Five Bad Workplace Habits

By February 3, 2016HR Solutions
Five Bad Workplace Habits | HR Solutions

It’s Pancake Day on Tuesday, which means that for some people 40 days and nights of sacrifice starts on Wednesday.

If you’re struggling to think of what you can give up for Lent, maybe our list of bad workplace habits can help. Take a look below and see if there are any behaviours here that you might want to kick between now and Easter…

  1. Being Last In

You always make it to your desk by 9:00am, right? Except for those times when the traffic is bad. Or when you were halfway in and realised that you forgot something and had to go back. Or when your phone died and you slept clear through your readying time…

The fact is that in most workplaces it does not matter how many times you stay late, work through lunch or come in at the weekend. All these positives will be undone if your boss sees you as the last person at their desk every single morning. Make the effort to break that late habit for the next 40 days, even by just five minutes, and turn your reputation around.

  1. Sitting Down All Day

Sitting down at a desk all day is not just terrible for your stress levels – recent studies have also shown that it may in fact be killing you.

Extensive sitting has been linked to increased rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke or developing diabetes. This is something to do with the length of your telomeres, which you can find out more about here. Whether you can do more of your job standing up or just make sure that you take a healthy break away from your desk (and maybe even get outside to enjoy the Spring sunshine), sitting down all day is a habit that you might want to quit for good, not just until Easter.

  1. Doing the Easy Jobs First

“Eat a live frog in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”, said Mark Twain. We’re certainly not advocating a raw amphibian diet, but the underlying message is pretty useful to modern life. Most people find that they are at their most productive and alert from mid-morning to lunch. Use this time to tackle the biggest, most demanding tasks head-on and get them finished as quickly as possible.

Think optimisation rather than habit. Cut down the amount of times you check your emails to twice a day and only respond to the ones that need it. Set aside the desktop clean up for a slow afternoon when you can get it all done in one hit. Save the easy tasks for later and make sure that you save your mental energy and sharpness for the tasks that need it the most. Your productivity will boom.

  1. Keeping a Messy Desk

Sure, you might be a creative person. You’re also completely on top of your time management and your next desk tidy up is scheduled for Friday at 4:45pm sharp. You’re on it.

But still, do you know how your colleagues might perceive your cluttered workspace?

A study of HR managers asked how the tidiness of someone’s desk affects their perception of that person’s professionalism. Nearly one in five (18%) found that their perception was ‘greatly’ affected, whilst 65% said that it would be ‘somewhat’ affected. So that’s 83% of your management level colleagues who are judging you, even just a little, by the pile of papers, doodles and takeaway menus sitting between you and your desk. Undertake a spring clean and boost your credibility straight away.

  1. Avoiding HR

From Junior to Director level, HR is here to help. Whether you’re a new starter with feedback on the induction process or a seasoned manager considering potentially risky staff moves, make sure that you liaise with your HR team from the start.

Whilst working your way up the chain, particularly in a larger business, it can be a good idea to get to know your HR team and find out about the ins and outs of the company as well as any opportunities that may come your way. If you’re already managing staff it’s worth liaising with HR to make sure that you are treating them fairly and with due process. From updating the fire exit map to managing the disciplinary process, HR are there to help protect both you and the business.

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Every workplace has its own negative behaviours and habits that could do with coming to an end. Cutting out the examples above could make you healthier, more productive, and more professional.


If your business needs HR help, look no further than HR Solutions. Give us a call on 0844 324 5840 or contact us online to find out more.

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