Finance Work How to deal with the office pain in the proverbial

How to deal with the office pain in the proverbial

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There’s always one. Annoying, loud, oversharing – whatever their traits, they can be an impediment to your workplace efficiency and satisfaction.

As Australians head out of the comfort and relative solitude of their home offices and back into busy workplaces, there’s sure to be some personality clashes.

Here, workplace experts share their tips and advice on how employees can ready themselves to share their workspaces again.

Personalities will clash back at the office. Photo: Getty

What not to do

Workers have found their groove at home in the past two years of COVID restrictions. Many have come to prefer working from home – with a PwC survey finding more than a third want a hybrid arrangement between working from home and the office.

Adjusting to this transition period will be easier if workers keep some basic rules in mind, said Rosemary Guyatt, general manager of people and culture at the Australian Human Resources Institute.

“Coming to work with a contagious flu is definitely unacceptable,” she said.

“Stay home, do not swipe or go past the QR code!”

Some general rules to keep everyone in a communal spaces happy include: Not eating all the fresh food in the staff room, helping to empty the office dishwasher and avoiding eating pungent food, such as tuna and egg, in the office.

Volume awareness in an office, particularly an open-plan setting, is also a golden rule, Guyatt said.

“Don’t speak loudly in open-plan offices,” she said.

“If hand signals don’t work to get them to lower their voice, it’s time to build more meeting rooms. We’re all going to be more noise sensitive after generally having quiet spaces at home.”

Painful people at the office can sometimes benefit organisations. Photo: Getty

Learning to live with others

Being around others we find difficult can not only affect individuals, but the team as a whole.

While it’s easy to point the finger of blame, Sabina Read, SEEK ambassador and resident psychologist, said it might be useful to examine the reasons why we find others frustrating.

“Ask yourself, ‘What do I need to work for me and what does that person need to be the best version of their working self?’ and you might find the conditions you both need are quite different,” she said.

“Know your own needs, your own boundaries and implement them.”

It may also be reassuring to know a diversity of personality types can create a critical difference in some workplaces. People with different perspectives and experiences than your own, can approach problems in myriad ways.

“I do acknowledge that different personalities, different ways of working, thinking, feeling and behaving, can be agitating for us,” Read said.

“But it would be a fantasy to think you’re going to go off to work with clones of yourself. Things just wouldn’t get done if everyone was the same as each other.

“We need a diversity of styles and approaches in order to make workplaces thrive.”