Working life means rubbing shoulders with all sorts of people, from the thoughtful to the downright peculiar. Have you come across any of these odd bods in your office?
There is always one of these in the office. The person who believes punctuality is the politeness is of kings. In regal fashion they arrive on time and leave on time. And they are inflexible as a royal edict, so that even if a critical piece of work could do with their input past going-home time, they will just up and leave. Colleagues will remember this should the clock-watcher ever ask for help out of hours.
OK, so we’ve all done this. Said we’re working from home, simply because the plumber is calling or we’ve a bit of a hangover. That’s allowed occasionally. But it is irritating when this happens with distressing regularity. It could jeopardise important business and put stress on other people, particularly if this is done impromptu, rather than being planned ahead. They don’t realise that working from home does not mean working alone.
No, this is not a person with a megaphone, just some who talks very loudly on the phone, disrupting everyone else’s train of thought. Add to this the unthinking use of the speakerphone, when you can hear the other person’s comments and off-colour jokes. Some needs to take this person aside and have quiet word.
“Don’t tell anyone I told you this,” says the gossip, insinuating that you’re not the 700th person today to hear the highly personal story one colleague foolishly decided to share with him/her. Whether they’re clueless about the harm they’re doing – or they enjoy sowing secrets as seeds of discontent, – this does not bode well. Can they be entrusted to hold on to business’ secrets?
We’re not talking about a ski-jumper. The downhiller has some magical ability, perhaps born of a total lack of introspection or empathy, to pass the blame for his failings, or even his actual work, to someone else without a qualm. You might say their problems roll downhill. Very often a close relation of the genus known as The Buck-Passer.
The Constant Complainer
This is the one who never fails to mention the amount of work they have to get through. It is dropped into every conversation, and when asked if they can handle some particular task will recite their to-do list and say: “I’ve got so much on my plate, why doesn’t X take this on?” (Often seen aimlessly browsing the Internet at lunchtime. And every other time.)
The Carbon Copier
A born bureaucrat, the carbon copier includes as many people on emails as possible, just so there’s a paper trail and everyone involved in a project knows exactly who’s doing what, when and why. This fills up your inbox and gets you swept up in confusing email exchanges with people in departments you’ve never heard of – but it does not help the project move faster.
They speak before they think. It’s almost as though they want to make their presence felt, without having much to say. Inspiration strikes you in a meeting – you have an idea that could save the company thousands and create new jobs in the process – but ten seconds into your pitch, comes the dreaded ‘If I could just interrupt for a second’ and the moment is lost.
The niceties of personal hygiene have passed them by. Unable to eat without slurping, growling and drooling, their lunch is as much sustenance as it is terrifying performance art. Computer keyboards and screens get a good spraying, not good for collective wellbeing. And it’s likely they are not too keen on cleaning up after using the kitchen or on flushing the loo.
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Previously on The Euroffice Blog…