Many of us will spend some time working in an office setting at some point in our lives, or at the very least deal with some annoyances in our careers. If you are somehow fortunate enough not to run in to anything on this list – lucky you…but have you ever actually had a job? There really is no way to escape everything and have a stress-free day, every day. There aren’t many things worse than going to work and dealing with everything other than the actual work you need to get done. I have outlined some bothers of the workplace, along with some ways to potentially resolve, or dampen, the issues. Don’t forget – there will always be something that bothers you. It’s how you handle it that will make your day, whether it be better or worse!
#5 – Office Temperature
Why is it that no matter what temperature the office is set at, it seems to never be comfortable? The good news is that you can probably just add, or maybe shed, a layer or two and resolve the issue a little bit. I go in to work on a 90-degree mid-summer day with short sleeves and instantly need a wool sweater and a space heater or stroll in with my winter coat on a blistery morning but need shorts and a t-shirt at the office. This happens all the time – and I’m a male. Apparently, thermostats in offices are set for men’s comfort! After seeing that, I feel bad for even complaining.
Comfortability is one thing, but what about the productivity of employees? Eighty percent of office workers complain about the temperature of their workplace. Generally, unsatisfied employees are more likely to be unproductive. Employers – take note. I’ve never really understood this whole thing anyway. Doesn’t a happy employee outweigh cutting costs for temperature changes? You’re absolutely right it does. Many companies are adjusting office temperatures to cut energy costs, but the money they lose in productivity far outweighs the utility savings.
With this annoyance in the workplace, there is at least a silver lining. There are a few different ways to get over the temperature problem without too much fuss. If you’re too cold, add some layers, drink a warm beverage, or open some blinds. What about the other side of the spectrum? Bring a personal fan, stay hydrated, or pull your hair up. These are just a few examples from an article on HubSpot to help you stay as comfortable as possible. Don’t forget you have a voice and you can use it! When all else fails, speak up and ask for changes to be made.
Ultimately, the temperature of the office is an irritation that can hopefully be overcome without too many headaches. Good luck – you deserve comfortability in the workplace!
#4 – Coworkers
Here we go, annoying coworkers are something everyone, and I mean everyone, has dealt with at some point in their careers – regardless of their profession. Who knows, maybe you are the annoying coworker! With so many things that can characterize some are annoying, there are two general categories that they fall in to: behavioral and
discourteous. The bad behavior is gossiping, taking credit for someone else’s work, and micromanaging. Discourteous coworkers are those that just don’t understand office etiquette. The ones that always peer over your shoulder. The ones that don’t really contribute but have no trouble acting like they’re the star of the show. The ones that know a little too much about everyone else and feel the need to pass it along to you. Whatever you do, don’t be that person.
Although it can be funny to think about that annoying coworker or tell stories about your experiences with them, it is a real issue in the workplace. “We found that 1 in 8 people will leave an organization because of [incivility] and not report it.” The relationships and camaraderie between coworkers can ultimately make or break a business. It can also make or break a person. There are some things that can’t just be overlooked, and a bad coworker can ruin a whole experience for someone.
With that being said, there are some ways to deal with annoying coworkers. The single most important way: you always have an excuse in the fact that you have work to do. Another way is to simply identify the problem and recognize what exactly they’re doing that is driving you up the wall. It doesn’t do you any good to get so frustrated that it blinds your judgement. Finally, if it gets bad enough, go to upper management. This would me the worst-case scenario so that you aren’t tattling. However, remember it is always your right if your productivity is being hindered in such a way. Stay calm and avoid that person at all costs, if that’s what it takes.
#3 – Slow computer
You’re sitting at your desk, just trying to access the internet and continuously see the little dial spin over and over again. Other times, you just sit there for what seems like forever just waiting on the application you use each day to open in the morning. Office equipment, computers in particular, never seem to be up to par when it comes to performance. In a survey of 6,000 employees in the United Kingdom, employees said creaking computers were “restrictive and limiting,” and 38 percent said modern technology would make them more motivated. Whether or not the employees mention the motivation part simply because of the survey is a discussion for another day, but we can still see outdated equipment is a problem.
With the advances in technology, this is simply unacceptable. It all comes back to productivity. I understand it is not a cheap or easy process to upgrade equipment, but it is still a necessity! In statistics from a year ago, around 52% of businesses are still running at least one instance of Windows XP. Support for this operating system end in 2014! If this doesn’t speak to the outdated nature of office computers, I don’t know what does.
I’m not able to keep the pattern of giving suggestions for you, as employees, to deal with this annoyance in the workplace. There is not a lot that employees themselves can do to fix the issue of slow equipment. Instead, I will speak to employers or those that own businesses and give some reasons why
upgraded equipment is the best option. As the pace of technology continually accelerates, everything becomes better, faster, cheaper (well, not always cheaper). Some benefits of updated technology are improved security, less power consumption, cloud and wireless connectivity, and quicker warm up which leads to more up time. There is no excuse for hanging on to old equipment!
#2 – Conference Calls
Next up, the beloved conference call. Has there ever been a time where the call actually goes as planned? There’s always the person that can’t seem to connect and comes in late or the person that has poor internet connection. They start to talk and cut out or you can see them on the video but can’t hear them. How about all the awkward times? You start to talk just as someone else is starting, then you both say go ahead and start talking, only to realize you both are talking at the exact same time…again. There is just so much that can, and always does, go wrong. There’s the technological problems as well, such as when someone tries to share their screen but it never seems to work – or at least takes way too long.
I understand that conference calls are sometimes a necessity due to distance. However, face to face meetings can be so much more productive. Participants can express their thoughts through words and body language, which also means the chances of misunderstanding are much lower. You may argue that the annoyance is not just conference calls, but meetings in general. I agree! Nevertheless, meetings are a necessity sometimes and there really isn’t anything you can do to get out of the them. In the end, face to face meetings are much more productive than conference calls (and hopefully without the technological problems) because of that physical connection between participants.
There are some ways to prepare for a conference call to hopefully make them less terrible for everyone involved. A boring conference call is literally the worst. This makes attendees disengage from the meeting. One way to reduce this is to invite the necessary people to the only part they need to be there. If you are going to cover the marketing agenda in the last 30 minutes, invite marketing personnel for that time only. The logistics may be more complicated, but it will be worth it. Another way to keep people engaged is to use live video. Wainhouse Research has found that of the employees who use video and web cams during meetings, 74% like the ability to see colleagues’ reactions to their ideas, and nearly 70% feel it increases connectedness between participants. Ultimately, conference calls are not ideal but there are ways to make them less painful for attendees.
#1 – Emails
I walk into the office in the morning – 86 unread emails. I get up to go the bathroom in the middle of the day and come back – 13 unread emails. It’s like a never-ending attack on my productivity! The average inbox contains only 38% important, relevant emails. This means that employees must spend a ton of time sorting through emails, increasing the likelihood that important emails will be missed. This issue is not going anywhere, either. 205 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2015. This number is predicted to increase by 3% annually through 2019, ultimately reaching over 246 billion email exchanges daily. Email is the single largest hinderance of productivity in the workplace.
Let’s not forget about the dangers that can come from emails. Your fifteenth cousin is a Prince in Abu Dhabi and has all this money that he just wants to share with you. All you have to do is click on the link and enter your bank account number, it’s as easy as that! Phishing emails are one the easiest, most dangerous schemes attackers use to gain access to private information. In fact, 91% of the time, phishing emails are behind successful cyber attacks. This is a very scary statistic for security professionals. Often, there isn’t a lot you can do once the email reaches the employee. It is up to them to be trained enough to recognize these kinds of scams.
The use of email in the workplace is an inevitability, but there are some things that can be done to help reduce email overload. One way to reduce this is to ban company-wide email. These chains where hundreds of people are copied in can quickly get out of hand if they “Reply All” to the email. Some personal things to think about with email are sending emails that you want to receive, don’t start the day with your unread inbox, use email filters and management tools, and (attempt to) get to zero unread messages in your inbox each day. Many of these are easier said than done, but if you make a concerted effort to reduce email overload, maybe others will follow suit!