Bad business habits you need to break

We all fall into bad habits from time to time, often without realizing it – unless you have especially candid coworkers and friends. Let’s save aside the more extreme cases that routinely get mentioned; often these aren’t habits at all, but rather conscious choices to be a terrible employee. For the record, though, don’t put in 3-hour days, trash your employer on your I Hate My Boss Tumblr or spitefully steal staplers from the supply closet.

Here are a few common bad habits that float around workplaces like the flu. Are you guilty? I’ll admit my own guilt as we go along.

Thinking you’re the world’s greatest multitasker

Almost everyone fancies themselves an able multitasker, but hardly anyone is as good at multitasking as they think. If you have three big things to do today, you’re better off devoting time to each of them individually – and then checking your email – instead of trying to be a circus juggler.

Not sleeping enough

You don’t need to be passed out at your desk like our stock photo friend to be guilty of this one. Some of the hardest workers in your office are probably overcaffeinated insomniacs. Eventually, though, those lost hours will take off a little of your edge. Related: if anyone knows of any magic potions to keep a toddler sleeping, please leave a comment below.

Taking everything personally

Passion for your work is fantastic, but don’t become so attached to your PowerPoint deck that you start tipping over desks when a colleague cuts a few slides or tweaks your text.

Demanding to be in the loop when you don’t need to be in the loop

We talk a lot about breaking down traditional barriers to collaboration in the age of T-shaped talent. Even so, you don’t need to be in every meeting. Don’t be a slave to FOMO. (Sidenote: this also applies to people who feel the need to insert themselves into the conversation every time they hear laughter across the office.)

Naysaying everything

No one likes a killjoy, and your criticisms – incisive though they may be – lose weight once you’re perceived as a constant thorn in the side. On a similar note…

Yes-manning everything

Let’s be honest: everyone likes a yes-man, at least for a little while, at least when we’re the ones receiving the “yes!” Eventually, though, the yes-man’s praise rings hollow or, worse, manipulative.

Expecting your boss to be a mind reader

At some point in your professional life, you’ll probably experience a frustration or two. Don’t expect your boss to intuitively know that you are feeling undervalued or overworked. If you have a great idea or suggestion, don’t always wait for it to be solicited. If you have limited access to your supervisor for whatever reason, be prepared and prioritized so you can maximize your access.


Just because you’re analyzing a question from a dozen different angles doesn’t mean you need to treat the questioner to a guided tour of all those angles. (Full disclosure: I do this sometimes.) Give crisp, concise answers when you can – or don’t be afraid to say “Let me get back to you.”

Empowering strategic synergy

Don’t be the winner of buzzword bingo.

Poor digital etiquette

The immediacy and filter-free nature of modern communication caused a renaissance of rudeness. I have a lot of experience working remotely – in many cases with coworkers I never met in person – and a little civility can go a LONG way. In a few cases, it impacted my likelihood of hiring someone again. Remember that tone doesn’t always translate, so be careful with sarcasm when you don’t know your audience.

Not buying enough donuts

We get our share of free food at Central Desktop HQ. If that’s not the case at your company, here’s a handy reminder: “Remember to regularly reward your entire staff. A couple dozen donuts is a pittance compared to what you’ll get back in return.”

Don’t worry: we’re not abandoning you here. We’ve also taken a look at HOW to break bad habits at your workplace.

Post by Adam McKibbin

Adam McKibbin is the content marketing manager for iMeet Central. His writing has been featured in Adweek, the Chicago Tribune and The Nation, and he’s produced content for some of the leading tech brands on the Fortune 500.