How to avoid work and alienate people

Every year we’re told that Brits work longer hours than anyone else in Europe. And with the fruits of our labour stretching little further than meeting the winter’s heating costs, it’s not surprising that the odd temper gets frayed along the way. But what stresses the nation’s workforce more than anything else in the office? Apparently it’s colleagues who fail to pull their weight.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

A survey by recruitment firm Ceridian identifies the 10 most irritating traits in
colleagues, with shirkers taking the prize for riling us the most. These people, who meet new tasks with such excuses as ‘I’ve put my back out’ or ‘In a minute, I’ve just got a few calls to make,’ apparently annoy 21% of the workforce. 

Next up it’s screamers – people who are happy to have tantrums or arguments in front of everyone. This is undeniably irritating, not least when the gripe at hand bears no relation to business. There’s nothing worse than trying to act conciliatory in a conference call when your mate at the next desk is hurling expletives down the phone in a domestic about carpet samples.

The list goes on, and calls to account the hijacker (who extends meetings by bringing up irrelevant issues), as well as the gossiper, whiner, wanderer, slurper and swearer. This is starting to sound like a high-blood-pressure version of the Seven Dwarfs.

Still, for us at the MT office the list doesn’t go far enough. How can it not include people who can’t utter a sentence without mentioning the word ‘Facebook’; or those who have ear-splitting electronic versions of the A-Team theme as their ringtone, which they leave to chime out on their desk while they go for lunch?

But perhaps the most stressful type of person isn’t even found in the office. Doctors’ astronomical salaries have been reported today as rising by yet another 10%. You need only mention the word ‘GP’ to our editor and he’s guaranteed to explode.

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