Having spent far too many years working in a corporate environment, I can tell you that working in an open plan office can often be an intensely irritating experience.
Whilst there are some advantages to ‘cube life’, particularly from the point of your employer who needs to maximise that expensive rented space and get as many of you in as possible, for the worker there are some aspects which are enough to drive you mad.
Unless your employer has thoughtfully provided soundproof office dividers, you’ll probably want to sit as far away as possible from co-workers like these.
The one who has no volume control
Shouting, braying, bellowing into any phone (and especially their own mobile despite it being in working hours), these co-workers should come offering earplugs to those who really don’t want to know what they are having for tea, anything about their embarrassing love life or how much they are paying for their next holiday (also organised in working hours).
The one who can’t stop shopping
I once had a boss who, whilst berating her hapless employees for yet another oversight (ordering too many paperclips, failing to bow to the CEO, that kind of thing) would be finalising her online supermarket shop at the same time.
The one who uses the office post room as a personal delivery depot
When you work in a law firm and your post room is full of parcels from ASOS, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to suspect that there are no weighty legal tomes in there or even paperclips.
The one whose desk is a shrine to their family/pet
These are the co-workers who cover every spare inch of their desk in family photos. Obviously us mums and dads missing our kids can have a ‘get out of jail free’ card with this one but when Tiddles face is looming at you whilst you are discussing an important legal precedent (or whose turn it is to make tea), you have to wonder if the cat has in fact been trained to take its own selfies.
The one who creates a running buffet for lunch
I used to hike up to Boots (in heels!) for their Meal Deal but some co-workers would set out numerous brightly coloured plastic pots full of various dishes, sauces and dips. Generally, these dishes were inspired by Slimming World or Weight Watchers so sharing them was a no-no.
The one who likes to race their office chair
There’s always that co-worker who uses their chair on castors as an extension of their own body. Pass by the back of their cubicle and you risk being run over by a full speed reversing chair as they lunge for the filing cabinet.
Now I come to think of it, offices are dangerous places and working from home might be the safer option. Otherwise, a good set of earplug is your best bet.