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By The Numbers

Workplace Survey, Findings

1.Workers are struggling to work effectively. 

When focus is compromised in pursuit of Collaboration, neither works well.

2. Effective workplaces balance focus and collaboration. 

Workplaces designed to enable collaboration without sacrificing employees’ ability to focus are more successful.

3. Choice drives performance and innovation. 

Employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work are seen as more innovative and have higher-performing employees.

 

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SEVEN BAD HABITS TO AVOID AT THE WORKPLACE

Bad habits at work can lead to isolation or exclusion, which can affect everything from your performance evaluation to your ability to do your job.

“A single bad habit is not likely to get you fired immediately, but the cumulative effect of the bad habit over time can,” says Dr. Katharine Brooks, director of Liberal Arts Career Services at The University of Texas at Austin and author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. “People might notice one bad habit, and it preps them to notice other faults or problems.”

 Rick Myers, the founder and CEO of Talent Zoo, a site for marketing, advertising, and digital professionals, agrees that bad habits can destroy one’s career—but he says the “most unfortunate part is that people rarely realize they have these habits.” Here are seven bad habits to avoid in the workplace:

1. Dishonesty

“The surest way for any of us to bring our career to a sudden and miserable end is to have the habit of hedging the truth and lying in ways small and large,” says Ann Kaiser Stearns, Ph.D., psychologist and best-selling author of Living Through Personal Crisis. “Dishonesty is a slippery slope with a devastating crash waiting at the end,” she adds. “Whether we work in business or banking, academia or the army, publishing or philanthropy, housing or health care, the marketplace or the ministry, if we lack integrity and betray our employer, we don't deserve to keep our jobs.”

2. Negativity.

So many of us habitually gossip, whine or complain. But do any of these too often and your job could be on the line. “These all lead to the same end result: you will become a headache for your manager,” says Amy Hoover, president of Talent Zoo. “Your boss is likely responsible for ensuring her teams are contributing to positive morale and anyone on the team who is counterproductive to that reflects poorly on her," she adds. "Negative employees are often referred to as 'cancer' by upper management for good reason: they will eventually be cut out.” A good approach if you have a complaint is to speak with your manager directly, in private.  Never drum up your co-workers for support first.

3. Procrastination.  

“This habit can seriously hurt you in a work setting,” Dr. Brooks says.  “If you’re one of those folks who believes that you do your best work at the last minute and put off projects or assignments until the day (or hour) before they’re due, you may not be aware of the impact your habit is having on your co-workers.”  If your last-minute rush requires others to work quickly, you will likely anger them, and you’ll be the first one blamed when a project fails or isn’t completed on time.

4. Unpunctuality.

If you constantly arrive late to work, or return late from breaks, it displays an attitude of complacency and carelessness, says Roxanne Peplow, business career program instructor and student services advisor at Computer Systems Institute. “So be prompt or even a bit early to show that you are time conscious and that you do care about your job and other people’s time, as well.”

Hoover agrees. “Whether you intend to or not, arriving late shows disrespect to the social contract of the office place, as well as your co-workers who do make an effort to arrive one time.”

5. Social media addiction.

Another common path to job loss is the habitual obsession that many employees have with social media, Dr. Stearns says. “If you said going on Facebook 20 times a day doesn’t interfere with your work, you'd be lying.” Some companies have taken measures to monitor or limit their employees’ social media use, while others have blocked these sites completely. So beware: spending too much time on social media or other websites not related to your work can cost you your job.

6. Bad body language

Do you routinely roll your eyes? Do you have a weak handshake? Do you avoid making eye contact? These could all be career killers. “People must understand that actions speak louder than words,” Peplow says. “And the majority of our communication is done through non-verbal cues.” Co-workers, managers or clients may perceive some of your non-verbal communication habits as rude or unprofessional—and these things could eventually have a significant impact on the advancement of your career.

 

7. Inconsideration

 

If you’re always distracted—a bad habit that plenty of employees possess—you might fail to properly assess the culture of the workplace, which can be damaging to your career.  “Each workplace has its own culture and style, whether it’s the official or unofficial dress code, the social atmosphere, or the official and unofficial hierarchy,” Brooks says. “Failure to observe the culture and fit in can create tension or mark you as different, and potentially less desirable.”

 

You’ll also want to be aware of personal habits that might be offensive or distracting to co-workers. “Working in an office setting demands that you be sensitive to co-workers and not behave in a manner which distracts them from their work or makes their work setting uncomfortable,” she adds. “This can run the range from body odor, bringing strong-smelling food to your cubicle, playing music too loudly, telling inappropriate jokes, or using your speaker-phone to make calls.”

 

These are just a few bad habits that can cause you to be fired, turned down for a job offer, or looked over for that promotion, Peplow says. “Take a look at yourself and ask others about your habits.” And if you do receive any feedback, take it seriously, Brooks adds. “Try to listen to the concern, and take some time to own it without defensively dismissing it.”