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How To Deal With Annoying Coworkers

By Sonya Buck, Australia


If you have been in the workforce a little while, you would have come across coworkers you consider are less than ‘ideal.’


Annoying coworkers may just seem too much to bear and moving to another company or position may be tempting. Remember wherever you go there are always going to be one or two people who just drive you crazy. 


Sometimes you will clash with someone and if you just are not on the same page as your colleague, try to find things you have in common to help to put your differences aside. Sport, television shows or something else will also help with those awkward tea room moments.


Loud music or talking can really be a nuisance when you are trying to work.  If you are able, bring in your noise cancelling headphones or address this with your coworker by relating it back to work.  Let them know you have an important work deadline and would appreciate if they turn down the volume a little.


Nearly every workplace has a know-it-all, this person thinks they are the fountain of all knowledge and will ‘one up’ you at every opportunity.  Dealing with a know-it-all can be exhausting, so you may not wish to engage.  Maybe use some statements like “that’s interesting” or “I didn’t know that” may help, but if it is a challenge to your knowledge during a meeting, ensure you have checked your facts before hand. 


If your colleague is spending all their work time on Facebook, personal calls or finding their next holiday destination online, it can be really frustrating.  Everyone hates unfairness and this is one a really common workplace dilemma. Try and tune it out, but if you are waiting on their work to complete yours, you’ll need to address it with them or with your boss.


If someone constantly visits your workspace and interrupts you, you may need to fake a phone call or walk away to get something.  Hopefully, over time, they will get the message.


You might be tempted to gossip with others about the annoying coworker to share your pain, but try to refrain from doing so.  If the situation is seriously impacting your work in the near future you may need to approach your boss, not a good look if you have been gossiping about them.


Sometimes there will be colleagues who step in to take the credit for your work.  You may need to use stealth and make sure your work or ideas are not shared until you share them with your boss first.


Understanding your colleague’s backstory may enable you to understand why they behave in a certain way.  It won’t solve the issue, but sometimes it can change your thinking about their behaviour.  I recently heard about a colleague’s husband controlling everything at home leading to their earlier bankruptcy and this went a long way to explaining why they were a control freak at work.


Whatever the issue, try not to confront your colleague publicly.  Certainly, think it over or even overnight before you decide to take any action.  If you have to raise and issue, let them know the problem and ask if they have a solution.


If issues are starting to impact you during the day, remove yourself from the environment, take time out, walk away and get a coffee or go back to your desk. You might like to use a blanket strategy such as blocking them out of your thought processes by replacing every negative thought with a positive one.  Sometimes concentrating intensely on what you are doing will stop them from getting into your mind space. 


Spending so much time with people makes it really difficult to put up with ongoing annoyance, but remember you don’t have to live with or spend your leisure time with them – thank goodness!