When returning to the office also means dealing with co-workers’ annoying habits

Sarah Needleman’s newly posted article up at the Wall Street Journal is a reminder that returning to office work means returning to life around co-workers who smack their lips when they eat and hum loudly at their desk.

It didn’t take long for Gary Bush to become reacquainted with the harsh realities of office life after two years of working out of his home in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Within a matter of days, the sales manager for an auto dealership found himself having to break up a spat between two employees over a large container of apple juice. One said she brought it in and left it in the office refrigerator to drink later that day. The other conceded to consuming most of it, but argued that he wasn’t at fault because it wasn’t labeled as hers.

“Any little thing that happens they come to me,” said Mr. Bush, 36 years old. “It’s like I’m a babysitter.”

When Andrew Hashem resumed working in an office for a Chicago-area software company, he figured that stepping into a glass office and closing the door to make a phone call would be enough to discourage colleagues from interrupting him. “They would knock, I’d point to my headset and they would still come in,” he said.

A new makeshift bar set up near Mr. Hashem’s desk for Wednesday afternoon social gatherings added to his discomfort. The fun would often start while he was still on the clock, but many of his peers weren’t.

“I could hear them having loud conversations and playing music,” said the 35-year-old, who recently changed to a fully remote job with a healthcare company. “It made it really hard to concentrate.”

Throughout the COVID pandemic I have worked full-time and not worked from home once.

I am definitely a person who is more productive around other people.

But if you’re more productive without Bob from accounting stopping by your desk to regale you with stories about his fascination with whiskey and cigars, I feel for you.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Leave a Reply