5 Questions to Understand if You are the Annoying Coworker

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The saying goes “there’s always a weird cousin in the family...and if you don’t know who it is - it’s you.” Same goes for the workplace. If you don’t know who the most annoying or frustrating coworker is in the office - it’s probably you. Often times we don’t even realize how annoying or disruptive we’re being. No one wakes up in the morning hoping to be the worst person in the office, but it’s highly possible that it could be you. Wish there was some way to discover how frustrating you might be?

Take the quiz to find out. Rate each of the following questions in terms of 1-5 and keep track of your responses.
 

Question A. How well-versed are you at communicating?

1 - I never talk or reply to emails, they should just know.

2 - I reply to emails in novel form and sometimes don’t include important details.

3 - I share important info, but I might provide too much information. However, I never reply or follow up.

4 - I share what’s important and generally not too wordy. However, sometimes I’m not good at replying back.

5 - I share important information about customers, my emails are always to the point, and I follow up with every piece of communication that reaches me.

 

Question B. How often do you get your part of the project done late?

1 - It gets done ...eventually.

2 - I usually, mostly, sometimes get it done on time.

3 - At least it’s done on time, but don’t ask me how good it is.

4 - It gets done, but it’s not my best work.

5 - It gets done on time, sometimes early, and always of the highest quality.

 

Question C. How often are you late to meetings/conference calls/etc.?

1 - What meetings?

2 - I’m somewhat on time to in-person meetings, but never to any other type.

3 - I’m mostly on time to in-person meetings, but not really conference calls.

4 - I’m mostly on time to in-person meetings and conference calls.

5 - I’m always on time to all types of meetings, conference calls, etc.

 

Question D. How often are you interrupting others?

1 - No one else really gets a word in when I’m around.

2 - I interrupt often, but it’s worth it.

3 - I try to make sure I do not interrupt, but it happens.

4 - I generally let others finish their ideas before moving on.

5 - I always give those around me a chance to finish their thoughts before starting my own.

 

Question E. How often do you using obscene language at work?

1 - That’s the only language form I use.

2 - I use it openly, but not always.

3 - I only use it in private conversations.

4 - I try my best to never use obscene language, but it might slip.

5 - I never use obscene language at the workplace.

 

Tally Up Your Score: Where do you rank?

5 pts: You Are The Worst

6 - 10 pts: I Feel Sorry For Your Co-workers

10 - 15 pts: You Won’t Be Winning Any Awards Soon

15 - 20 pts: Not Bad, Improvements Can Be Made

20 - 25 pts: One of the Best


 

What Do I Do Now?

Each of these questions are geared to different aspects of the work environment. Chances are you have some areas you can improve in. Dive into each category below to learn what steps you can take to make yourself a better coworker. In addition, each section will uncover why these areas are key.

 

Communicating Effectively

Communication is everything! From taking messages for a coworker out for the day to emailing your boss on how the project is moving - how you say it, what you say, and when you say it can impact the result.

This questionnaire focused on email communication. Often email inboxes can become jammed with messages from chained responses, useless spam, company wide memos, and somewhere something important. It’s important to keep the recipient in mind especially when asking for a favor.

Emails should generally be short and to the point. No one wants to read a novel first thing in the morning nor do they have time. Chances are the recipient will skim through it, ignore half of it, and not get what you’re asking for. If you’re trying to relay a lot of information, try using other methods such as Excel, charts, or other easy to digest infographics. If it truly is a lot of information and not easily summarizable, then set up a meeting and send an email with key points.

Follow up, replies, and acknowledgements are equally important. When you get sent a task via email be sure to always reply when the task is complete. This puts the ball back in their court and you have proof that the work was completed on a timely fashion.

 

Getting Your Work Done On Time

Speaking of “getting work done on a timely fashion” - most companies have efficient processes that help move projects forward. It’s possible that what you are working on will get moved down the line to someone else to then passed on to another department until it is complete. This means the chain is waiting on you to get your work done to complete a project.

It’s not just a matter of getting things done on time, sometimes it’s important to keep in mind how your procrastination will affect others. If a service manager is involved, you might be causing tension between the service manager and customer if you’re consistently barely meeting the deadline. Perhaps your reports go into accounting and those reports will help with invoicing a customer. No one likes getting their paycheck late, so don’t do that to the company or the accounting department. Your role might seem isolated, but it’s very likely that your tasks are going to impacting someone else.

Don’t be the weakest link in the chain. Get your work done in a timely fashion and make sure it is good work! There’s no point in handing in something that’s not up to standard. It will be found out and reflect poorly on you.

 

Being Late to Meetings

No one likes meetings. Often we complain about how they are not helpful and go on for too long. One way to help push meetings along is to make sure they start on time. If you’re a participant in the meeting, make sure to never be late. It might seem as if it’s impossible because of the workload, but if that’s truly the case, then reschedule. Meetings are more likely to end on time, if they start on time. So help move along those dreadful meetings by not being late.

If you’re the manager of the meeting, you should definitely be on time and early! It is your responsibility to help move the conversation and make sure they end on time. As the coordinator, be early and make sure equipment is ready. It’s embarrassing enough to not have equipment ready to go promptly at the start of a meeting, but it’s definitely annoying as a participant. Moreover, you can start without everyone being present. When you start meetings in a timely manner, you’d be surprised how more likely people will show up on time in order to avoid being that person who walks in halfway through opening speech.

Overall, being late means you don’t respect other people’s time. It means that you pride that email, that job, that task, more than you care about this meeting. Now this seems a little exaggerated, but it’s quite true when break it down. It’s best to manage your time around meeting times. If you know you have a tedious project that sucks you in right before a meeting, set reminders 15 min - even 30 min - to help you start removing yourself from the task at hand.

 

Interrupting

In general, interruptions are annoying. No one likes to be speaking and have someone else bud in with their opinion.

Interruptions also deters people from wanting to share. No one wants to talk around ‘interrupting Sam’ because they know when they start with a great idea, he’ll just take it over and pretend it’s his. So don’t be like ‘interrupting Sam’ and come up with your own awesome initiatives.

If something truly needs to be said, it will have a chance to be shared. It’s also a good idea to acknowledge others and their thoughts before moving along on a tangent.

Sometimes people have been running along for a while and need to be quieted in order to move a meeting along. There are some simple and considerate ways to do this. For example, “I appreciate your passion on X, perhaps we can set up a separate meeting specifically to address this issue.” or “Thank you for bringing up X. I’ll need some time to investigate that issue further so that I can be better versed. Let’s table it for -insert date-.”