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3 ways annoying coworkers kill productivity

Sharon Florentine | Aug. 3, 2016
That guy in the next cube playing Slither isn't just getting on your nerves, he may be causing your productivity to plummet and your engagement to drop to zero. Here's why you shouldn't suffer in silence.

Morale goes missing

Nobody likes to be in a work environment that's full of distractions and annoyances, but it's even worse if the problem's ignored or left unchecked -- that's when frustrations fester and morale sinks, Myers says. If you haven't had success after speaking directly with the offending co-worker, then you'll need to take your complaints to management. Again, emphasize how the behavior is impacting your ability to perform your job and fulfill your duties, Myers says.

You also should emphasize important engagement and productivity are to business outcomes, as well as make sure management understands the cost of losing good employees, says Alexander Maasik, communications specialist at workplace productivity solutions company Weekdone.

"People with these traits may still be the very best in their field, they just lack social skills and maybe some self-awareness. They can usually be taught how to work better as part of a team with just a little coaching, and that will ultimately cost less than it takes to find and retrain new employees," Maasik says.

Of course, there's a chance your complaints could go unheeded, and that's another blow to your productivity and your morale, Myers says.

"Even if you mentioned the problem to the offender or to your manager, it might go unaddressed. If your complaints go unanswered and nothing is done about the problem, you may become very disillusioned and demoralized, and that's going to effect your willingness to do your job to the best of your ability," he says.

Retention rates rising

And if you've tried to address the issue, asked to transfer to another department, switched cubicles or moved to another office and the problem persists? That's when you start thinking about taking drastic action, Myers says.

"After trying to address the issues directly with the annoying co-worker, and taking your comments to management, you've pretty much exhausted your options. At that point, it's really the responsibility of the department supervisor or the senior manager to address these kinds of problems? If nothing changes, it's probably time to look for a new job!" Myers says.


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