When you’re working from home, there are unavoidable pet peeves to deal with. Work through them with a positive attitude and you’ll win out in the end.
There are well-known office pet peeves like the noisy coworker that won’t STFU, somebody microwaving fish for lunch, the last person that doesn’t make a fresh pot of coffee, etc.

You’d think that everyone has some awareness of office etiquette, but nope.

Then, the day comes where you can work remotely from home and not have to wake up early, get dressed up, deal with the stressful commute and of course, go through all of the bullshit annoyances at the office.

It’s paradise working from home, right?

Well, yes mostly.

The good thing about work from home is that you don’t have to deal with those office annoyances anymore and your commute is just a few steps.

The bad thing is that you now have a whole new set of pet peeves to take the place of the office-based ones. And, many of these can drive you bat-shit crazy too.

It’s human nature to always want something better and it’s no different with our work environment. We all want the fuss-free smooth work day no matter where it happens to be.

Work From Home Pet Peeves That Make Work Frustrating

There’s no getting around the fact that even when you’re working remotely from home, there will always be something that irritates the fuck out of you.

In some cases, there are work-arounds and solutions but in other cases, there’s nothing that you can do and you have to just work through it. It sucks.

Here are some of the most annoying WFH pet peeves along with possible fixes, if they exist.

People That Don’t Fucking Mute Themselves

You’re trying hard to focus on what the presenter is saying but there’s so much other background noise that nothing’s getting through.

It’s an alternating cacophony of somebody banging on the keyboard, children crying, background convos, dogs barking, road noise and random garbled sounds. It’s just chaos.

And the larger the audience, the greater the chances that there’ll be more background noise. If it’s less than five, it’s usually not a problem. However, once the meeting gets to ten or more people, the odds of distracting noises increase.

Why is it that some people just don’t remember to mute themselves?

By now, everyone should know and follow this conference call courtesy. It’s all part of office and cubicle etiquette.

If you’re not talking or actively part of the current conversation, do everyone a favor and mute yourself so that no random noises get picked up by your mic.

If you’re leading the meeting, you have the ability to mute others on the call. If you’re not the host, suggest that the meeting leader “mute all” until the Q&A at the end.

Laptop Freezes Up & Checks Out

Why is it that when you’re on a roll and in the zone with work, your computer always seems to freeze up at the most inconvenient moments?

It’s when you’re in the middle of a presentation and your laptop decides that now is the perfect time to checkout for a few minutes and take a break. Or, it decides that it only wants to do things half-assed and only partially open a program or just start an action and not see it through to completion.

It’s almost like it’s saying, “Nah, I’m taking a timeout now. See ya.” There’s no response from the keyboard or mouse. It’s completely checked out. Your laptop leaves you hanging.

This is when you’ve gotta do a manual forced shut-down and reboot the system. Then, as your reward, you get all sorts of other system errors on top of the fact that your work didn’t get saved.

No In-Person IT Support

One of the biggest detractions with WFH is not having Harry the helpdesk guy around. You don’t realize how helpful it is to have the in-house IT guy come by your desk and fix your computer problems until you don’t have it anymore.

When you’re WFH, it’s not like you can have your IT guy come by your house and fix things. Now, you’ve got to work through the problem over the phone in pain-staking step-by-step procedures.

You’ve gotta download this, install that, type out foreign commands, recite everything your seeing, etc.

It’s getting a bit easier now since your IT guy can take remote control of your computer, but it still requires you to do certain things on your end.

The best thing to do is to take your time and don’t rush things and definitely don’t snap at your helpdesk person. They are helping you. Work through the process with them and you’ll be back up and running in no time.

A little housekeeping tip - there is the potential for embarrassing pics or browsing history that the IT guy might see. So, do some digital decluttering and delete all the personal shit from your work laptop. You shouldn't keep personal stuff on it anyway.

Slow or Weak WiFi Internet Connection

There’s nothing more excruciating than having to watch a download progress bar that’s barely moving. You know that the file is huge and you need it asap so that you can get your specific tasks done.

So, whaddya’ do?

You end up eyeballing the progress bar.

It’s just like staring at the elevator indicator, repeatedly pressing the button and waiting for the doors to open. Only in this case, there’s no button to keep pressing. So, it gets you riled up.

It’s all because of your weak-ass or slow-as-molasses WiFi or internet connection.

If this is something that’s happening all the time, check your internet connection speeds at and see how things are running. In most cases, the bottleneck isn’t the WiFi router as most are pretty capable but usually the internet connection.

For WFH duties that include video calls, streaming, high-volume file transfers, etc, you want to have at least 50 Mbps for single person households, more if you have others living with you.

VPN Bogging Things Down

Corporate information security is critical and every company takes this very seriously because there’s a lot at risk.

When you’re working in the office, you’re connected to the internal network so it’s secure. However, when you’re WFH, your laptop requires an additional layer of security using a “Virtual Private Network” or VPN for short.

VPNs will encrypt your communications and data to/from your laptop. This added functionality often slows down your data speeds, even if you have a high-bandwidth internet connection.

So, things like email, file transfers, video calls, etc get bogged down and take longer.

There’s really nothing that can be done to overcome this. It’s a compromise for the added security that the company needs.

Instead of watching the progress bar and getting yourself antsy, go to the kitchen and make yourself some cofftea and grab a healthy snack. Or even better, do some WFH micro-exercises. By the time you get back, it’ll be further along or even done.

Also, it’s a good idea to disconnect from VPN when you’re joining video meetings and calls. Otherwise, the connection will bog down and it won’t be smooth.

Can’t Access Company Network Drives

You’d think that since you’re an official employee and that your laptop has VPN, you’d be able to access the network drives to, you know, do your work.

But no. You don’t have access to certain network drives. You need to download and complete an internal access request form and get approval from senior management. All for that one file you need.

This is a prime example of big company inefficiencies.

So, as a work-around shortcut, you ask your fellow coworker, who does have access to that network folder, to download and send the file to you. Easy work-around. So much for security, right?

Limiting network access is a legit thing and helps to maintain IT security but when these kinds of limitations hinder your work progress, then it’s just a pain in the ass.

Loud Roommates

If you’re in the early stages of your career and living in an expensive city, it usually means you’re living with roommates to keep your housing costs manageable.

The challenge is when you and your roomies are all working remotely from home, things can get noisy sometimes.

Dealing with WFH roommates introduces a different set of annoyances than the normal office-based ones since it’s people you live with.

If you’re lucky, everyone’s respectful of each other’s privacy and has common sense about noise during the workday. However, sometimes, whether it’s intentional or not, the house gets noisy.

This is when you’ve gotta handle things diplomatically and tell them to stop making so much fucking noise.

Or, break out the headphones and listen to your fav tunes or use earplugs or over-ear noise protection. Or, find other places to work remotely to get shit done without all the house chaos.

Barking Dog(s)

Why is it that Fido’s quiet when you’re just doing normal work, but the moment that you join a group video meeting or conference call, he goes bat-shit crazy and starts barking?

You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law, right?

This is Fido’s Law of Interruption.

Check out this local news weatherman trying to do his best to report on the weather with his dog Maple chiming in with exact comedic timing.

VIDEO: Scott Connell’s dog interrupts
LENGTH: 1:21
When you’re leading the presentation or meeting and your furry coworker starts barking his ass off, all you want to do at that moment is get Fido to shut the fuck up.

During these barky sessions, relocate Fido to another part of the house, preferably in another room where you can have more sound buffers and barriers between you guys.

For those really busy work days where you’ll be on calls and meetings for most of the day, consider dropping off Fido at the local doggie daycare. He’ll get to have some fun and by the end of the day, the both of you will be tired.

Interruptions From Kids

Unlike barky dogs, you can’t crate train kids to be quiet during your WFH days.

Whether you’re working from home because your kid is sick or maybe school’s out and you need to watch them, working from home with kids is a never-ending tug-of-war between their needs and your job tasks.

There are different kinds of interruptions depending on the age of your kids. Infants, toddlers and elementary school age children require varying levels of your attention. None of which are really negotiable. They win most of the time.

Here’s a prime example of a rookie mistake of not locking the door before your video call. Hilarity ensues with a dancing kid followed by her waddling infant accomplice.

VIDEO: Children interrupt BBC News interview
LENGTH: 00:43
There’s no question that you love ‘em, but there are those times that you just wish they had a pause or mute button on their forehead.

When you know that you’ve got a busy WFH day coming up, think about hiring a sitter, arranging a playdate, asking family members for help, etc.

And of course, you can always use the inevitable fallback option of using the iPad as your go-to distraction device to keep your kids entertained while you join the call or meeting.

Noisy Neighbors

This is less of a concern for those that live in suburban or rural areas, but for those that live in the city, in an apartment complex, there’s only a single wall that separates you from your neighbors.

When you can hear your neighbor arguing, doing the dishes, vacuuming like they’re in your home, it can get annoying and distracting to the point where you can no longer focus.

If they’re hosting a raging party in the middle of the night, you can call the cops on them - easy. However, when it’s during the day doing normal shit, you have much less leverage.

During these situations, it’s time to put on the headphones to mask and drown out the noise or get outta the house and find another place to work remotely.

Outside Construction 

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of having a major construction project going on by your house, you know how irritating it can be.

The sounds of roadside repairs with jackhammers, house renovations saws and drills, new building construction, etc. They’re all going to drive you crazy at some point.

The big issue here is that this isn’t a one-time thing. It’s gonna be several weeks and even months before things are back to normal. And, it’s not like you can tell them to stop working.

It’s time to pack your laptop and head out.

Here are a few ideas beyond the obvious cafe and library that should have WiFi available:
  • Work as a “guest vendor” at your BFFs company
  • Set-up in a major hotel chain lobby
  • Sign-up for a short-term co-working membership
  • Be a “student” at the local community college

No More Coffee In The House

It’s one of the first things you do in the morning after waking up. The all-important first cup of coffee to start your day.

Opening the cupboard and not seeing any coffee there is one of the worst sinking feelings to have in the morning.
First of all, this should never, ever happen under any circumstances. It’s not like at work where the last person didn’t make a fresh pot of coffee, which by the way is common office coffee etiquette. This is all on you.

Having coffee is a must-do ritual for your morning routine. It’s one of the best ways to get your day started. So, if you’ve run out of coffee, you need to get your ass dressed and head out to your local cafe and get your first cup.

While you’re there, buy a few bags of beans too. Don’t let this happen again - ever.

Nothing Good To Eat

You’ve looked in your fridge again for the tenth time just to see if there’s something else that you didn’t spot the previous nine times.

Yes, there’s food in the fridge, but none of it is appealing. You’re hungry for something more special, not just the run of the mill stuff that’s sitting inside the fridge or freezer.

It’s the same story for the snacks in the pantry - stale potato chips, random nuts, candy and granola bars. Nothing looks tasty.

This is when you start missing those office donuts that pop up every now and then.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

It’s time to go to the supermarket for a snack-haul stock-up. Mix things up and get a good variety of munchies, both healthy and the not-so-healthy - ahem, Twinkies?

Cabin Fever

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to just stay holed up inside all day long. Things get worse during the short daylight hours of the winter months. This is when you start losing your shit from cabin fever.

You feel trapped and isolated and want to just get away, go somewhere and do something different. You want to see other people, interact, socialize and just hang out.

Because there isn’t any kind of clear break or separation between work and personal time, you can easily end up working into the evenings. You need to disconnect from the WFH day and more importantly, get outta the house and do other fun things.

Don’t incarcerate yourself at home. Get out and go for a walk in nature or browse around your fav local mall if the weather’s shitty.

Low Batteries On Devices

You’re about to join yet another boring conference call. You insert your earphones and power up and that’s when you hear the fateful warning beep of low battery levels.

Of course, it couldn’t happen at any other time but right now, just as you're connecting to the call. And, as expected, it dies during the meeting forcing you to use a wired headset or the lame laptop mic and speakers.

It’s not just earphones either. It’s your phone, portable speaker, tablet, smartwatch plus who knows what else. It seems like there’s always at least one or two devices that need to be recharged at any given point in time.

To help minimize the device chaos, optimize your WFH workspace with a charging zone with the cables marked or labelled for easy sorting and identification.

Tip: save those plastic bread bag clips and use them for bundling charging cables together. They’re perfect for that.

Can’t Connect To The Video Meeting

Your meeting alert goes off and you open the invite to click on the web link to join the session. The hourglass icon appears and the system is processing your request but nothing’s happening.

You close out the program and give it another shot - still nothing but a spinning icon waiting to connect.

WTF, right?

You end up having to close out all your programs and restart your computer for a clean start. After the five minute restart process completes, you go back into your work calendar and try clicking on the meeting link once again.

Finally, you’re in - ten minutes late to the meeting. What an ordeal.

Sometimes, having multiple programs running at the same time can cause issues with connections. Also, VPNs are notorious for making video calls unworkable.

Rather than trying to force things and run into problems, close out all non-essential programs and disconnect from your VPN five minutes before your scheduled meeting. This will up the odds of making a solid connection on the first try.

And don’t forget, follow WFH dress codes for your video meetings. Keep yourself presentable, at least your top half. You can go pantless down below if you want to.

Meeting Organizers That Show Up Late

You know when you show up to an in-person meeting on-time along with everyone else and the person leading the meeting hasn’t even shown up yet?

The same shit happens online too.

The difference here is that at least with the in-person meeting you can chat with your colleagues and catch up on random things. It’s a great way to bond with your co-workers.

With virtual meetings, those friendly casual conversations don’t happen. Everyone is waiting outside the virtual meeting room twiddling their thumbs until the host arrives and starts the session.

There’s the obligatory five minute grace period for most any meeting, online or in real life. However, once it gets to the ten minute mark, people may start bailing.

It’s like back in college. There’s the unwritten rule that if the professor doesn’t show up within 15 minutes, then class is cancelled.

The only way chronically late meeting organizers will be on-time is if the tribe brings it up enough times so that they begin to change their behavior. So, let them know.

Virtual Micro-Managers

Life can be pretty fucking miserable when you have a micromanaging boss that controls your every move. You have little in the way of freedom or flexibility of how your work gets done.

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you’ve escaped the controlling wrath of your boss. Nope.

Now, your micromanager boss is calling, emailing, texting, IM’ing you constantly and expects you to reply within minutes, if not seconds or else they immediately become suspicious of whether or not you’re actually working.

Little do they know that you’re actually taking a nap during your WFH day disguised as a scheduled “deep focus” work session.

The way to go about this to openly communicate with your boss and find a common middle ground for work from home expectations. That’s the secret to dealing with control freak bosses. Plus some calming 1-minute meditations wouldn’t hurt either.

WFH Pet Peeves Are Annoying But Manageable

There’s no such thing as a perfect working environment. There will always be something to gripe about. It’s human nature.

The key is to manage these annoyances and work through them as best as you can. Yes, it can be frustrating but it’s not the end of the world.

Take a step back and look at the big picture. You’re actually employed and you have the luxury of working from home. Don’t lose sight of that fact. You gotta be happy about that.

There are people out there who are just barely getting by working minimum wage jobs. And most of those kinds of jobs require you to be on-site.

It’s the cashier at the ghetto mini-mart gas station, the guy shoveling dirt in the hot summer sun, the call center rep that gets yelled at all day long, etc.

Think about where you’re at in the overall spectrum of work and the fact that your job type and employer allows WFH. It’s really a blessing to be grateful for, even with these minor nuisances.

Having gratitude is the secret little trick to triggering happiness at work and life in general.

In the grand scheme of things, WFH pet peeves are pretty insignificant. Work through them with the mindset that there are more important things in life to focus on, namely your happiness and well-being.

If you can do that, none of these pet peeves will ever phase you.

Feel Better,

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