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January 31st, 2012
6 Bad Habits in the Workplace

These are 6 bad habits in the workplace. Unfortunately, as employees, some of our bad habits find their ways into the office environment and sometimes they can be bad for us or our career advancement. 


6 Bad Habits in the Workplace

By Catherine Adenle

Let’s explore these 6 bad habits in the workplace. First, what do we mean by bad habits? Well, bad habits are learned behaviours that are repeated often by us. The more often it is repeated the stronger the habit sticks. Over time, it becomes automatic without us knowing. You do it without realizing it. One of the problems with bad habits is that we let them take control of us. You subconsciously think and act without even thinking of the consequences.

Frankly, we are all capable of committing a social faux pas once in a while, but bad habits are like thick smoke, you can’t cover them up!

Now let us delve into these 6 bad habits in the workplace exhibited by employees and how to break the bad habits.

These are the 6 bad habits in the workplace:

1. Speakerphone usage in an open office: It’s a bad habit to always leave your office door open and use your speakerphone. Close your door and do not disturb your colleagues. As well, using a speakerphone at full volume to go through your voice mailbox is the definition of annoying.

If you are in an open office, do not use a speakerphone; instead, book an office for your meetings. It’s also a bad habit to always leave your personal mobile phone to ring on loud volume in an open office. Checking your personal phone during a chat with anyone is another bad habit.

As well, don’t pop yourself against someone else’s cubicle, holding a conversation on your personal phone.

2. Complaining: We are bound to have a bad day once in a while at work. In fact, everyone has a bad day every once in a while.  However, if you always think every small problem means a bad day and you spend the rest of the day moaning at anyone and everyone who will listen, not only will you be viewed by your colleagues as a moaner but also as a negative person.

It will have a diminishing effect on your own energy. Negativity feeds on itself. If constant moaning doesn’t wear you down, your boss might start to think you would rather work somewhere else or feel better if you are relieved of your position.

3. Gossiping: We all enjoy a bit of gossip now and then but refrain or keep this to a minimum level. It’s always good to be in the loop of things in an office where wider communication is minimal but if you are perceived as being unable to keep anything confidential then inevitably this will affect your career progression.

If you keep passing on everything you heard about someone, the organization or your colleagues, then, you are asking for trouble.

See 11 Proven Ways to Demonstrate Your Value at Work

4. Eating strong smelling food: It’s ok to bring your lunch in and eat in the office but remember not to bring in any smelly food. You really don’t want to stink up the office especially if it’s winter and the windows aren’t opened. If you have to, then find a separate office or a free area to eat it.

See 7 Smart Ways to Get Ahead at the Office

Don’t microwave smelly food in the lunchroom either. In addition, if you can’t close your mouth when you chew, you are better off eating where the noise emanating from your mouth isn’t going to irritate anyone. Also, if you have to constantly belch loudly after drinking your can of Coke, find somewhere else to do this.

5. Music: If you are in an office where you are allowed to listen to music while you work, then using your Mp3 player or iPod with a pair of cheap, leaky earbud plugs is not cool! Why? Those near you might not be fans of your old Spice Girls’ tracks. Not only that, but your pirated bassless tin tunes might also be disturbing your colleagues sitting near your desk.

It is best to always turn the volume down or ask your colleagues if your earbud plugs are leaking.

See Top 40 Workplace Tips for Professionals

6. Hygiene: This is a major bad habit in the workplace. If you are not a fan of morning showers, baths, shower gels or soap, when you notice that your colleagues are constantly stepping away or moving away from you, it might be time for you to hit the shower hard! People are super polite so they might not tell you outright that you smell. Perhaps you may want to consider visiting the shower daily. In addition, constantly picking your nose in front of everyone is off-putting, don’t make it a habit.

If you wear the best and most expensive suit but have a terrible case of unkempt hair oozing dandruff flakes onto your shoulders or flying everywhere, you’ll give a bad impression. It, not a great look either if your shirt is soaking wet in your armpit areas, trust me, people see these things. As crazy as it sounds, everything on the grooming list – smell, clean teeth, facial hair, fingernails, haircuts and oral hygiene does matter.

As professionals, we have to be interested in the bad habit that we need to change. Unless we have the interest to change these bad habits, we would not.


So, think of your own bad habit, then think of alternatives to the bad habit you want to replace. Don’t give up before you start – people who tend to think they will fail usually give up before they are halfway through.

Go ahead and change that bad habit as from today!

See Tips for Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits

Know of another bad habit in the workplace? We are happy to hear from you. Add your comment below.

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

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2 thoughts on “6 Bad Habits in the Workplace

  1. Love this post! The wet armpit patches one is so true. One of my staff is a culprit. I nearly presented him with an antiperspirant for Christmas! Other bad habits are: swearing, whistling, singing, humming a tune, farting and chewing gum loudly in the office.

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