This article was written by freelancer Natasha Moore

A habit can be a blessing or a curse, after all if you habitually eat your five a day, that’s a good thing, right? But what if the work place brings out the very best of your  worst habits? There are a whole heap of habits which could actually be holding you back and sending your productivity (and likability) on a downward spiral, and you might not even know it. Read on to find out what bad work habits you need to break…

Bad habit #1: Complaining to colleagues

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Problem – Pouring your heart out to your mother on how you had to photocopy one too many newsletters together for your boss is acceptable, but should you really be expressing your annoyance to the work colleague who’s written them? It’s important to choose who you moan to, wisely, and what about.

Solution – Perhaps sit down with your boss and tell them how you feel directly instead of having them find out about how dissatisfied you are through colleagues. This way information will be less likely to be misinterpreted and you’ll probably find your problems will get resolved faster.

Bad habit #2: Too many tea-breaks

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Problem – Ah the oldest trick in the book; be a top procrastinator by making yourself a cuppa after cuppa. As beneficial as tea-breaks are to your concentration, too many can result in a decrease in productivity and annoy your boss in the process. “Oh but it’s only five minutes” you tell yourself, yeah but five minutes in every hour of the working day adds up and could be the difference between you meeting deadlines or not meeting your rent…

Solution – Schedule tea breaks instead of spontaneously leaving the desk when terror strikes (i.e. you get your millionth email of the day) and go whenever your colleagues go – there’s safety in groups and that is less likely to annoy your boss. Bad habit #2:

Bad habit #3: Terrible time management

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Problem - Time waits for no man, we all know that. But that doesn’t mean we should allow it to slip from our grips every second of the day. In the workplace, where tasks may spontaneously arise, being good at managing your own time is essential. If you delay on tasks and your co-workers start to notice, it could prevent you from getting that promotion after all…

Solution – Don’t bite off more than you can chew if you struggle with timing. Tell your boss if you’re really struggling to manage things as there’s nothing wrong with being honest, but also ensure you get better at prioritising. If tasks are lengthy or challenging, make a ranked list in order of urgency. This will prove beneficial in getting work done on time.

Bad habit #4: Never socialising with colleagues

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Problem – Speaking to colleagues about more than just work issues is useful for all kinds of reasons. Taking the time to socialise with the people you see for 40 hours a week will help make the workplace more enjoyable and will work in your favour when you need a reference or promotion, obvs.

Solution – Most of the time we exaggerate the fear in our own head; “they won’t like me, they’re intimidating” you might think, when all it really takes is to break the ice is a few questions about their weekend and an offer of a tea or coffee now and again. After that, you’re basically bezzas! If you struggle with branching out, try setting yourself the challenge of chatting to one new person in the office each month.

Bad habit #5: Over-sharing in the office

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Problem – If you don’t know where the line is when it comes to speaking about personal things you need to learn ASAP because you could be making the office awks for everyone. Not everyone wants to hear about your Tinder dates so remember  there’s a time and a place for discussing personal stuff at work. Only share if you’re particularly close with someone, or if you’re in a more relaxed environment i.e. the Christmas party.

Solution – Choose your confidants wisely, perhaps your closest workmate but not the entire workforce! No one should have to face personal problems alone and if you need assistance with a work-related issue, think about contacting HR. On the other hand you’re just saying personal stuff with zero awareness of your environment and you notice that people are becoming a bit…weirded out, you need to be conscious of where you are and save the personal stories for mates only.

Bad habit #6: Sloppy emails

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Problem – If you struggle with forming emails that don’t contain typos, perhaps it’s time to whip out the old dictionary. I’m by no means an English scholar but like many others, I’ve got pet peeves in relation to badly written emails – and your boss probably will too! Getting someone’s name wrong is a no-no; it shows you haven’t taken the time to check things and insinuates you’re not very conscientious.

Solution – Read and check before sending! Pressing send too quickly is forgiven once or twice but if you keep calling someone Jon when their name is Jan, or your writing is full of misspelt words, people will start to think you don’t take pride in your work. And you won’t be on their employee of the month radar…

Bad habit #7: Speaking without thinking

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Problem – You’re constantly blurting your opinion when it’s not needed; you’ve got in trouble for speaking out of turn to your co-worker; you can’t stop piping up…and people are starting to be irritated by it.

Solution – Count to ten before blurting out something you may later regret. Ask your boss for feedback on your work-style if you’re not sure whether your comments are going down well; you might not want to hear it but it could stop you from putting your foot in it next time…

Bad habit #8: Being late all the time


Problem – Not being punctual can infer that you don’t care about your role and make you look sloppy and disorganised. Being late for work is NEVER good. If it were, then why would the company even bother to set you start times?

Solution – Put the effort in to wake up at the right time and research the best travel routes in advance to avoid obstacles in the morning. Being late for work can be easily avoided and can leave a lasting negative impression if not resolved.

Bad habit #9: Getting distracted easily

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Problem – You’ve always got a million tabs open; one is a podcast from a guy who rescues dolphins, another is the weather forecast in Spain and your work is buried somewhere deep, deep within the mess. You think. If you’re making the problem of doing actual work worse because you have several distractions going on in the background, this could have a knock-on effect on your productivity in the long-term.

Solution – Schedule time to look at fun stuff i.e. your break. Read the articles, listen to the podcasts, but maybe just not when you’re supposed to be reading those reports because before you know it, it’s the end of the day and you have to stay late.

So, I’ve just told you how to live your life, a bit rich coming from someone who may have written this piece at work (just kidding), I hope you realise bad habits can change. You can do this; that promotion might just have your name on it…


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