The Things That Annoy US Workers The Most

Mar, 2022


What are the things that annoy you most at work?

Vocabulary list 

• Students read each word followed by the definition, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• The teacher reads the sample sentence and the students repeat, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• After reading the list, students try to make their own example sentences using the words that are new to them. 

• Students share their example sentences and the teacher gives feedback, correcting errors if necessary.

pet peeve (noun)

pet piːv

something a person finds particularly annoying

I hate it when people eat loudly, that is definitely my biggest pet peeve.


nevertheless (adverb)


despite what has just been said or referred to

It rained for most of the trip, but we enjoyed it nevertheless.


tempting (adjective)


if something is tempting, you really want to do it or have it

I really shouldn’t have a dessert, but they all look very tempting.


annoyance (noun)


the feeling or state of being slightly angry

He couldn’t hide his annoyance after Lucy interrupted him for the third time.


assumption (noun)


something believed to be true without proof

My assumptions about this show were wrong, it’s actually pretty good.


somewhat (adverb)


to an average extent or by an average amount

The homework was somewhat confusing, but I managed to complete it.


malfunction (verb)


to fail to work or operate correctly

The photocopier malfunctioned and now the paper is trapped in the machine.


respondent (noun)


someone who answers a question or request for information

Most of the respondents were happy with the service they were getting.

The Things That Annoy US Workers The Most

Collaboration and working together in any environment requires cooperation, tolerance and mutual respect. Nevertheless, whether you get annoyed if someone is humming along to music on their earphones or someone uses their mobile phone during meetings, we all have certain pet peeves that really annoy us. But what are the most annoying? Career website Zety did a survey in 2021 to find out.

Zety surveyed 1,026 US workers and asked the participants 56 questions about annoying office habits and situations. Participants were asked to say how often each one happened and how angry it made them. The researchers then multiplied the level of annoyance with the reported frequency, based on their assumption that the worst pet peeves were the ones that both annoyed people a lot and happened often.

Starting late and leaving early
It’s very tempting to spend an extra five or ten minutes in bed in the morning and get to work a little bit late. Or maybe leaving a little bit early if you’ve got all the day’s work done. Well this is not such a good idea because it seems that it annoys a lot of your work colleagues. Twenty-one percent of the people surveyed said that colleagues arriving late or leaving early really annoyed them, and 52% said it happened often or very often. This made it to third on the list of top pet peeves.

Computer problems
Time is one of life’s most valuable commodities and deadlines are a regular feature of many people’s work. So it probably comes as no surprise that trying to get work done on a computer that’s slow or malfunctioning came in at number two on the list, with 92% of respondents describing it as somewhat annoying and 35% describing it as really annoying.

Coming to work sick
As the world was thrown into chaos in 2020 by the COVID pandemic, it is perhaps unsurprising that colleagues coming to work sick was top of the list. Almost 90% of participants found this situation at least somewhat annoying, and 52% felt that it happened often or very often. They’re probably right; in a 2019 survey, 90% of US workers said they went to work even if they felt sick.

Other common pet peeves
The rest of the 10 were: colleagues not washing their hands before leaving the toilet, having to go to meetings that could have been an email, printer problems, people chatting together or talking on the phone, colleagues using work time to text and browse social media, slow Wi-Fi, and at number ten, too many meetings – 81% of respondents found this somewhat annoying.



1. Zety’s survey only focussed on how annoying each situation or habit is.



2. How did Zety evaluate the data from their survey?


3. According to the article, more than half of the people in the survey felt that it was common for people to arriving late for work and leave early.



4. What percentage of people got very irritated by computer problems?


5. Ninety percent of people got really angry about people coming to work sick.



  • What do you think of the results of Zety’s survey?
  • Is it common for people to come to work sick at your workplace?
  • How often do the computers and printers malfunction where you work?
  • Do any of your colleagues often arrive late for work or leave early?
  • What would your top three pet peeves be at work?
  • Do your work colleagues often annoy you?
  • How would you deal with a personal annoyance with a work colleague?
  • In general, how good is the dynamic between your work colleagues?
  • Do you think you are able to approach your seniors at work to change policies or procedures that you feel are unnecessary, such as too many meetings or meetings that could have been done by email?
  • How do you think work disputes are best resolved?