Is an annoying co-worker driving you crazy?

If so, turns out you’re not alone.

A study by the leadership development firm Fierce Inc. finds more than half of all employees in New Jersey and across the nation are being bothered terribly by a single colleague at work.

“Before you go to HR, you need to talk to the person and explain what they’re doing and the effect it has on you,” says business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, the president of Pachter & Associates.

“Ask them for what you want, like do you want them to lower their music, do you want them to not bring in smelly foods at lunch that affect you.”

She noted that “people have a tendency to complain, which doesn’t accomplish anything, instead of going to the person and discussing what’s going on.”

When you do have the conversation, Pachter recommends you talk to the person in a polite and powerful manner.

“We have the tendency to get really upset because we delay confronting the person and then by the time we do say something, if we say something, we explode.”

She adds when the conversation takes place, it’s important to spell out specifically what they’re doing that bothers you.

“Then you need to give them what you want them to do. For instance, I’d really appreciate if you take those calls in a conference room.”

But if the friendly chat doesn’t work, what should you do then?

She says you may have to go talk to your manager or someone from HR, but if that’s the case, make sure you bring a list of the co-worker's inappropriate and annoying behaviors.

“You do need to keep a record, a diary of when it happened, what you said, what the other person said, so you have some documentation.”

She said most people might have no idea how their behavior is affecting others.

"When you start the conversation, many times the person will change their behavior," she said, adding that she'd appreciate if people "come to me first before they went to my boss or HR, give me a chance to make it right."


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