The office ecosystem is a unique balance. While working from home has given everyone a chance to miss spending time with colleagues; preparing everyone for a return to the office is key to creating a smooth transition. Like most things in the workplace, it all comes down to communication. We’re going to look at some of the biggest office pet peeves.


By providing this information, we hope to give you some direction in planning your office layout, systems, and procedures long before you have anyone complaining about someone else using their mug.


Common Pet Peeves


Zety carried out a study on US employees looking at ‘The Worst and Most Offensive Office Pet Peeves’. They surveyed 1026 office workers asking them;


  • What drives them mad at work? 


  • How annoying the peeve is?


  • How often it happens?


Zety first canvassed their Twitter followers for pet peeves and then whittled the list down to 28 common gripes. People were then asked how often they find a certain pet peeve annoying and how often it happens. 


Here are their Top 5 gripes.

Office Pet Peeves - Team at work

1- Coworkers coming to work sick


An incredible 87% of respondents found coworkers coming to work ill to be somewhat annoying, with 52% believing it happens often or very often. The frustration over someone coming into work sick is obvious. Your team may feel concerned that they will catch something in what could be an otherwise avoidable situation. 


Your team’s health is central to productivity, mood, and absence so creating practices for your team to stay fit and healthy can go a long way to reducing the instances of illness and improving overall morale. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the lockdown it’s that people are capable of remote working, so if someone is poorly then sending them home or letting them work from home keeps up performance and protects your team.


2- Malfunctioning hardware or slow computers


Most people use computers for work. From communications to finance, project management to completing tasks, we have come to rely on laptops and PCs. Timelines are crucial to business success and slow or malfunctioning hardware are understandably irritating when you’re trying to get work done. The survey found 87% of people were somewhat annoyed with slow PCs and 52% felt that it happened often or very often. 


The best way to combat this pet peeve is to keep your systems up-to-date and regularly replace hardware. You can also install and train staff to use trusted project management software and other applications to reduce the time spent doing needless tasks.

Office Pet Peeves - Busy office

3- Coworkers coming in late or leaving early


Third, in the rankings, was coworkers either coming in late or leaving early. 21% of respondents found this to be really annoying with 52% believing it happens often or very often. 


Colleagues can feel hard done by and under-appreciated if they perceive people to be getting more time off for no apparent reasons. This can also apply to managers and highlights the importance of ensuring everyone feels like they are working together as a team. Flexitime is one way to address this concern.


For example, if an employee needs to regularly leave earlier to pick up their children from school then letting them start a few hours earlier can free up their afternoon to deal with looking after their kids. Offering paid overtime and noticing when team members go above and beyond can also prevent your team from feeling like they are taken for granted. 


4- Coworkers not washing hands before leaving the bathroom


At number 4 we have the first hygiene complaint. While lower than the above, 40% of people in the study felt that coworkers not washing their hands after going to the loo was really annoying. This places this pet peeve second in the list of ‘really annoying’ habits and for obvious reason. 


Basic hygiene is something that protects everyone in the office and should be practised at work and at home. Many offices place signs to remind people to wash their hands and regularly keep soap dispensers filled with soap for regular hand washing. If there’s one thing the COVID pandemic has taught us it’s that washing your hands and being aware of the dangers of spreading bacteria is worth taking a few seconds to wash your hands. 

Office Pet Peeves - Informal office meeting

5- People calling or arranging meetings to discuss things that “could have been an email’


Rounding out the top 5 is unnecessary meetings. Time is a precious commodity in the workplace and 83% of respondents were somewhat annoyed by ‘meetings that could be emails’. Meetings can be powerful tools for communication and problem solving, but only when managed correctly. 


There are many different strategies to reduce the number and time spent in meetings; from modern developments like project management software for transparent updates to traditional methods such as standing meetings and agendas. Streamlining your communication channels before everyone moves back into the office is a great way to prevent pet peeves from causing a stir and addressing any time sinks in the workday.




At CUBE HR, we practice HR differently. We believe in making workplaces better by improving happiness, mood, self-care, and productivity. If you need a full HR service or assistance with a specific project, our HR packages are tailored to your needs. Contact us now on 01282 678321 or email us at for award-winning HR services or to find out more about what sets us apart.