Are Bad Habits Holding You Back at Work?

We’ve all been stuck working with someone with bad work habits – someone who can turn a healthy, happy, productive environment into one that is unfriendly, unproductive or even unsafe. It’s usually easy to spot the offender and sigh to ourselves or complain to our colleagues. But what about our own bad habits and negative energy that we unknowingly bring into the office every day? The truth is, sometimes we sabotage our own success because we don’t acknowledge our own less-than-desirable traits, or because we’re unhappy with where we’re at and fearful about making a change. Here are four bad work habits that may indicate it’s time for you to take a deeper look at your motivations, intentions and happiness on the job. 


Some people just have a habit of being late to everything and can’t get anywhere on time. Not only can this affect the productivity of your team, but it also sends a message to your staff and colleagues that their time isn’t as valuable as yours. If you’re chronically late, it might worth looking inward and seeing if there’s an underlying, subconscious reason for your procrastination. Ask yourself if your heart is in the right place: Do you love the work you’re doing – not just tolerate it, but actually look forward to it? Do you enjoy the people you’re working with? If it is, then consider investing in a time management system or better day planner. 

Treating all time off the same. 

This is easy to do since the new workplace trend is to make all accumulated days off the same. Sick days, personal days and vacation days are lumped together – you just have a set number of days off and it is up to you how you take them. One problem with this system is that too many people just take off whenever they feel like it, and before they know it all their days off are gone. Or, the complete opposite: They save all their days for an emergency or illness and then find they’re not able to roll over all their leftover time into the new year. (Worse still, these people also experience the negative health impacts of not taking time away from the office.) Strive for a balance: Bank a few days for the inevitable sick day, but also plan some vacation and personal days. Bonus: planning a vacation in the future that you can look forward to has a ton of health and happiness benefits!


Even though we’re all working more virtually and digitally than ever before, we’re still often responsible for processing our expense reports, departmental budgets, mileage records, jobsite reports and more. But after a long day of supporting clients and running our businesses and lives, sometimes the last thing we want to do is enter receipts and submit paperwork. Even though we know how vital these documents are to business running smooth and seamlessly, it can still feel like a real chore. (I know a few individuals who’ve actually took so long to submit their expense reports that their paychecks were docked.) Fortunately, there are more solutions than ever to help us all. Virtual assistants, online software, receipt scanners and more are available and usually extremely cost-effective. Save time, save your sanity and get the work done. Win-win!

Cluttered workspaces.

For most people, organized work spaces help promote productivity. However, like processing paperwork, keeping desks and offices neat can feel like busywork at the end of a long day. But there are risks too – lost paperwork, missing tools, coffee spilling all over an important presentation and more. (We’ve all been there.) Sometimes it takes booking an entire day and dedicating it to organizing, streamlining and cleaning out your workspace – but the benefits can be feeling clear, focused and ready for whatever comes your way. And who wouldn’t like that feeling to start their day?

The way you work and the success you feel as a result of your work is directly impacted by your habits. Taking some time to reflect on how you want to show up at work (and in life!) allows you to infuse your own style, goals and intentions into everything you do.

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