7 annoying co-worker habits that drive South Africans crazy

A new study from CareerJunction shows that South Africans clearly like to keep to themselves.

The study is based on a survey of nearly 2,000 people and was aimed at discovering some of the nteresting workplace habits at South African companies.

The results show that privacy is a main pain point for most, with 60% of respondents stating they have no privacy and over 70% said they prefer to be separated from colleagues.

Half admitted that their current work environment sometimes makes it difficult to work due to noise and distractions while 19% listed this as a constant issue.

When asked about their preferred type of office space, 21% of respondents chose an open plan office while over 55% opted in for closed or sectioned off spaces.

Surprisingly, only 20% preferred to work from home.

“It’s safe to assume that the intention behind open-plan offices is to increase collaboration between colleagues and perhaps to create a more fun working environment,” CareerJunction said. 

“However, South Africans seem to be in two minds about whether this holds true, with half admitting they don’t agree, and the other half being in agreement/uncertain.

Things that annoy South Africans at work:

  • Being interrupted while working;
  • Not being able to concentrate because of background noise;
  • Colleagues using inappropriate language;
  • Weird smells around the office;
  • Colleagues taking personal phone calls;
  • Co-workers arriving late for work or for work meetings;
  • Colleagues not putting phones on silent and letting phones ring;

“When looking at respondents’ behaviour at work, this ambivalence is clear,” the researchers said. 

“About half seem to wear their headphones and list things like interruptions and background noise as their biggest pain-points, while many claim that they can’t really be bothered by these things and just ignore it.”

Inappropriate use of language, weird smells and personal phone calls are also on the list of major irritations for people surveyed, however, the majority seem to keep it together and stay professional.

75% of respondents also said they will only approach colleagues if it’s urgent and won’t bother them with emails or instant messages unnecessarily.

Well, over 60% of respondents admitted that they believe being friendly and courteous towards their colleagues will have a positive impact on their careers.

“However some workers seem easily pushed over the edge,” said CareerJunction.

“For instance, nearly 15% of survey respondents said they would wave their hands close to their colleagues’ faces to get their attention if they are wearing headphones and 2% said they would go as far as to throw something at them.

“While more than a third of respondents said they never ask their colleagues to be quiet, the majority admitted that they will tell them to use their “inside voice”. 5% admitted that others’ ringtones drive them mad and over 40% said that colleagues arriving late for work/meetings irritate them.”

Office politics 

70% of respondents said that they don’t mix work and personal life and don’t mingle with their colleagues outside office hours.

When asked how they handle conflict in the workplace, most respondents said that they prefer to go to a co-worker directly if they have any issues with them instead of going to a manager first (11%) or directly to HR (1.5%).

“Favouritism in the workplace also seems to be an issue with 43% of respondents saying that they’ve been negatively affected by it, CareerJunction said.

Read: These jobs pay the best salaries in South Africa right now

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7 annoying co-worker habits that drive South Africans crazy