How to Deal with Annoying Coworkers

Don’t allow a bad cubicle mate to put a grind on your work day. Fight back their annoying habits with these three tips.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #147

A long time reader of the comic strip Dilbert, I would have thought his ingenious glimpse into cubical living would have straightened out any improper cubical etiquette, but apparently not.  As our good friend Dilbert illustrates, some people just don’t get it when it comes to the proper ways to interact in a work environment. So here’s how to handle those rude coworkers, politely of course.

How to Deal with Annoying Coworkers

For this article, I reached out to over two dozen people--in various professions--to find out their biggest pet peeves when it comes to improper coworker behavior. By no means is this the master list, so please, as always, share your office pet peeves on my Facebook page. So here are my top three tips for proper cubical etiquette.

Tip #1: How to Deal When Coworkers Invade Your Space

I touched on the concept of personal space in the past article, “What Should You Do When Someone Crowds You In Line?” and when it comes to offices, there is always at least one rude person who makes it their mission to invade your personal space. The office invader comes in many forms--all of which make you want to wave the white flag and surrender.

Some coworker invaders like to do the ol’ pop in. You are hard at work and then like a crash of thunder on a sunny day, they bust into your cubical or office. If they don’t crash into the spare seat next to you they find complete comfort in draping their arms over the narrow opening of your cube, blocking you from the outside world--a.k.a. freedom!

When this happens, you have to think like an NFL coach--the best offense is a sound defense. When you know that someone is coming, make your cubical non-welcoming. Place your purse, your jacket, or an extra stack of papers on the extra chair or the open space on your desk so they can’t park it for hours. You might also mention that you have to take a call in a few minutes and when that “time” comes, hop on the phone, dismissing them with a smile and mouthing, “I’ll catch up with you later.” Granted these may not be the nicest ways but in times of desperation, it’s every man and woman for themselves.