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The 12 types of people you find at work

The 12 People You Find In Every Office

While the way we work may have changed, the majority of people in the world spend a significant amount of time at the office. Whether it’s a virtual office, a shared workspace with other small business owners or a corporate work environment, there is always some form of social interaction taking place. 

Whichever path you choose, it’s safe to say you’ll notice a few recurring personality types at the workplace; every office has a few pairs of the same shoes just waiting to be filled (check out our human resource guidebook for even more details).

12 types of people at work

This index will help you map out the 12 most common people you are sure to find in every office:

01. The over-dresser

Prepare the fitting rooms, because these people will make you want to change your whole work attire. While you stumble around in your sneakers, these folks think that a three-piece suit is a reasonable outfit of choice, even when it’s 100 degrees outside. They wore cufflinks before you even knew how to spell the word.

  • The pro: You got to touch Cashmere wool for the first time.

  • The con: Forget about socializing with these pals outside of work, if you want to spare your ego a few punches.

  • How to deal with them: Next time these Fashionistas tell you “Dress for the job you want”, follow your dreams and arrive in a Batman costume.

02. Sticky fingers

Left the fancy pen on your desk unattended? Once this raven gets their hands on it, you won’t ever see it again. They will take your office supplies, desk toys, the sweets you hid for a rainy day, your slightly more comfortable chair and pretty much anything that wouldn’t categorize them as a criminal.

  • The pro: Fewer knick-knacks scattered all over your table.

  • The con: For the first time since the nineties, you started to use your wallet chain.

  • How to deal with them: Any kind of semi-humane trap should do the job.

03. The AC fanatic

When a butterfly flaps its wings on the other side of the globe, this person will complain about the wind. This type is very common and usually comes in three different modes – “always hot,” “always cold” and the dreadful, “always complaining no matter what the temperature is.” There are a few things you can always expect; a fight over the AC remote at least once a week, an exaggerated performance depicting suffering from the heat or cold (hand-held folding fans and fake fingers lost due to frostbite included) and sentences like, “you put your hand on that remote, you lose your hand.”

  • The pro: How many people get to experience all four seasons in one day at the office?

  • The con: The AC remote is booby-trapped.

  • How to deal with them: Regardless of their birthday, buy them a personal heater, a mini fan or both.

04. The toilet talker

An office bathroom is a sacred place, allowing employees a few short moments of serenity and inner peace. There’s a widespread understanding that when someone is inside the stall, it’s a big no-no to approach them unless it’s to warn them that their desk is on fire. However, the bathroom schmoozer won’t mind banging on the door to inform you about a typo in the document you’ve just sent them. Additional traits: Small talk at the sink, unwelcome eye contact and conducting family phone calls from their throne.

  • The pro: The raging phone call they had with their aunt outside your stall provided you with a decent amount of entertainment.

  • The con: You started going to the gas station to find some peace and quiet.

  • How to deal with them: Just ignore. There is only one thing more awkward than talking in the bathroom — talking alone in the bathroom. Or, you could always consider a career in entrepreneurship — you won't have to worry about any "Toilet Talkers" at all that way.

05. The pacer

Just like a kid right after entering a hotel room on a family vacation, these employees are in constant motion. No one knows exactly where they sit, but reported sightings suggest some possible areas in the building. This is one of those personalities in the workplace that might be difficult to catch, but at least meetings with them provide you with a taste of what it’s like to be a character on “Law and Order.”

  • The pro: A fifteen-minute talk with this quicksilver can legitimately count as a visit to the gym.

  • The con: They tend to be just as distracting as a fly trapped in a small space. Beware of any business meeting led by this person — you may not retain a thing they say.

  • How to deal with them: Try to convince your manager to install speed bumps around the office.

06. The veteran

Rumor has it that they started their application process when dinosaurs still ruled the earth. They have documents showing that the current building was actually built around them. Some veterans function as a source of office wisdom and knowledge, others are just tired of all the young people around them on TikTok. 

  • The pro: Their stories about the time when Julius Caesar was in bookkeeping is fascinating.

  • The con: The noise from their typewriter is nerve-wracking.

  • How to deal with them: Try to learn from their experience. You’ll be surprised what you just might find out, or what successful habit you may pick up.

07. The one whose job is unknown

You high five them in the morning, they send you funny Insta Reels, they even invited you to their wedding next summer, but you have no idea what their job in the company is. Some of your colleagues suspect that they were hired to raise morale. An alternative explanation suggests that they happened to show up one morning, sat in one of the vacant offices and everyone was too embarrassed to ask them who they were.

  • The pro: Usually these random faces are pretty positive fellows.

  • The con: At this point, it’s way too embarrassing to ask them exactly what they do.

  • How to deal with them: Be vague in whatever you say. ie: “Great job”, “Congrats”, “Nice one”, “You killed it” – stuff like that.

08. The hypochondriac

Don’t think about sneezing or coughing near these stressed-out individuals, as they will put you in quarantine. Founders of the “handwashing watch” of the company, they see themselves as the last line of defense in the war against germs. Normally they’ll call in “sick” at least once a month and talk about the fact they’re about to be ill around once a week. The office hypochondriacs are the ones responsible for the fact that 20% of the morning conversations revolve around the fun topic of “health issues.”

  • The pro: There are field hospitals less equipped than these health devotees. Know that whatever happens, you’re covered.

  • The con: A few sneezes a day and you’re exiled.

  • How to deal with them: If you find yourself caught in a talk about common health issues, just cough twice and the conversation will be over.

09. The gossiper

The Intelligence Branch, the Facebook Timeline, The Daily Rumor, The Yenta and many other names are used to describe the office gossiper. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but you know that without them, life in the office wouldn’t be complete. They’re the spoon that stirs the pot and can be trusted to deliver bits of interesting news in an ocean of work-related information.

  • The pro: Spending lunch breaks with these rumormongers can be more exciting than a Game of Thrones episode.

  • The con: You better hope they don’t find out about your embarrassing incident at the last office party.

  • How to deal with them: Make sure you know one of their darkest secrets to create a counterbalance of threats and avoid confronting HR.

10. The scheduler

This kind of person doesn’t have time to talk – ever. Even if you sit next to them, you’ll need to book a slot to borrow their stapler. The only channel of communication? The calendar. These employees treat their schedule as if it was a bingo card – they’re determined to fill it up till the last spot. If you have too many of these types, it can change the entire company culture.

  • The pro: Their fully documented calendar might provide you with an alibi in the future.

  • The con: Even when they don’t do anything, their schedule looks much busier than yours.

  • How to deal with them: Can’t catch them for your meeting? Consider channeling your inner “Bathroom Schmoozer.”

11. The drummer/singer/whistler/hummer

This type likes to make noise at all times, at the expense of your sanity. This tends to deteriorate the situation at work in general, as your colleagues might develop other annoying and disturbing methods to mask out the original nuisance by creating their own irritating sounds.

  • The pro: Every walk to lunch feels like a military march.

  • The con: Every walk to lunch feels like a military march.

  • How to deal with them: Soundproofing their workstation. Alternatively, if you can, make them work in a duo with “The Pacer” so they keep moving – hopefully, they’ll get tired.

12. The kitchen criminal

Every office kitchen has its own unwritten, yet well-known rules and regulations. Those who disregard these rules put their workplace friendships, reputation and future on the line. There are plenty of criminal offenses one can commit – stealing or throwing away someone’s lunch or snack, leaving a mess after preparing a meal, letting food spoil, leaving passive-aggressive notes and the mother of all kitchen crimes – microwaving fish. For your own sake, stay on the right side of the law.

  • The pro: Suddenly your home kitchen feels like a safer space.

  • The con: You have two options: take the risk or stay hungry.

  • How to deal with them: Make sure “The Drummer” is always close to the fridge to scare them away – if he’s not with “The Pacer” (see paragraph above).

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