Learning & Development

Annoying Behaviors

Offices often have one or more team members who rub their colleagues the wrong way. It’s simply a function of human social interaction that not everyone will get along swimmingly with everyone else. Much of that boils down to individual personalities, but there are some habits and predilections that are more universally and objectively disliked.


As companies continue to bring staff back into the office after roughly 2 years of remote work, many employees may be returning to the office with bad habits they cultivated during this time. Ensuring a smooth and productive transition means managing personalities and culture, so it’s useful to consider a refresher on some office pet peeves.

Office Workers’ Pet Peeves

In an article for Welcome to the Jungle, Pauline Allione discusses five particularly obnoxious office behaviors returning employees should be conscious of, which we summarize below:

  1. Toxic optimism: Toxic optimists instinctively avoid criticism or negative feedback, even though sometimes, that feedback is necessary. It does no good to gloss over, sugarcoat, or ignore real problems.
  2. One-upmanship: Some coworkers always have the desire to outshine those around them, so they use someone else’s accomplishments as an opportunity to toot their own horn.
  3. Unsolicited advice: Although advice is often offered with good intentions, sometimes, people want to simply vent or explain, not receive suggestions or advice.
  4. Oversharing: This one is especially likely to pop up following a return to the office. Some people have always had a tendency to be too open with others, and after 2 years working from home, these workers may open the floodgates after so much time in social isolation.
  5. Unsolicited therapy: Just like unsolicited advice, unsolicited therapy is often well meaning but can sometimes rub people the wrong way if someone suggests there may be a mental or psychological source of their woes or prods for personal details to make such a diagnosis.

Although certain behaviors don’t become harmless when workers aren’t face-to-face, an in-person environment certainly compounds the strain, so companies should consider reminding their in-person staff of the informal social etiquette they may have unlearned during their time away from the office.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.