The Top 10 Office Pet Peeves in the U.S.–and How to Avoid Them – post

To drive productivity on your team, create an office environment that limits pet peeves and distractions.

By: Adam Robinson

Many of these items are common sense, but management may not view them as such, in terms of expense budgets, and so on. The most-obvious pet peeve of workers today is, of course, anyone coming in sick. With COVID-19 in the headlines daily now, that one is a no-brainer – allow your employees to work from home. Give them an allowance to purchase equipment they need, or a stipend to help pay for something they already own. Just make sure it is equitable for all.

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To boost employee engagement and productivity, it’s critical for your team to have an office environment that sets employees up for success. But all too often, employee productivity takes a hit as a result of pet peeves and other distractions around the office. 


Zety, a resume builder and career website, recently released the results of a survey that asked approximately 1,000 U.S. employees about common annoyances at work and how often they happen. 

The top 10 pet peeves revealed on the list are:

  1. Co-workers coming to work sick
  2. Malfunctioning hardware or slow computers
  3. Co-workers coming in late or leaving early 
  4. Co-workers not washing their hands before leaving the bathroom
  5. Arranging meetings over issues that could have been resolved in an email 
  6. Printer jammed or broken 
  7. Co-workers chatting with each other or on the phone in a shared room
  8. Slow Wi-Fi
  9. Co-workers texting/browsing social media during work hours 
  10. Too many meetings 

Based on a few key trends in the findings, I outlined a few steps your organization can take to avoid common pet peeves. 

1. Trust employees to manage their own time.

The survey found that 87 percent of respondents find it annoying when colleagues come into the office sick.

Between flu season, other illnesses, and headlines about coronavirus, it’s important for your team to take any measures possible to prevent your employees from getting sick. 

One simple way to prevent the spread of illnesses at your office is to have an open remote work policy. Encourage employees to work from home, whether they’re not feeling well or simply want to get some heads-down work done without distractions.

Beyond avoiding the spread of illness, more flexible workplace policies across the board can help boost employee engagement and create a more productive environment. Several of the other pet peeves on the list related to how employees spend their time — including coming in late or leaving early, doing non-work activities during work hours, and having too many unnecessary meetings. 

At my company of more than 200 employees, we have the mindset that as long as you get your work done, we trust you to manage your time. For example, if you need to arrange your schedule to meet personal obligations or text a family member due to a change of plans, that’s perfectly fine. Or if you want to block your calendar to get work done for a few hours — avoiding potentially unnecessary meetings in the process — we strongly encourage this. 

2. Invest in reliable technology for your employees.  

Another common trend across pet peeves on the list is issues related to technology — things like slow computers, broken printers, and slow Wi-Fi. Most of your employees likely depend on their computers and related technology in their day-to-day roles. To help set your employees up for success, it’s important to make technology a priority at your organization. 

At my company, each time we have a new “starting class” of new employees arriving on a given week, our IT department is notified well in advance, so that the new hires’ computers are set up with all the logins, software and other requirements they need. No new hire wants to show up on the first day only to find out their computer isn’t ready — or worse, that it’s broken.

To resolve other common pet peeves, we have several printers around the office and make sure to notify the whole company via Slack if one of them is down — and we do our best to get it up and running quickly. And while we have a primary Wi-Fi network, we have at least one backup in place just in case.

If your employees run into too many technical issues, not only will this lead to lost productivity across your organization, but it will also cause employees to get frustrated — and they might even seek other jobs as a result. 

By taking steps to avoid common workplace frustrations like these, you can boost employee satisfaction and set your organization up for continued success.

(The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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