Five Definitive Ways to Avoid Being “That” Co-Worker

August 7, 2023

By Zach Johnson

First, let me start by saying this is years of pent-up frustration coming through, I’ve worked in offices with a couple hundred employees, and an office where there were 4 of us. Over the last decade of being in shared spaces I’ve learned how to be a better coworker, but I’ve also picked up some pet peeves. Here are some tips that I think could help make everyone a better coworker!

1) Don’t be a stall hog!

Listen, we’ve all heard the saying, “boss makes a dollar, I make a dime. That’s why I 💩 on company time.” And that’s all fine and dandy, we’ve all done it. BUT… SOMETIMES PEOPLE HAVE TO GO. Be mindful how much time you’re taking.

2) Be mindful of your smells.

No this isn’t another 💩tip. But now people are coming back to an office environment, please don’t be the reason why everyone is having a miserable day. You don’t have time to stand by the microwave to make sure your popcorn isn’t burning? Ask a coworker for help, they’d rather take 2 minutes out of their day than smell that burnt garbage the rest of the afternoon.

3) Share the space.

“OMG JANET DID WHAT?!” “WAIT, I THOUGHT YOU SAID RYAN WASN’T DOING THAT ANYMORE” … reality TV gets primetime spots for a reason, we all love drama. If you aren’t going to put the other person on speaker so we can hear the full story, stop it! Go for a walk and take it outside or use one of your “unlimited” texts. We don’t really want to hear you yell into your phone while we are trying to work.


In the wild, they are called leaches. They take and take and take and they live off of their host without offering anything in return. In the office we call them 🤬-holes. If you only ever talk with a co-worker when you need something or you take things that aren’t yours (like the lunch, I brought for myself and was really looking forward to) you might be a leach.  Treat your coworkers and their things/space with respect.

5) Not my job, not my problem.

There will be times where you can’t help, you won’t have the time for it or you simply won’t have the skillset to solve the problem. That’s ok! But, when you have the ability to make one of your co-worker’s job easier, DO IT. The favor will come back around, and you’ll be so thankful that person was there to help.

Bonus Tip!

If you are sick stay or work from home. Seriously, did we learn nothing the past couple of years about how fast a ‘bug’ can travel? Don’t take down the entire office because you didn’t take your illness seriously.

Ultimately these things come down to one common theme, be a decent human to the person next to you. It’s a lesson that most people know, but for the handful of people that don’t seem to get it, maybe casually send this to them! Some conversation starters might be:

  • LOL did you see this?!
  • WOW! I just read this and couldn’t agree more, what did you think of the bonus tip?!
  • Listen, buddy, you know I like you, but I need you to clean some things up, use this guide as a reference

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