How to Break These 13 Bad Work Habits That Make You Look Unprofessional

Office supplies that are quirky, work emails written in Comic Sans, holiday decorations that are over the top. According to Alison Green, business-management consultant, these are only a few of the workplace habits employees wonder about frequently, especially after a pandemic. Although some of these issues aren’t a big deal (use your Pokémon mouse with pride! ), some bad work habits definitely raise questions about your professionalism.

This is not only about pleasing your boss or conveying a certain image to avoid being portrayed as a quiet quitter. Furthermore, Green says, replacing bad work habits with good ones will make you a better coworker, more productive, and more fulfilled at work. Getting promoted requires learning etiquette rules, which is an important job skill.

Have you made any mistakes in the workplace? Scroll through to determine what habits to tweak or ditch.

Avoiding Sick Days At All Costs

The office culture is dysfunctional in that people feel like slackers if they take sick days and are under pressure to come in regardless of how they feel. In these days, however, especially after the pandemic, that culture is changing. You won’t be spreading germs and could potentially take out half of the office by coming into the office and “powering through.” Do you work from home? It’s professional to stay home and rest when you’re ill. More bosses are beginning to realize that working while sick often leads to more errors or less productive days.

What to do? If you’re emailing your doctor about your sick days, follow proper email etiquette, says Green. Don’t feel like you need to “prove” your illness. Saying you have a cold or feeling unwell is fine, says Green.

Sending Important Information Via Text Or Messaging

If you need to confirm a meeting time, text is fine. If you need to update your work status, Slack or Teams are great. However, Green recommends speaking and writing, such as email, for more complex information. As you lose facial expressions, tone, context and nuance, text and chat can be misinterpreted. They’re also difficult to document, and they are more prone to miscommunication.

What to do? To make sure everything was adequately communicated, send a follow-up email after an in-depth text or chat conversation.

The Lack Of A Proper Work Space

Having a tidy, organized desk with a few personal touches is a good middle ground, says career coach Penelope Trunk. Don’t decorate your workplace like a dorm, but don’t make it bare either, she says. Plus, you probably put in long hours at work, so why not make it a place you enjoy? It makes you look like a person with a life but also takes their job seriously.

What to do? Whether it’s your family, dog or favorite hobby, display something that makes you happy and doubles as a conversation starter. When you’re working from home, you should keep your office space tidy—and keep clutter out of sight during video calls. A messy desk might mean you’re a genius, but keep your office space as clean as possible.

Dressing Inappropriately

Since the pandemic began, the concept of “work appropriate” has changed greatly for many companies. For example, jeans and more casual tops might be okay, whether you’re working at home or in the office. Also, you can wear your yoga pants or shorts on Zoom calls, and no one will know! Trunk recommends following the dress code at your workplace, whether or not it is official, if professionalism is your goal. Nowadays, most workplaces have a “business casual” dress code, which is pretty much what you’d expect from a fashion model rather than neat, tidy, clean and put-together.

What to do? You’re better off overdressing than underdressing if you’re unsure what to wear.

Giving Excuses

It is always best to be straightforward and honest, even if it feels difficult at the moment, says Green. If you are unable to do something or make a mistake, just admit it. While you may think you are trying to avoid negative consequences or please the other person, others will generally see through your excuses, which makes you appear irresponsible and unprofessional.

What to do? If you make a mistake, then acknowledge it and move forward. On the other hand, don’t apologize if you don’t need to.

Rumors And Gossip

Green says that gossip makes you look untrustworthy, immature and unprofessional, and talking poorly about another individual at work makes you look untrustworthy, immature and unprofessional. You never know who may be listening in the break room even when you think you’re speaking privately and confidentially. It doesn’t matter if the person is one of your work friends, you never know who will hear your juicy gossip. The risk of goingssiping via text or chat is extra high, since a screenshot can have embarrassing or even career-ending consequences.

What to do? The best way to build trust with your coworkers is to never say, text, or chat anything behind their back that you wouldn’t say in front of them.

Taking Too Long To Respond To Communications

Keep an eye on your work communication throughout the day, even if it’s frustrating to constantly check your emails, voicemails, or Slack messages. A lot of people forget to reply their emails or take days to reply. Trunk says responding quickly shows you’re dependable and accessible. It’ll also help you: Cluttered inboxes cause mental stress, so clearing yours will make you feel less stressed.

What to do? It’s a good idea to set aside uninterrupted work time, and to respond to email in chunks when your time is up. This will help you focus, let your coworkers know that you are busy, and allow you to handle your emails efficiently. It’s important to plan your time productively, not haphazardly.

Also Read: We Are Influenced By People Around Us In Many Ways, From Our Thoughts To Our Clothes

Keep Checking Your Phone All The Time

The fact that you look at your phone every time a notification is a sign you’re not paying attention to the person in front of you. Even if you think you can multitask, Trunk says that it looks rude and unprofessional to your coworkers to split your attention. Since your coworkers can’t tell whether you’re checking your emails or social media, this applies even if you’re checking your work-related emails on your phone. Keep your phone away from your work desk when you’re on the clock by not taking personal calls, texting, or scrolling.

What to do? Keep your phone on silent during the rest of the time, and check it only during specific times. Worried about emergencies? Your phone has a breakthrough call setting.

Avoiding All Work Happy Hours

Maintaining positive relationships with your coworkers benefits everyone, regardless of whether you are best friends. Attending happy hours, birthday celebrations in the break room, retirement parties, and family barbecues is an integral part of building these relationships. It is not necessary that you be a social butterfly, but you should make eye contact and greet co-workers when passing by, as well as learn a few basics about their lives without intruding.

What to do? Here are a few simple tips to help you overcome anxiety in social situations if you’re among them.

Late For Work

In spite of most people being reasonable and understanding these situations, being late for work can be a bad reflection on you if it happens frequently. You are not only unprofessional and disrespectful if you are chronically late, but it also affects others and their ability to do their jobs. Trunk says that being chronically late implies that your time is more valuable than theirs.

What to do? Managing other seemingly unrelated aspects of your life can also help you turn things around. Time-management tips that work. While you’ll obviously need to build some buffer time into your morning commute, you can also manage other seemingly unrelated aspects of your life.

Having Gross Eating Habits

If you have poor hygiene or poor manners while eating, you bring in stinky food, you leave old food in the refrigerator, you eat other people’s food, or you complain about food—you can go on and on. It is clear from Green’s Ask a Manager site that your food habits can make you appear unprofessional and irritate your co-workers in almost any way. Keeping others’ needs and sensibilities in mind is the solution, she says, not having perfect manners.

What to do? Taking a break for lunch is a great way to give yourself a well-deserved break. If you can’t help yourself, take a break during lunch.

Taking All The Credit

Green suggests being generous with praise and gratitude if you had assistance on your project. It builds goodwill, makes you appear to be a team player, and may make others less likely to collaborate with you in the future.

What to do? Using “we” instead of “I” in project discussions is an easy way to show you care. But even stronger is acknowledging some of the help you’ve received along the way, whether in emails or in chats. After all, it is teamwork that makes everything possible.

Regularly Leaving Work Early

Once in a while, leaving work early isn’t a big deal, but when it becomes a habit, it negatively impacts your career and makes you look bad. It doesn’t matter if you come in earlier or do extra work from home, Trunk says. Although it seems ridiculous to think it’s all about appearances, sometimes that’s the case, especially when everyone else works regular hours and needs to reach you. Being considerate will ensure that others do not have to pick up the burden.

What to do? Considering leaving early on a regular basis is a good idea if you need to pick up your child from day care every Friday, so speak to your boss about it. Check out these golden rules for being a great boss if you’re the boss. It should be hammered out in advance, not sprung on your team or not acknowledged at all.

Also Read: Having A Late Lunch Every Day Can Lead To The Following 5 Disadvantages

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