There’s no steadfast code of conduct for the workplace, nor is there any rule that you have to be BFFs with your coworkers. However, there’s a certain level of decorum you should uphold no matter where you work. You might not realize it, but some of your habits could be falling below that bar.
Want to know which 29 workplace habits people tend to find the most off-putting? Here they are, explained in the most constructive way possible. Read up and make the change if you see yourself anywhere on this list.
Even if you believe you do your finest work at the final hour, don’t. This is especially true if you’re collaborating: Your colleagues shouldn’t have to race the clock just because you’ve chosen to do so. Instead, give yourself plenty of time so everyone can come together and smooth out any issues well within a deadline.
2. Tech-Based Tardiness
It’s 2017: We’re all on our phones and computers just about 24/7. That means you should respond to emails in a timely manner. A 2013 study showed that 55 percent of people reply to work emails within 30 minutes, and 53 percent expect a response to a work email within an hour or less. A general rule of thumb is to try to respond within a day. Even if you’re working on finding an answer, tell the person you’re on it so they know they’re not being ignored.
3. Traditional Tardiness
If you have a strict clock-in, clock-out schedule, it’s your responsibility to stick to it. Those few minutes you’re late require your coworkers to step up and do extra work for which they won’t be paid extra. You can surely see how that gets frustrating after a while.
4. Misspelling Common Words
We all make mistakes, but there are some grammatical errors your colleagues probably see as unforgivable. There/their/they’re? Your/you’re? Master the most common mistakes and you’ll be sure to please your coworkers, not peeve them.
5. Faking Sick
The only person who can pull this off and still be well-loved is Ferris Bueller. Otherwise, you’re putting strain on your colleagues because you wanted an unscheduled break.
6. Spouting Doubt
A negative attitude will get you attention in the workplace, but not the type you want to garner. If you’re known for being the person who feels incapable or skeptical about every new change and project, you won’t be asked. In other words, you won’t be given as many opportunities to work harder and move up if you make it clear you don’t believe in the project — or in yourself.
The break room is a sacred place. You can escape your desk for a meal, snack or cup of coffee with your workplace BFF. In other words, it has good vibes and should be kept in good order by everyone. Leaving a mess on the counter, in the sink or in the microwave won’t make you any friends.
And if you’re in an open office, don’t let your desk get messy, either. No one wants your mess creeping into their area or distracting them from work.
8. Being Too Honest
It’s an oft-repeated piece of advice, but it remains true: Think before you speak. Criticizing another person’s opinion or accidentally cursing, for example, might rub your coworkers the wrong way. If you tend to put your foot in your mouth, pause before you say something that could even be the slightest bit controversial.
9. Logging Into Social Media
While everyone is working hard, you shouldn’t be scrolling Facebook or tweeting or liking pics on Instagram — you should be working, too. Even if you think you’re being subtle, others will soon pick up that you’re not pulling your weight. If you feel the impulse to check it that regularly, you might want to consider breaking your social media addiction sooner rather than later – or at least keeping your phone in your purse during work hours.
There’s nothing more frustrating than speaking at a meeting or asking someone a question and realizing that he or she isn’t paying attention at all. If you find yourself daydreaming at the office — especially while someone is talking — snap out of it ASAP!
11. Meeting on Your Schedule
Things happen. You won’t always walk into a scheduled meeting early or at its exact start time. However, making a reputation for yourself as the person who is always late for meetings is obviously not a good reputation to have. Often, it translates to disrespect for the people who scheduled the meeting.
12. Unleashing Your Temper
It’s no surprise work can be stressful, which is why it’s good practice to minimize your day-to-day stress in as many ways as you possibly can. That way, your emotions won’t get the better of you in a way that’s completely unprofessional and unbecoming. No one likes tantrums, especially when they come from grownups in the workplace.
13. Keeping Completely to Yourself
As previously mentioned, you don’t have to be best friends with your coworkers — but it’s expected that you approach everyone with an open, cheerful demeanor. In other words, avoiding every team dinner or work holiday party won’t give you the opportunity to build relationships and foster camaraderie with your team.
14. Getting Too Involved in Politics
You can’t always control workplace drama. In fact, it’s bound to happen from time to time. If you’re regularly finding yourself in the middle of it all, everyone’s going to notice that position and consider you to be the pot-stirrer. Not a good look!
15. Questioning Everything
We talked about negativity and doubt already, but this one’s a bit different. You don’t want to be the person who asks repetitive questions at every meeting or with every new assignment. If you find your hand shooting in the air over and over again, try bottling it up at your next meeting. Let the information process and, if you have questions later, send them to the person in charge in a succinct email. That will save everyone time and put you back in everyone’s good graces.
16. Interrupting Someone
Even in a collaborative environment, cutting off the person who is speaking is simply rude. This is especially bad practice if the person you’re cutting off is in charge. Bite your tongue until the floor is open to comments, questions and concerns.
17. Breaking Again, and Again and Again
It would be wild to think a boss would expect you to sit at your desk from 9 to 5 without any sort of respite. It would also be wild to think you have the right to take breaks every hour or every half-hour. Find a happy medium to where you’re boosting your productivity with breaks and not detracting from it.
You should always be proud of your accomplishments, and your team will certainly be happy if you’re achieving highly. Your hard work benefits everyone in the end. You shouldn’t be bragging about all you’ve achieved, though, especially if you’re doing so with an air of superiority. It’s not going to endear you to anyone.
19. Knowing Everything
In a similar vein, you don’t want to become known as a know-it-all. You should always feel comfortable sharing your opinions or suggestions, but know when you’re being helpful and when you’re crossing the line into that I’m-smarter-than-you territory.
20. Appearing Unprofessional
Some workplaces allow you to dress casually, so in that case, no worries. On the other hand, professional environments require you to look a certain way, plain and simple. It seems to others that you don’t care if you don’t adhere to the dress code everyone else follows, and it makes you look unprofessional, to boot.
21. Getting Too Personal
Do you go into great detail about your latest blind-date fail? Have you told a colleague the details of your divorce? Do you gab on the phone about these types of things at your desk for all to hear? If you’ve answered yes to the above, you’re getting way too personal with your colleagues. Keep your personal life personal! You’re supposed to be talking about work-related subjects, anyway.
22. Chatting in the Bathroom
This is an odd habit to bring to the workplace, and it’s one your colleagues will certainly find weird. It’s nice to say hello if you’re next to someone at the sinks, but holding a conversation between stalls is intrusive of your coworkers’ private time.
23. Beautifying at the Office
If you’re running so late you don’t have time to do your makeup, bad news: You can’t bring it to your desk and finish it. It’s an activity that has absolutely nothing to do with work — your boss won’t want to pay you for that. Instead, wake up earlier so you have time to do it or adopt a quicker makeup routine so you can finish in time.
24. Selling From Your Desk
There’s nothing wrong with a side hustle, but you should never bring it into the office. Your coworkers might feel awkward or obligated to buy something, especially if you’re a manager. This might not apply to Girl Scout Cookies, though — lots of people will want to buy them from your kiddos!
25. Being a Noisy Neighbor
You’re certainly not expected to sit silently in your cubicle or at your desk all day long, but you should also be mindful of how much noise you make. Turn your headphones down to a reasonable volume, and make sure your conversations with cube-mates aren’t too loud, either. The same goes for habits you have that might make noise. Popping and chewing gum or crunchy snacks is a definite no-no activity that coworkers will certainly not appreciate.
26. Encroaching on Others’ Space
The edge of your desk is the edge of your desk, plain and simple. Working in close proximity with others means you have to respect these borders. If you choose to spread out in a communal space, such as a conference room, don’t overstay your welcome. Others might want to be afforded the same spacious luxury.
27. Mislabeling Emails
What do you do when a message is urgent? You probably mark it as such, and rightly so. It’s up to you to never abuse that power, or else your coworkers will see you as the email-sender-that-cried-wolf. In other words, they won’t be hustling to respond.
28. Commenting on Another’s Appearance
In the office, these types of statements are better left unsaid. You should already know not to make critiques of another person’s look. The same can even be said for unwanted compliments. Save them for your close friends or your work friends who know you are nothing but genuine.
29. Exhibiting Nervous Habits
Whether you bite your nails or twirl your hair, say umm or sway from side to side while you talk, your nervous habits are noticeable. Especially if you’re in the spotlight at a meeting, be mindful of your presentation skills and try turning these instincts off. Your coworkers will hear what you have to say instead of focusing on the thing you’re doing over, and over and over.
What habits drive you crazy? Share your coworker pet peeves and stories in the comments!
Want to keep up with all of our work-related tips, advice and how-tos? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and you won’t miss a beat!
Get everything you need to build a career you love by signing up for the newsletter.
Latest posts by Sarah Landrum (see all)
- How to Make Pumping at Work Suck Less - March 15, 2018
- 13 Easy Ways to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and Grow - March 8, 2018
- How to Build a Better Network Using Emotional Intelligence - March 6, 2018