Share on Facebook

A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

20 Secrets Your Work Colleagues Desperately Wish They Could Tell You

Chances are, if they always ask if you want a mint, they're not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. That's the consensus from the (anonymous, natch) group of employees interviewed for this story.

1 / 20

If I ask you, “Do you want a mint?” every time you enter my office, that’s my polite way of saying your breath is less than pleasant

I just haven’t figured out how to tell you about your bad breath yet, and I’m trying not to embarrass you or hurt your feelings.

2 / 20

Don’t overdo it on scented fragrances

If I sneeze every time you walk by, your perfume or cologne is too strong. The scent can be overpowering, so please dial it back a bit when you’re in close quarters. These are the 13 types of annoying coworkers—and how to make sure you’re not one of them.

3 / 20

While athleisure may be trendy in the fashion world, workout wear isn’t appropriate for the office

So leave the yoga pnts, sports bras, jogging pants, and gym shorts for the actual gym, and dress in more professional attire.

4 / 20

If you borrow my pen, laptop, iPad, etc., don’t forget to return it

Don’t make me tape plastic spoons to my office supplies. This is just one of many things you can do to build trust with your colleagues.

5 / 20

Follow the golden food rule

If I leave food in the refrigerator with my name on it, it’s my lunch—not yours.

6 / 20

And a second rule too

When I’m eating lunch, don’t just reach into my bag and help yourself to a handful of my bites. That’s rude (and a little gross). If you want a little piece of my cookie or a couple of chips, please just ask. These are the 9 signs a coworker can’t be trusted.

7 / 20

Let me know what you think

When I ask for your input on a project, I really value your opinion, and I’m open to hearing some constructive feedback from you.

8 / 20

Don’t forget about the coffee

Don’t leave a quarter inch of coffee in the carafe and assume someone else will make more. Pitch in, brew another pot, and let’s keep the java flowing.

9 / 20

A friendly bathroom reminder

The bottle of air freshener in the bathroom isn’t just a toilet decoration. Enough said. This is the bathroom etiquette you need to know.

10 / 20

I really admire your fervor to take on new projects

In case I haven’t already told you, your enthusiasm is refreshing and isn’t going unnoticed.

11 / 20

Don’t dig through my desk when I’m gone for the day

If you’re looking for something specific, text or call me. Otherwise, it looks a little suspicious, and I can tell when you’ve rifled through my things. Here are 9 items to never keep on your desk at work.

12 / 20

Don’t take credit for someone else’s work

This is toxic coworker behavior: If a team member does well on a project, don’t claim their accomplishment as your own. Instead, celebrate with them. This creates positive energy and a better vibe in the workplace. These are the five types of toxic coworkers.

13 / 20

Learn to listen to others

Sometimes you need to stop talking and give your colleagues a chance to speak. Contrary to your belief, you’re not always right. Start by honing these listening skills.

14 / 20

Can we talk about bodily noises?

I beg you: Don’t walk in my room and belch (or worse). Sure, I can excuse the occasional bodily noise. But if you’re doing it almost every time you’re in my office, it’s annoying. Say, “Excuse me for a minute,” and walk out! These are the 9 pieces of business etiquette you need to follow.

15 / 20

If you say you’re going to do something, kindly follow through with the task

Your coworkers are counting on you to finish the job, so don’t let them down.

16 / 20

Your cell phone isn’t a necessary appendage

If I’m trying to have a conversation with you, please be respectful and put your phone down for a few minutes so you can listen to me. This common email mistake could be ruining trust with your coworkers.

17 / 20

Be thoughtful when ordering food

If you’re going to order food from the new restaurant down the street, ask your team if they want to participate. And make sure you pay for what you ordered; there’s seemingly always someone who tries to get out of paying for their portion of the bill. Try these 7 tricks to sleuth how much your coworkers are being paid—and make sure you’re getting a fair salary.

18 / 20

Clean up after yourself

Wash your dirty dishes. Don’t leave them in the sink for someone else to do for you. We’ve all got a lot on our plates, so be a team player and share in the responsibilities for maintaining the common areas.

19 / 20

I know you love your dog, but…

If you’re going to be bring your dog to work, please make sure they’re well behaved and won’t be disruptive. (The same kind of goes for your kids.)

20 / 20

Don’t assume you know more about my job than me

I don’t tell you how to do your job; don’t tell me how to do mine. Also, if I decline your offer to help me, it’s usually because I’ll end up having to redo everything. If I want your help, I’ll ask for it. Don’t miss these 8 expert-backed secrets to becoming better at your job.