What grinds my gears? People with headphones that leak sound. "Waaah I have headphones, why do you bother me?" "Because they're open.. because you play way too loud."
Open radios are even worse. The one guy that just has to force his music on the entire group of workers.
The antidote? Absolutely nerdy AKG K271S headphones. Sealed, I don't hear them, they don't hear me, and they look like something a WWII tank commander would wear. I bought them for the sound quality and isolation. Ruler-flat response and ruthlessly honest.
I've not worked in an open office since 1999, but I have no love for them. I'm actually a bit confused by their re-emergence. There's a happy medium and some companies have found it. I wish more did.
I got those AKGs a decade ago. Best office well-being purchase I ever made. Back then they were Made in Austria.. today they're Made in China... after Harman Kardon bought AGK. I have a MIC pair.. they sound just as nice. I have them at home, so I don't have to listen to the neighbor across the street blast his music while I'm trying to enjoy a book, a cigar, and a whisky.