Business English Role-play Activity: Annoying Coworkers

There are certain types of annoying coworkers that can be found almost everywhere. You might be one of them. Do you know which one you are? Take this quiz.

The most frequent types are:

  • The Gossiper
  • The Wannabe Boss
  • The Talker
  • The Energy Vampire
  • The Kitchen Slob

These business English roles-plays can help your adult students practice dealing with annoying coworkers and office problems.

A1: You have an annoying co-worker who puts all her/his calls on speaker, spends a lot of time
discussing personal problems, invades your personal space, peeks on your computer screen
over your shoulder; and jumps into your conversations without invitation. You have tolerated
this behavior long enough and now you will talk to your co-worker and make an end to it.
B1: You work in an open space office and share a cubicle with an older co-worker. You have a
feeling that your co-worker does not like you but you have no idea why. You are friendly, laid
back, and chill. You spend a lot of time on your mobile phone, talking to your family, checking
your Instagram because you usually finish your work fast and are bored soon afterward. Your
co-worker wants to chat.

A2: You are a project manager who has been assigned to a new project. One of the members of
your new team is not co-operating with the other team members. He opposes every idea,
causes conflict, and is generally difficult to work with. Talk to him and solve the problem.
B2: You have worked for this company for 10 years and you feel unappreciated. You started to
work on a new project with co-workers who are not so experienced as you are and you think
your manager is incompetent. You complain a lot because things do not work as they should.
Your manager wants to talk to you.

A3: You are a good employee, you have great results and everybody likes you. The problem is
that you think your boss is stealing your ideas and presenting them as his/her own and you do
not get the deserved credit. Talk to your boss.
B3: You are the department manager of a large company. You have great employees and your
department has the best results. You know you could get promoted soon if you keep coming
up with great ideas. Your employee wants to talk to you.

A4: You maintain a healthy diet and prepare a fresh lunch for work every day. There is no
restaurant near your workplace and you have no time to drive somewhere for lunch during
your break. Last week somebody stole your lunch every day. You suspect a certain co-worker.
Talk to him/her.
B4: You started to work in a new company. There is no canteen and you have no time to drive
somewhere for lunch during your break but luckily there are free snacks in the staff kitchen
and you helped yourself to a free lunch a couple of times. Your co-worker wants to talk to you.

A5: Your co-worker is rude and thinks that she does not value your opinion. You think that
she is irresponsible and unreliable. Talk to her and express your concern.
B5: Recently, you have been overworked, your diary is full, and you have no time for personal
life. You are about to have a breakdown when your co-worker stops you to have a chat.

Download PDF: office problems role plays

Vocabulary game


Speaking Activities


Other role plays:

ESL/EFL Speaking Activity: Role Play Debate

Role-play: Making Polite Requests

At The Restaurant: ESL Pair Work and Role Play Lesson

ESL Role Play Worksheet: Travel/Holidays



7 Reasons Why Your Lessons Should Be Fun

Are language lessons or any lessons even supposed to be fun? It is all about learning, hard work, discipline, focus, determination. How can all that be fun?

Simple. You, the teacher, should love your job, enjoy working with people and bring life into the dull stereotypes of a boring lesson.

Why should you do that? Why bother? Isn’t the teacher’s job to teach and not to entertain? Ideally, the teacher should do both. Making your lesson fun can be a powerful tool. You can find the reasons why bellow.

Why English (and any other) lessons should be fun:

1. Building rapport.

Friendly and relaxed atmosphere makes it easier to establish rapport with your students. Fear can be a motivator but it should never be used in a classroom. By showing students that learning can be a fun, enjoyable activity, something that they may even look forward to, you will gain something priceless-their interest. And interest in the subject is the first step in a sucessful learning process.

2. Interest in the subject

English is generally considered as less boring school subject than the others, but let’s face it; it is still a school subject. It is graded, it requires studying rules, memorizing vocabulary, drilling grammar, etc. Where is the fun in that? It is important to make the studens realize that learning English can be fun and that it is not only a school subject.

3. Fun breaks the ice and promotes speaking

All the icebreaking activities are supposed to be fun to make the students feel relaxed. We want them to be relaxed, open, willing to share their ideas, to express themselves. Do we want them to feel that way only at the begining of the school year or a course?  Definitely not! Break the ice all year around.

4. Variability of your lessons

Listening, reading, speaking, writing. The four pillars of any language learning. All of them can be taught in an engaging way using a variety of materials. Teaching a language is much more than a coursebook and a dictionary. So much can be learnt outside the classroom, outside the cliché of read the text, fill in the gaps, answer the questions, learn the vocabularyLearning a language can be more natural, spontaneus and entertaining activity.

5. All the great activities and resources

Simulations, role plays, group work, quizzes, games, drama, projects, presentations, competitions, videos, TED lectures, podcasts, worksheets, flashcards and many more. When utilized correctly they are not only a source of knowledge but they capture the students attention, foster creativity and contribute to a well balanced, engaging lesson.

6. Attention span 

We are all familiar with the attention span theories. Different psychologists and reaserches claim that the attention span can vary from 10  to 90 mintes depending on factors such as the age of the students, time of the day, emotion, enjoyment and motivation. We can’t influcence all the factors, but there are some that we can influnce, namely emotion, enjoyment and motivation. 

7. Motivation

Teacher is the director of the class and the leading actor. Teacher gives orders and motivates the rest of the cast to give their life performance. When in a classroom you are in a role. You are on stage. You have power over your students in more ways than you think. And with great power comes great responsibility. (comics are a great teaching resource as well  – The Oatmeal Grammar Comics for example)

Do you want to to bring more fun into your English lessons? Try these engaging activities activities.

Funny Conversation Starters: 60 Questions

10 Websites To Make Your Lessons More Engaging And Fun

Best English Games to Play in Your ESL Classroom

Balderdash: ESL Speaking Game

ESL Speaking Activity: Conversation Cards

ESL Travel Vocabulary Taboo Cards

Exit mobile version