit. 


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.