How to Keep Your Cool in the Workplace


The office can be an exceptionally irritating place to be. And among the most potent sources of that annoyance are your colleagues. Just because the country has been placed under lockdown, and a majority of us are working from home, doesn’t mean that the people you’re working with won’t have the capacity to annoy you. In fact, there are some senses in which they’ll be even more annoying, as their attempts to communicate with you digitally might not be able to take the place of a face-to-face conversation.

Business card specialists instantprint conducted a survey which revealed that a whopping 96% of us find ourselves annoyed at work, and that 56% do so on a regular basis.

What’s so annoying about our colleagues?

When you’re receiving emails, certain phrases may leap out at you as either passive-aggressive or outright inane. ‘Ducks in a row’, ‘moving forward’, or ‘vis à vis’ being the among the first to spring to mind. Now, a cliché might not be the worst thing in the world, especially in times such as these, but they might still have the power to aggravate.

Self-isolation might, in many senses, be a blessing. It means that you won’t need to deal with your colleagues’ annoying habits, like eating smelly food, making irritating sounds, and not bothering to take care of their personal hygiene. By the same token, you’ll have the chance to be as annoying as you like in the comfort of your own home without worrying that you’ll distract other people.

One habit that might still have the power to annoy is that of disappearing every five minutes for a cigarette break. Of course, when everyone’s siloed away in their homes, it’s even more tempting to head out for as long as we like without any scrutiny. Failing to respond promptly to urgent emails, therefore, might be considered a serious faux pas in this new economic environment.

How to Deal with the Problem

Your first step might be to try and root out the annoyance at the source. First make the person aware that they’re being annoying – through an honest, though respectful, email or phone call. Only when this fails should you escalate to a conversation with management about the colleague in question.

If you’re constantly stewing in resentment and anger, then you might find that you’re less productive. Couple this emotion with all of the distraction that naturally comes with working from home, along with the constantly-evolving state of the news, and you’ve a recipe for some serious stress.

If you find that you’re fretting for most of the day, then the best method of dealing with it, at least in the long-term, is through mental training. This takes the form of mindfulness meditation – a practice which basically involves paying close attention, first to something simple, like your own breath, and then gradually to other things like thoughts.