Published 17 January 2018 Category: Compass Tips, Entrepreneurs, SMEs, Startups, Coworking

Productive Ways To Cope With Difficult Co-workers

If you work 40-plus hours a week, chances are you're with your co-workers more than your loved ones. Because of this, co-workers can make or break a job. A great team member can make the worst job bearable, but an annoying one can make going into the best workplaces dreadful.

We spend nearly half of our lives at work, and with the complexities of human nature, things are bound to get difficult. Whether we're dealing with issues directly related to work or bringing problems at home to work, when there's constant interaction between people, we can't always keep things peaceful, despite our best intentions.
And because co-workers are like family: We can't necessarily pick who we work with, so we have to learn to live with them.

Here's how to keep the peace and your sanity in the workplace when dealing with difficult colleagues.

1. Pinpoint the behaviour that bothers you
See if you can figure out what specific behaviour annoys you.

2. Avoid reacting rashly
People typically react in a rash manner when they are dealing with an annoying co-worker, such as involving the entire office or publicly shaming the co-worker. Tactics such as confronting people through another colleague and using shame and aggression often fail to bring about any type of resolution. Instead, a more productive approach would be to address the issue calmly. Sitting down with HR tends to have more lasting results than other methods seen in the workplace.

3. Find common ground
If you're continually butting heads with a specific colleague, you should try to find a common interest with that person/. Try to find at least one thing you can talk about – even if it's just the dislike of the break room coffee. This will make working together more tolerable.

4. Reject the co-worker's attention
If the issue with your co-worker involves them constantly pestering you with non-work items, diplomatically turn them away. Whenever your annoying co-worker begins distracting you from your work, politely tell them to respect your space and to only speak to you if their question is work-related. 

5. Confront the co-worker
If you want to solve the issue once and for all, a direct approach is best. Before you consider leaving the company, you should confront your co-worker. Work with human resources or a manager to effectively find a solution. The sooner it is resolved, the better the chances of improving your work environment.

6. Stay positive
You might think the co-worker who's constantly bugging you is doing it on purpose, but chances are they're not aware of their impact on you. The best thing you can do in this situation is to let the annoying things your co-worker does roll off your back. Dwelling on the negative can distract you from being productive.

At the end of the day, it's up to you to stay focused on what you need to accomplish and to have a positive attitude at work.