Career Advice

Break These 5 Bad Office Habits

The office might feel like home, but it’s not. You’re still expected to be professional and respect the space of your colleagues.

Here are five bad office habits you need to avoid.

1. Office supply hoarding.

Just stop. Your office space is collecting piles and people are starting to notice.

Whether it helps you cope with stress or keeps you busy, having 35 pens, 10 notebooks and two jars of paper clips is unnecessary. Not to mention you are keeping these useful supplies from other co-workers.

Even if some of these supplies are hidden in your desk and out of sight, it’s still a bad office habit you need to break.

If your boss is dropping subtle hints by sending out an office-wide email telling employees to clean up their workspace, it’s time to evaluate this behavior and fix it.

2. Sneezing all over the office.

We get it — you have deadlines to meet and you are trying to save your PTO for vacation next month.

But, no one wants to use their hard-earned vacation time because of a little cold.

When you’re exposing everyone to your germs, it’s unproductive to the well-being of the office. You could get others sick and cause them to have to use some PTO hours as well.

As long as it doesn’t become a bad office habit, don’t be afraid to chat with your manager and let them know your concern about using a sick day. Trust that your colleagues will thank you for it.

Also, mention that you would be willing to work from home on days when you are feeling ill without taking a sick day. Express your concern of infecting people, but that you will still be able to get some work done.

3. Depressing playlists.

It’s time to move on from Adele’s latest album and find something a little more upbeat.

The people who work around you want to hear positive upbeat music that promotes a positive attitude and a productive office habit.

And if you decide to play your music out loud, discuss with your team what type of songs they enjoy. Doing so can save everyone the headache of a terrible playlist and an awkward conversation.

4. Spamming your team’s inbox.

A survey by Adobe Systems reported that nine in 10 workers say they look at business emails outside of working hours. But, this doesn’t mean it’s OK to blow up their inbox with every idea and project update.

And while the occasional dog meme is fun to share, don’t let that become your office nickname.

That’s Joe. He’s the guy who constantly sends us dog humor.

Not everyone finds these emails entertaining, so use your time, and your team’s time, appropriately.

5. Playing gossip girl with TMI Tina.

Everyone is starting to notice that Tina spends a lot of her time in your office chatting about her personal business. You both ramble on about your latest breakup, how you went out last night and overdid it on wine, and so on.

On top of that, you’re both guilty of criticizing your co-worker’s outfits, hair and other personal aspects. Avoid being associated with this type of gossipy behavior because it’s unprofessional and downright rude.

What’s worse, you could lose your job over harassment or lose out on a promotion.

The walls are very thin at the office. Be careful what you say. Especially if they see you wasting time. Gossiping is not something worth losing your job over, so nix that bad habit.


Do you work with someone with horrible office habits? If you’re thinking about moving on and finding a new job, start your search on Glassdoor.