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How To: Deal with an annoying colleague

by Matt Woodhouse / Tuesday 6th June 2017


Has someone taken your hummus from the fridge? Do you have a loud desk eater in the office? Or did your boss just employ someone who is a pain in the backside?

We’ve all been there – the annoying colleague. Luckily it doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it can make life in the office a little awkward. Well, unless you’re their boss you can’t sack them, so here are my tips for dealing with “that guy”:

1: Be direct

Honesty is the best policy. Front out the issues right away and deal with your annoying colleague:

“I’m really sorry Tristian, but I’m finding it hard to concentrate whilst you are listening to Grime music in your headphones on full volume. Would you mind turning it down a touch?”

Be polite, professional and friendly – you don’t want to create a negative environment for them either.

2: Be smart

Drop subtle hints about things that annoy your colleagues whilst involving them in the conversation:

“Hey Bob, Pat and Lewis, you know what really annoys me – the sound of people eating”. Everyone agrees, which is odd because it’s Pat who sits at his desk eating crisps that sound like he’s digging up a pavement.

3: Be helpful

Sometimes issues in the office can arise from someone struggling. Are all your reports late? Are documents coming back full of mistakes, leading the team to blame a certain person who is making life harder for everyone else? If this is the case, they need help – take time out to see what you can do to help them

4: Speak to the boss

Sometimes it’s better to take things up the chain of command!

If you have tried to deal with Lorraine from accounts spending most of the afternoon on the phone with her mates planning another boozy weekend in Skegness rather than doing what she should have been doing, maybe it’s time to get management involved. Sometimes people need a gentle bit of advice from management to buck up their ideas.

It is easy to slip into the “I can get away with that at work” attitude, sometimes people just need reminding of what is acceptable and what is not.

5: Block them out and then get out

If all else fails, get into your own little world.

Get the headphones in and play some background music whilst they chat constantly about not very much. Get focused and get immersed in your work. Then, at lunch time, take a break from the office, pop out of the office and chill out.

You probably need some time away from your screen anyway – it’s good for the eyes.

Remember, above all, it’s important to remember that we spend a lot of time with the people we work with and it’s important to try and get on with that annoying colleague.

Team work makes the dream work.