Bad workplace habits don’t make you a terrible employee, but if it persists longer than it needs to, then it can get you fired. So what are your worst workplace habits? Here are some of ours.
Photo credit: benzoix
It's never too late to start radiating good vibes and positive energy and eliminate bad habits that might hinder your career success. You'll enjoy your time in the office a little more—and improve your professional reputation if you let go of bad energy in yourself or around you; I can testify to that.
Once you've identified your bad habits, you can fix them before they have lasting effects on your working relationships and your job. Here are some of the worst workplace habits you may have and ways you can improve them:
Do you sometimes pour yourself a cup of coffee and indulge in some office gossip rather than doing actual work? Maybe you spend an hour or more scrolling through your social media, with that little voice in your head saying, “I can’t come and kill myself”. All the while, your email is getting full, and your to-do list is piling up.
Procrastination is not only a career killer but can have an overall negative impact on your life. Procrastination can affect the quality of your work and even your reputation; your colleagues and manager may start to view you as unreliable simply because you do not get stuff done on time.
Instead of procrastinating, aim to finish projects and individual tasks as soon as you can. You may consider writing a daily to-do list, organizing your calendar, and adhering to deadlines. The quicker you get stuff done, the more time you have to focus on other things. I’m a very proactive person; once a task is assigned to me, I’d rather get it done immediately than have anyone hot on my tail when the deadline is approaching.
Here’s my personal approach:
Make a daily task list every single morning
Arrange your task in order of priority
Tackle the most challenging and most urgent task first
Track your deadlines by using an excel sheet on a calendar
This has to be one of the worst workplace habits because professional networking is more important than ever in today's topsy-turvy job market. Companies no longer hire for just your hard skills but also your soft skills; employers want leaders, team players, and effective communicators on their team because all these traits will affect the companies’ productivity level.
Nobody likes a loner in the workplace; everyone usually works in teams, so if you’re acting as a one-man army, it will indeed affect your colleagues’ colleague's productivity. I learned the importance of being a team player in my first job. I used to be shy back then, so I would keep ideas to myself and just do my thing on my own. Everything felt smooth until performance reviews came along. Being a team player can help you in so many ways, including:
It opens you to more opportunities
You get to connect with more people
It can help you climb up the career ladder
Improves overall productivity
The number one way to spread negative energy in the workplace is by being that person that always complains or that everyone complains about. Nobody likes whining or nagging; your job is challenging, but who isn’t? Constantly complaining about insignificant things or pushing back every work that comes your way will give you a bad rep in the workplace.
If you’ve ever worked with such a person, you’ll know that negativity is contagious. When one person is permanently frustrated, it drags down the whole team, so try not to be that person. It’s normal to complain or vent, but too much of anything is bad. If you’re constantly feeling frustrated or negative, try taking a break from work and engage in activities that will help you clear your head and get you back on a positive note.
Being negative 24/7
This has to be one of the worst workplace habits ever! Every workplace has its optimists and pessimists, who see the potential in things and those who spot the shortcomings/errors. It’s always a good balance, but when you’re always on the wrong side of the tracks, then it can come off the wrong way. Imagine working with someone who sees the bad in everything and always knocks ideas down; they don’t only look for problems in every situation but can never present any tangible solutions themselves; that’s the worst type of energy to be around.
We all have our down times, but there’s a difference between having bad days and constantly bringing a negative attitude into the workspace. While others are trying to build bridges, you’re trying to break them down. A tip to combat negativity is to identify the source of the problem. If it’s work-related, reach out to your boss or co-workers and see how they can help. If the problem is personal, make a conscious effort to be more receptive and develop a positive outlook.
Overworking with no break
These days, it’s not about the most hardworking in the room but the one who works the smartest and produces tangible results. Sometimes it seems like you need to work non-stop to get the most out of your job. Overworking yourself often leads to burnout, which will reduce your productivity level and reflect in your performance. Breaks during working hours or even vacations are necessary to refresh and allow your brain to produce better ideas.
Not receptive to change
We’ve all worked with someone you would refer to as “uptight”. They don’t like change and are very keen on keeping things the way they are because they are scared of stepping out of their comfort zone. These types of people are bad for business. The marketplace constantly evolves, so employers search for forward thinkers, not naysayers. People like these are also not the best at accepting negative feedback, limiting your potential for advancement opportunities.
If you want to progress and excel in your professional life and even personal, you have to be open to change and progress. Things change, people change, processes change, you need to hone the skill of adaptability to navigate today’s working environment.
Being a sloppy e-mailer
Writing a professional email is a top-tier skill every professional should have, and being a sloppy emailer just won’t cut it. If you haven't learned your lesson by now, the day will soon come when you accidentally hit the "Reply All" button on an e-mail, and a slew of unintended readers receive the unprofessional email you intended your co-worker to read.
Tacky emails can cause a cycle of havoc; the receiver might end up misunderstanding your email, which may negatively impact work or even create poor results on tasks. Emails are a major communication medium in the workplace, so if your colleagues have to set up a meeting or meet with you for clarification anytime you send an email, then you need to be concerned. Start by making a conscious effort to ensure your emails are up to standard - proofread and edit before pressing send.
Everyone has been late to the office, a meeting, or a function before. Luck might not always be on your side, so it happens. Traffic might not always be on your side, especially if you reside in Lagos, Nigeria, but we have a problem when it becomes one of the worst workplace habits to always be late.
To show up on time for work or meetings during the day requires that you build a habit of budgeting enough time in your day to make sure you're arriving on time. This is where time management is also critical apart from applying it in your day-to-day tasks. Being late all the time delays others from getting work done because they always have to wait for you to show up.
How to improve work habits
Identifying personal bad habits takes a level of self-awareness not everyone has. Here are some tips on how you can improve your work habits:-
Identify your bad habits by asking for feedback from your manager and colleagues.
Take time out to reflect deeply
Start by making the most significant changes
Turn the negative to positive
Find a system that works for you
Leverage on tools to improve your workflow
You can start by managing your time and planning yourself better. Need some help prioritizing your day-to-day tasks? Here’s a helpful template you can customize. Download here.