10 of The Most Irritating Things People Who Work in Offices Do

When you spend eight hours a day trapped in a room with your coworkers, the little things they do start to bug you.

Thankfully, the people I work with at RotaCloud are a pretty considerate bunch generally, keeping their bad habits under wraps and never invading others’ personal space. Between us, though, we have a wealth of experience working with people who were—shall we say—slightly less considerate.

Ready to vent some of that pent-up office rage? Let’s take a look at ten of the most abhorrent things people who work in offices can ever do…


1. Bringing in Stinky Food

I’m all for eating leftovers for lunch, but tucking into a tub of last night’s takeaway jalfrezi or stinky stewed cabbage at work is just plain evil. There are some foods (tuna; hardboiled eggs; anything with kimchi in it…) that should be outright banned in the workplace. Forever. Yes, they’re tasty, and it’s fine when you’re all eating the same kind of dish together on Deliveroo Fridays, but they stink the entire office out. And the kitchen. And sometimes, if you’re really unlucky, the staff toilets. Death—DEATH, I say—to these olfactory offenders!

“Like the time one of our co-founders cooked broccoli in the office microwave….”

2. Eating Noisily

Noisy eaters are the bane of many an office worker’s life. Their lip-smacking, soup-slurping, open-mouthed chomping is enough to drive anyone mad, leaving the rest of us quietly cursing their lack of manners and daydreaming about slapping their sandwich out of their hand and screaming, “Eat with your &$%$ing mouth closed!”. Oh, and if you’re reading this and thinking, “I’ve never really found this all that annoying,” then beware—there’s every chance that you’re the one everyone secretly wants to murder whenever you pull an apple from your bag…

3. Oversharing About Their Personal Life

Every office has got one: a person who always seems to be having some sort of crisis or drama going on in their personal life that must — must — be talked about in explicit detail at work. Sadly, though, it’s never particularly interesting stuff. In fact, it’s usually the kind of BS information that you could really live without. Did you know, for example, that the travel company Sandra booked her holiday with has gone bankrupt and now she’s going to have to go camping with her mate Beth instead? Beth farts in her sleep and has to take special tablets to keep it under control…

“Thank you, Sandra. Do please keep us updated about Beth’s nocturnal emissions…”

4. ‘Following Up’ Emails in Person

Then there are those people who, if they don’t receive a reply to their email within half an hour of sending it, will follow up with another email ‘just to check’ that you got it. Then, if you don’t immediately reply to that, they’ll come over to your desk to politely ask if you’ve ‘had a chance’ to read it. These people are spectacularly awful and should be avoided at all costs.

5. Coming into Work When They’re Sick

It can be pretty annoying when a member of your team is constantly taking time off. Far worse, though, is the person who insists on soldiering on even when they’re highly contagious, coughing and sneezing on everyone and everything in sight. If you work in an office and you’re ill, then you should only ever do one of the following two things: 1. come to work wearing a haz-mat suit, or 2. stay at home until your head no longer resembles a sprinkler and you’re not about to share your lurgy with the entire team.

“Um, would you like a tissue?”

6. Leaving Used Teabags in the Sink

Contrary to popular belief, tea bags do not need a mourning period once they’ve been used. Tea bags are simple creatures: once they’ve been dunked in some hot water, and perhaps swished about or gently squeezed against the side of a mug with the back of a spoon, they have fulfilled their delicious drinky destiny. They’re happy. They’re enlightened. Let them go. Don’t, under any circumstances, leave them in the sink so that people can come and pay their respects.

7. Asking You to Sponsor Their Kid

“How is this annoying?! The people in my office don’t seem to mind!”

Sorry to break it to you, hombre, but when your coworkers agree to contribute to little Archie’s sponsored hop/hug/high-five, all they’re really doing is scanning the form to see how little they can get away with pledging and then quietly hoping that a tummy bug strikes his class just before the big day, rendering Archie and his pals incapable of doing anything besides watching CBeebies and occasionally scuttling off to do a runny poo.

Of course, you may well already know this and are using our collective guilt and social awkwardness to your advantage, in which case bravo. You earned every penny of that sponsorship money, you evil genius.

Him: Most people are donating 10p for every hop Archie does. Me: …

8. Not Making Tea Rounds

You know that type—that guy or girl who never turns down an offer of a cuppa, but the last time they actually got off their arse and made a round for the room, David Cameron was PM. The tea round is a veritable British institution, its code of conduct adhered to for, and by, entire generations. Fail to do your bit and you risk being ostracised by the hot beverage-drinking group. Sadly, however, British rules of politeness also dictate that one must never make a fuss, so we begrudgingly include these tea scabs in our rounds regardless of whether or not they do their bit—while quietly seething with rage and being dangerously slapdash with the milk, of course.

9. Coffee Breath

Coffee breath affects us all at some point, but is easily offset by simply having a few sips of water in between gallons of cappuccino. Do your coworkers a favour and swill some H2O once in a while. If you can’t do that, then remain three feet away at all times and hold a sheet of A4 paper in front of your face the next time you come to my desk.

“How’s my breath?”

10. Whispering Secretly to their Friends

Nothing says “please pay close attention to our conversation” quite like someone who suddenly lowers their voice mid-conversation and whispers conspiratorially with one of their coworkers. Your mother probably taught you that it’s rude to whisper, and she was right. It’s even ruder to whisper when you’re surrounded by people who have no other option but to hear you doing so (and then wondering whether you’re quietly badmouthing them). You know who you are. Stop it immediately.


Have an office irritant of your own? I’m all ears! Drop me a comment below. Hopefully your coworkers will see it and change their wicked ways…