13 Unprofessional Work Habits That Make Your Coworkers Hate You

Everyone has bad habits at work, from being late to uttering not-so-work-appropriate jokes and remarks. But whether you realize it or not, these habits could be driving your colleagues, the HR department, and even your supervisor crazy – especially when these things have been happening all the time.

You might be someone’s pet peeve, and you’re unaware of it. It’s not only annoying – it’s unprofessional too.

No matter how casual or laidback your workplace culture is, some habits are just unacceptable. For everyone’s sake, take a moment to read the following office faux pas which may get on someone’s nerves – you might be committing a few of them and it needs to stop.

Constantly making a “grand entrance”

Are you guilty of always being the last one to arrive in your office? We’ve all been there. Occasional 5-minute tardiness due to a broken train is understandable – but every day “grand entrances” aren’t.

Showing up late multiple times shows your coworkers and superiors that you have no respect for the precious time, and you don’t care about your job.

Showing up late in meetings

Punctuality is crucial. This is more than important in events when people expecting you – like in meetings. Keeping people (who showed up on time) waiting is construed as inconsiderate and even rude.

Taking tons of personal phone calls

We get it – you have a life outside of work and taking a quick phone call to speak to your doctor, partner, kid, and parent isn’t a big deal. But no one in the office wants to hear your arguments with your husband, or your best friend’s crazy date story.

If it’s something urgent, have the decency to take the call outside, in an area far from your colleagues.

Everybody hates the sound of your ringtone too, so kindly put your phone on vibrate or silent mode.

Eating smelly and noisy food at your desk

Eating at your desk is a bad idea. No, it’s not just about sore joints and health risk associated with sitting for long periods of time – it’s about ruining your coworker’s happiness.

Foods that are pungent, noisy, and crumby can be distracting and hard to ignore. Reheated fish and seafood, kimchi, onion and garlic, vinegar-based food, stinky cheese, and noisy chips, are just some of the worst offenders.

Bring packed lunches, if it’s your way of saving money while staying healthy. But please make sure to eat it in a designated eating area.

Being messy

Don’t be the reason why your office is infested with bugs.

Clear up your desk and workspace. Get rid of your coffee cup, takeout boxes, used tissue and other garbage ASAP. Avoid clogging the kitchen sink with remnants of your lunch when washing your utensils. Do what you please – at home. But while you’re still at work, where you’re sharing office space with colleagues, try to tidy up.

You’re always on your phone

There’s a time for catching up on social media, taking selfies, watching videos on YouTube, playing games, and flirting with your spouse. However, office hours aren’t the best time.

While it’s impossible to be “on” all day, checking your phone every two minutes will keep you from being productive. Minimize your scrolling during office hours and when you’re with colleagues.


Always being distracted in meetings

Whether you’re always on your phone or you’re doodling on your notebook, showing inattentiveness is clearly unprofessional. It’s a sign of disrespect, not only to your boss and the presenter but to everyone around you.

Grooming yourself at your desk

Swiping chapstick occasionally to address chapped lips is okay. But doing a full makeup routine at your desk, in front of other busy coworkers, is considered unprofessional.

And please. Try to spray your fragrance in the comfort room.

Selling and soliciting stuff

Going cubicle to cubicle to talk about skincare and sell them beauty products aren’t just unprofessional. It’s illegal in some cases. It takes up work hours, and it puts people in an awkward situation, which could be grounds for firing.

Soliciting signatures, donations, and volunteers, no matter how great your cause is, are also prohibited.

Being unresponsive all the time

When an important e-mail or task calls for an immediate response, don’t seenzone people. Don’t leave your coworkers, HR staff, or boss hanging. You need to be a team player at work. It’s just plain unprofessional if you need to be reminded countless of times to “check your e-mail.”

Disclosing a lot of personal details

If you have work-related grievances, including output problems, salary concerns, or complaints regarding workplace discrimination and harassment, the human resources department is there to offer HR solutions to help you. But when it comes to personal problems, you’re better off keeping them outside of work.

Calling in sick when you’re not

It’s inevitable to get sick – sick leaves are there for a reason. But it’s unacceptable if you asked for a day off due to “sickness” and you’re caught on social media, drinking cocktails in a beach resort with your friend.

Whatever you use your day off for is really up to you – but just have the professionalism, to tell the truth.

Filling the space with way too much negativity

Constantly whining about everything work-related? Always complaining about the boss, the tasks, and a coworker? Responding to suggestions with a pessimistic or contrary attitude? Always saying “no” and “that’s impossible” without really trying?

The workplace itself is stressful. Having to deal with a pessimistic coworker can worsen the situation, putting you in your worst mood and draining all the energy that’s left.

Mina is a passionate blogger who'd rather write helpful and engaging posts online than rant on social media. This free-spirited damsel has a lot to say about finance, travel, and lifestyle.

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