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9 Inappropriate Workplace Behaviours That Could Offend Your Coworkers

We all know people at the office who behave as if they are still in high school. They are forming cliques, partaking in gossip, or spouting crude jokes. It is odd to see, especially as you ask yourself: How did such a successful company hire this person? Well, that is something you will never know.

With that said, as you see somebody else acting like a fool, it would be a pertinent time for introspection and determine if you are behaving in a similar fashion. Are you?

Here are the nine inappropriate workplace behaviours that will make you an unpopular and unlikable person to work with:

Behaviour #1: Touching Everyone

Everyone knows at least one person who decides to invade your personal space. It is uncomfortable, awkward, disrespectful, and highly inappropriate. It gets worse when this person decides to touch you – man or woman – by holding your hand, resting his or arm on your shoulder, or giving you a shoulder massage.

Even if the gestures are innocent, they are still unnecessary and should be avoided at all costs. A professional training session on sexual harassment in the workplace will educate employees on the importance of physical boundaries.

Behaviour #2: Using Crude Humour

We get it. You just finished watching 1990s reruns of Andrew Dice Clay or you completed Dave Chappelle’s latest skit and you want to reuse their material. Well, be sure to do it outside of the office because a business is no place for crude humour.

Yes, humour is subjective and what is funny to others is unfunny to somebody else. Also, it is true that office environments need to lighten up a bit and take it easy from time to time, but there are certain jokes that should be left at the bar:

  • Sexual
  • Race
  • Political
  • Religious

Here is a joke that will not offend anyone: How many leppos does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: What is a leppo?

Behaviour #3: Stealing Someone’s Work

One of the most inappropriate workplace behaviours is taking credit for someone else’s work. This is dreadful, uncouth, and terrible behaviour. By stealing someone else’s work, you are not only taking away opportunities from that person, but you are also partaking in fraudulent behaviour.

Sure, you might receive accolades or get a big promotion, but it was not done with your hard work, dedication, and insight. It was only attained by hurting another person in the process.

Behaviour #4: Discriminating Employees

Unfortunately, employment discrimination is still a crucial problem in workplaces across the world. Too many times are employers discriminating their workers, whether it is because of their race or their religion. It is true that there are occasions where an employee who has filed a grievance with the Human Rights Commission is stretching, but most of the time the complaints are legitimate.

Behaviour #5: Making a Mess Around the Office

If you behave like a pig in the office, then chances are you either have no respect for your employer or you live in a home that is littered with garbage as well.

Since you are sharing the space with other colleagues, it is only appropriate to leave areas the way you found them. Put simply, practice the following office etiquette rules:

  • If you spill coffee, then clean it up.
  • If you use the bathroom, then flush (and wash your hands!).
  • If you purchase a soda and a bag of chips from the vending machine, then put it in the garbage when you’re done.
  • If your workstation is messy, then organize it.

These gestures might not seem like much, but they will go a long way to ensuring you’re making a mess.

Behaviour #6: Being Rude to Service Providers

For some reason, we feel the need to belittle service providers should they make a mistake. It is ridiculous behaviour and serves no purpose other than to feel powerful and superior to a person bringing you a pizza or dropping off a package at your workplace.

Here is the plain truth: If you think you look good and powerful being rude to a service provider, then think again. You only look like… …. Well, we won’t say here, but you get our drift.

Behaviour #7: Ignoring Others by Being on Your Phone

You might ignore your spouse, children, or best friend by being on your smartphone and scanning Facebook, but this is totally unacceptable in an office environment. You must never ignore others, especially if they are engaging you or you are participating in a meeting.

So, put that phone down, leave it at your desk or insert it in your pocket and pay attention.

Behaviour #8: Portraying the Office Gossip Role

Did you hear about the boss’s wife who is having an affair with the newest intern? Or, did you hear about Frank getting caught embezzling company funds?

We all enjoy a little gossip from time to time, but you should never be the one who portrayed the office gossip role. Nobody likes a gossip, though they do like listening to it. Too much gossip at work can constitute as inappropriate workplace behaviour, so never share anyone else’s business and certainly do not makeup rumours.

Behaviour #9: Complaining, Complaining …. Complaining

There is always that one employee who feels the need to complain about everything. From the work that needs to be done to the way management treats subordinates, that person whines and moans about everything. His or her behaviour often leads others to ask: Why are you still working here?

So, if you are guilty of being a chronic complainer, then either grapple with the situation or leave. Remember, you are only creating a toxic work environment and making everyone else miserable.

The workplace has greatly evolved over the years. What was acceptable and appropriate 10, 20, or 50 years ago, is certainly unacceptable and inappropriate today. It is up to you to adapt to the conditions, even if you think they are overblown and exaggerated. Just use common sense and think before you talk and act. You will stay out of trouble this way and be a model employee by avoiding the inappropriate workplace behaviours.

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