I’d always prided myself on being an excellent employee with a hard work ethic and focus on pleasing the client.
But, until recently, I never realized I was an annoying coworker to others in the office. I came to work on time, often arriving early, did my work and greatly increased the company’s profits. But unbeknownst to me, some of my work habits were driving the other workers in the office nuts, even though that was never my intention.
At the very least, you and your coworkers will spend 40 hours per week together. If travel and overtime occurs, those hours are extended even further. Bad habits such as cellphone use, being too talkative, leaving work early and surfing the Internet can annoy your office mates the way they were annoying mine. The tips below can help you avoid becoming an annoying worker like I was.
- Identify Bad Habits. It’s simply not possible to change a habit if you don’t realize a negative one exists. Fortunately, a kind coworker took me aside one day and informed me that my talkative nature was getting on everyone’s nerves. I thought I was being friendly, but she let me know that I had a tendency to be too talkative and it was distracting people from their work. Once I knew my chatty ways were bothering other people in the office I was able to fix the problem.
- Replace the Negative With the Positive. I often spent so much time talking during the workday that I had to skip lunch and eat while working at my desk. After my coworker talked to me a light bulb went on and I realized that, if I was more productive and less talkative during the day, I could join my coworkers in the cafeteria for lunch. When you can find a positive substitute for a negative habit, it’s easy to make a change.
- Productive Association. Whether we realize it or not, we create associations in our minds between events and people. Some of my coworkers had associated me with feelings of annoyance. I had associated some of mine with rudeness. When I started saving my talkativeness for lunchtime my coworkers and I got along much better and started spending more time working together on projects. Soon gathering around one another’s desks created an association of productivity…something we all appreciated.
- Use Willpower for Greater Success. There are still times when a thought pops into my head and I feel the urge to share it with my coworkers right away. But, instead, I write it down and save it for later or record a message on my PDF. Practicing willpower has helped me focus my time and attention on my work and, as a result, our entire office has increased sales and company profits.
Nowadays, many businesses are streamlining their hiring process and weeding out potentially ineffective employees through employee assessments. Companies such as Exact Hire help businesses narrow down their candidates by identifying positive and negative behaviors and characteristics. Those who are searching for a job are smart to nix those bad habits before the first interview to ensure they stand a chance of getting through an employee assessment with success. Although it’s possible to break bad habits like I did, it’s better to take a proactive approach by not being an annoying coworker in the first place. Thankfully, I was able to change my habits and repair the relationships I had with my coworkers. But it wasn’t easy and I had to work twice as hard to gain their trust and respect.