As much as TV would like us to believe otherwise, most offices aren’t like Parks and Recreation or Brooklyn Nine-Nine where all your coworkers become your friends and family. Chances are, you’ve got some annoying colleagues and bosses, so use these cruel but effective apps to deal with them.
It’s not always advisable to be retaliatory when dealing with coworkers, but sometimes, it feels like a few of them deserve it. These are the apps to use when you’ve exhausted other options and even dealt with angry or rude emails. But just in case you don’t want to be that aggressive, the last recommendation should give you constructive advice.
Should Have Been An Email (Web): For Coworkers Who Set Up Too Many Meetings
Some bosses and colleagues love to set up meetings to discuss every small issue. More often than not, these meetings are a waste of time for everyone involved. If you’re stuck in such a meeting that could easily have been an email, use this app let them know anonymously.
Should Have Been An Email lets you send anonymous emails. There are two different email addresses you can use: firstname.lastname@example.org to email all the attendees, or email@example.com to message the organizer only.
It’s usually not a great idea to name-and-shame someone publicly, so use the organizer-only option as often as possible. The email needs to be attached with an iCalendar file (or ICS file type), which is the standard format for all calendar applications.
The recipient gets an email that tells them someone in the meeting thought it was a waste of time, without ever revealing your identity. This can be all they need to stop scheduling more meetings all the time.
Minimize.Email (Web): For Coworkers Who Sent Too Many Emails
Meetings are more disruptive than emails, but constant emails are stressful too. They distract from the task you’re doing, they overload your inbox with clutter, and they are often wholly unnecessary.
Minimize.Email sends an anonymous email to a coworker or boss who has a habit of sending far too many emails for trivial things. The emails are not exactly rude, but they’re blunt enough to get the message across. And yes, the recipient won’t know it’s you. As the app proudly puts it, they’ve sent almost 14,000 emails without anyone getting fired.
Nudge Notes (Web): Send Anonymous Complaints via Email or Text
Nudge Notes also loves the idea of sending anonymous emails telling off your colleagues or bosses about what they’re doing wrong. And it has several more templates, along with solutions for the transgressor.
Choose from categories like boss/coworker, hygiene, habits, life choices, and so on, after which you get specific topics for each category. For example, in the boss/coworker category, you can inform someone about how they don’t accept input, or lack leadership skills, and send other messages you probably can’t say to someone’s face.
Pick what you want to complain about, set the tone (harsh or helpful), preview the message template, and send it to that person’s email address or phone number.
Each message a “solution” as well, which is a nice touch. Nudge Notes is not about complaints alone, but also about giving that person steps to correct their behavior about the complaint.
GogoCall (Android): Fake a Phone Call to Escape
Cornered by that coworker who never stops talking? Can’t find a way out of a terribly awkward situation? Reach into your pocket and click the power button of your phone four times. GogoCall will fake an incoming call to help you escape.
Unlike other apps to fake incoming calls on Android, GogoCall’s simple mechanism sets it apart. You don’t schedule the call, and tapping the power button four times is inconspicuous enough that you can do it right in front of the other person without them suspecting anything.
GogoCall also lets you set up what the fake call will look like. Add a picture from someone in your contact list (like your family member or your boss), or a completely fake profile. You can also customize what the incoming call screen looks like. Four taps later, you’ll get out of any uncomfortable situation.
Download: GogoCall for Android (Free)
GogoCall isn’t on iPhone, but there are other similar apps for fake calls. One of the most recommended and well-reviewed apps is KnockToCall, which is a paid app where you knock on the screen of your iPhone to simulate a call. It even works through your jeans.
Download: KnockToCall for iOS ($1.99) [No Longer Available]
Ask A Manager and Ask A Boss (Web): Advice to Deal With Every Coworker
Not every problem at the workplace comes with an app addressing it. When you are dealing with an issue, it can help to turn to a career mentor for advice. If you don’t already have one, then try The Cut’s weekly advice column, Ask A Boss. The column is written by Alison Green, author of the book and website Ask A Manager.
At both sites, Green tackles common workplace problems faced by anyone, including remote workers, office workers, as well as freelance workers. Topics range from the essentials of office etiquette to coworkers that argue all the time. In fact, the “Advice About Your Coworkers” section of Ask A Manager is filled with great suggestions on how to effectively deal with any colleague.
Ask A Boss is a comparatively new column, so it doesn’t have a huge amount of information, but you can follow it for some great weekly advice. Ask A Manager has a treasure-trove of articles already written, so if you’re facing a problem, search on the site. Chances are you’ll find something useful. And if you like it, consider buying the Ask A Manager book.
What to Do When You’re the Annoying Coworker
These apps and websites enable you to attack your coworker’s annoying habits, and hopefully bring about change. But what happens if someone uses one of these apps on you? You might not even know that you’re being a pain for others.
For starters, write an apology email to anyone who you think might be affected by you. Don’t go looking for the coworker who complained, since after all, they probably took those steps to remain anonymous. Accept responsibility and then try to find solutions for the mentioned problem.
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