Every Office has them, those offbeat characters whose annoying little habits shower untold misery over the daily lives of the workers around them. Seemingly unaware of the heartache they are causing to their unfortunate colleagues, taming the annoying habits of these, often sensitive, souls can be tricky. We have therefore compiled a guide that offers a diplomatic approach to taming the annoying habits of some of the more quirky characters that you may encounter in your daily working lives!

The Talker

Identification: This office lurker will come out with a continuous stream of chitter chatter which cannot be considered as a conversation because it is seldom that anyone else gets a word in. This, however, is not something that will bother the office talker who in fact thrives on monologuing and, despite an endless stream of talking, fails to ever really communicate with anyone around them. The talker can uphold just one solid philosophy in office life: I talk therefore I am.

Where to Spot One: They will approach you whenever you are in a hurry.

How to Tame: Getting rid of a talker can be tricky. NEVER interact, only communicate in short, non-committal grunts, excuse yourself and run away, it is likely that true talkers will be so absorbed in what they are saying they will not really notice that you have left and latch on to the nearest colleague.

The Gossiper

Identification: Do not confuse the office gossiper with the talker as, although related, they are quite different breeds of annoying office characters. The gossiper is a more persistent pest and not so easily got rid of as the common talker. They will generally pursue you, asking you questions that are overly personal and then leaving long, uncomfortable pauses after you answer. Be careful to identify the office gossiper as soon as you start a new job, they can conceal themselves behind false pleasantries and can be difficult to spot at first!

How to Spot One: Whenever there is trouble they’ll be there, whenever there is drama they’ll be there and whenever there is something that you’d really like to find out about your boss but don’t have the guts to ask yourself don’t worry – they will be there!

How to Tame: Dealing with a persistent gossiper is hard work however the golden rule is to keep stum, don’t talk about things you would rather not be spread about and definitely don’t bad mouth your boss when they are around.

The Muncher

Identification: The muncher is always eating but never hungry. They come in all shapes and sizes and so do their snacks. Commonly munchers will go for the sweet and chocolate-covered food groups but others may appease themselves with fruit. All munchers will eat with gusto and emit a loud crunching noise that can be heard from across the corridor.

Where to Spot One: The office muncher will be semi-permanently camped out by the vending machine, if you do not have a vending machine then your muncher problem may be less wide-spread than you thought. Look-out for colleagues that approach a seemingly normal looking staff member around the times of 11am and 3pm, these are high-snack times and you may just have a secret snack dealing muncher in your midst, they are more common than you think.

How to Tame: If the muncher approaches you with a £5 or £10 note NEVER provide them with change.

The Slurper

Identification: the even more annoying big brother of the muncher, this tea hound slurps his or her way through cups of tea and coffee with big gulping swallows that send shivers down one’s spine. It is possible to come across a hybid being “The Sluncher” that takes characteristics from both the Muncher and Slurper, thankfully this is a rare-breed.

How to Spot One: Look for the person with multiple unwashed tea cups on their desk.

How to Tame: Hide the kettle.

The Pacer

Identification: You may have come across this office character if you have ever worked in a high pressure sales scenario. You will see him or her pacing the floor, often deeply involved in a sales push telephone call and totally oblivious to anyone that they pass by and the annoyance caused by their militant marching up and down the office.

Where to Spot One: Pacers are creatures of habit, you can tell if there is a pacer in the office by identifying well-worn areas of carpet usually in a straight line crossing through the office or creating a circular path around the edges.

How to Tame: Try boxing them into their own penned-in corner of the office with anything large that you can find hanging around the place. Chairs are good, large recycling containers or even a well-placed christmas tree to ensure escape is not an option!

The Sniffer

Identification: You can identify a sniffer’s desk because no-one will go near it! We all know that little sniffing monster that just wont use a tissue!

Where to Spot One: Wherever there are no tissues you will find your sniffer.

How to Tame: Thankfully this annoying office monster is easily tamed, a well-placed box of Kleenex should do the trick.

The Hummer

Identification: This is not just for the more “hip” offices that allow staff to listen to the radio while they work, oh no, the hummer is in fact at his or her most annoying when there is no music in the room. The hummer usually sticks to one or two regular ditties and, infuriatingly, will tend to get stuck on a repeating riff or chorus, never moving beyond to finish the song! It hums, it hums, it hums….

Where to Spot One: Wherever there are people trying to concentrate.

How to Tame: Hummers are usually set into a kind of mindless circle of repetition, it is likely that they do not even know they are humming out load. Break their cycle by humming a different song that they don’t know, alarmed by the interruption and inability to join in they will become confused and fall silent.

Are you suffering from the annoying habits of your office colleagues? Write in and tell us all about it, we’d love to hear from you and perhaps we could even suggest a diplomatic approach to taming your annoying office beast!

2 Responses to How to Tame the Annoying Habits of Your Office Colleagues
  1. Ha ha! Great article guys – I can actually relate to a couple of those characters myself – is that wrong!!??

  2. Sarah - editor@ theoffice-uk 11th February 2012 at 11:00 am Reply

    Workplace like anyplace is a jumble of many different personalities. One shouldn’t take it personally and be objective when someone has interrupted. This kind of attitude will definitely make you believe in your own Power.


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