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Posts Tagged ‘workplace’

Are You Annoying People at Work?

Unfortunately people taking phone calls via speaker phone, listening to music without headphones, and entertaining a posse’ of visitors in his/her cube is not limited to the movie Office Space, which should be required viewing for anyone who works with other people.

Cubeland can be loud. And most people are hesitant to ask our coworkers to quiet down. We’re afraid of the conflict. We don’t want our coworkers to dislike us, talk poorly about us when we’re not there, or kill us off. So we suffer in silence, hoping the person will get a clue that he’s making us crazy. He won’t. If he knew the phone calls bugged you, he would have already stopped making them.

You may find it incredulous that your coworkers don’t know how annoying noise in cubeland is. It’s an obvious, no brainer. How could they not know?

annoying people at work

Much of Candid Culture’s work is dedicated to people feeling more comfortable telling the truth at work. But even with books, and training on how to establish candid relationships and tell the truth, speaking up is often challenging. So know that if you are doing annoying people at work, they are not likely to tell you.

Here’s what you can do: Avoid annoying people at work.  For your convenience, I’ve made a short list.

  1. Conversations, music, and phone calls taken on speaker phone in cubicles. Take the meeting or conversation to an empty office or conference room.
  2. People who are late for meetings and text or email throughout meetings.
  3. People who start most sentences with, “No we can’t do that, and here’s why.”
  4. People who say they’ll do something and miss the deadline every time.
  5. People who borrow your stuff and don’t return it.

Look at how much stress I’ve saved you. Now you don’t need to give the people you work with feedback, you can just forward them this blog, which is a passive aggressive form of feedback. But it beats throwing their phone out the window or hiding out in an empty office so you can actually get some work done.

If you choose candor instead (which I, of course, prefer) simply say, “It’s hard to work when music is playing, or when you’re on your speaker phone, or you’ve got visitors in your cube. I know space is at a premium. But if you’d be willing to take the conversations elsewhere, I’d really appreciate it.” Done in twenty seconds or fewer. And no one died. You can do it. And if you can’t, call me, and I’ll do it. It’s always easier to have these conversations when they’re not your own. But it will cost you a bag of chocolate chip cookies or perhaps a Candor Bar.

Are You Doing Too Much Work?

The sprinkler guy just left my house, after teaching me the nuances of how sprinklers work for TWO hours. I don’t want the details about how the sprinklers function. I don’t care. I just want them to work. And I told the sprinkler guy this. But he insisted on teaching me –a.k.a. dragging me to each broken sprinkler head and having me observe as he repaired it. Exasperating! Then he billed me for his time. Without the lesson the visit would have been 30 minutes and $45. With the lesson, it was two hours and $130.

Read your audience. Are you putting in too much work?

Where are you over communicating? Who’s reading all of those PowerPoint presentations and reports?  Just because you’ve created that report for the past five years doesn’t mean it’s still necessary or desired.

Ask your internal and external customers (everyone you work closely with) how they want to receive information, in what format, and how frequently.

too much work

Ask internal and external customers: 

  • Do they prefer to receive information in bullets or narrative form? Detailed or big picture? Graphs and/or charts?
  • What information is important and what is unnecessary?
  • Who needs to receive the information?  People have enough to read. Most people won’t be insulted to receive one fewer email.
  • How often do they want to receive the information?

I am hesitant to change processes when I begin working with an organization, assuming there is a good reason they exist. But when I ask why we do certain things as we do, invariably no one can tell me. I am often told, “We’ve just always done it that way.”

Don’t change things just to change them. And before you make a change, consult those who are impacted. Ask what people want and what they don’t. Then make changes. You may just pick up 10 extra hours each week and reduce your and others’ frustration 20 fold.

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