17 unprofessional work habits that make your boss and coworkers hate you

What not to do at work 

Do your coworkers or boss show signs that they secretly hate you?

If you answered "yes," then sure, it could be that they're generally disagreeable people. Or it could be you.

You may not realise it, but you could be engaging in workplace habits that make you look unprofessional.

While many of these habits violate the basic rules of common decency and respect, sometimes you need a reminder of how to behave at work. And since your office-mates aren't speaking up, we decided to chime in on their behalf.

Here's what you could be doing all wrong that makes you look unprofessional:


1. Bragging

"When we're proud of an accomplishment or about something good that happens to us, it's natural to want to share the news with others," says Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and author of "Don't Burp in the Boardroom."

But sharing can easily become bragging, and she says there are a few key indicators that this is happening:

* If you go on and on, telling everyone and anyone who walks by.

* If you speak of it in a loud tone so that even the window washer can hear it through the thick glass.

* If you use a tone of superiority.

* If you feel the need to put down others and point out their failures.

* If you fail to say "thank you" when you are congratulated.

* If you start embellishing the story.

"When in doubt, try a little humility" Randall suggests.


2. Showing up late to work

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"Punctuality is critical," Randall says.

"The professional thing to do is to arrive on time, ready to do what is expected. It's not like they just sprung this job on you," she says.

Rolling in 10 minutes late to every meeting

Similarly, showing up late to meetings shows that you neither respect your coworkers -- who showed up on time, by the way -- nor the meeting organiser, says Vicky Oliver, author of "301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions" and "Power Sales Words."

"Keeping people waiting can be construed as inconsiderate, rude, or arrogant," Randall says.


3. Being a slob

"Whether you're at your desk or in the break room, being known as the office slob is never a compliment," says Randall.

When you clog the office kitchen sink and leave your garbage around, who exactly are you expecting to clean up after you?

"Leaving your mess behind shows lack of responsibility or consideration, arrogance, and immaturity," Randall says.

Similarly, your workspace can be a reflection of you, she says.

"If you're like me, who works well in a semi-messy environment, it can be inhibiting to be clutter-free. But with open cubicles or workspaces, the professional thing to do is to make some compromises," Randall says. "It would be disrespectful and inconsiderate to expect your coworkers to deal with your mess."


4. Playing '20 Questions' on every new assignment

There may be no stupid questions, Oliver says, but there are certainly annoying questions. These are the kinds of questions that prove you really don't want to do the assignment or illustrate you only want to hear yourself talk.

"When you receive a new assignment, gather your questions, and pose them in an organised way," Oliver suggests. "Never just spout out question after question off the cuff."


5.  Rolling in 10 minutes late to every meeting

Similarly, showing up late to meetings shows that you neither respect your coworkers -- who showed up on time, by the way -- nor the meeting organizer, says Vicky Oliver, author of "301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions" and "Power Sales Words."

"Keeping people waiting can be construed as inconsiderate, rude, or arrogant," Randall says.


6. Poor hygiene and grooming

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You want to look like you take your job seriously when you walk into work, and your hygiene and appearance play a role in that.

"Poor hygiene and sloppy clothes scream, 'I don't care!' and are a surefire way to put off those around you," Randall says.

Your boss may wonder whether your attitude about how you present yourself extends to your work, she explains, and you may be passed over for a promotion, overlooked when it's time to meet with a client or represent the company at a conference, and not invited to social gatherings.

"Burping, passing gas, picking your teeth, adjusting your body parts, and rarely showering are not just unprofessional behaviors for the workplace, but they're pretty darn gross as well," Randall says.


7. Complaining too much

"While there may be times when everyone feels the desire to complain about the boss, a coworker, or a task, voicing it will only make you look unprofessional," Randall says. "It's even worse if you complain every day, all day, from the moment you walk into work. Before long, people will go out of their way to avoid you."

"While there may be times when everyone feels the desire to complain about the boss, a coworker, or a task, voicing it will only make you look unprofessional," Randall says. "It's even worse if you complain every day, all day, from the moment you walk into work. Before long, people will go out of their way to avoid you."


8. Doing your makeup at your desk

In most fields, casual grooming in public is frowned on, Oliver says. If you need a touch up, she suggests heading to the bathroom.


9. Calling in sick when you aren't

"Remember the adage that half of life is showing up," Oliver says.


10. Displaying nervous habits

Jingling your keys, shaking your leg, constantly checking your phone, chewing gum, biting your fingernails, scratching your head -- the list of nervous habits goes on, and you probably don't even realise you're doing it, but your office mates probably do, Randall says.

Not only can these habits be distracting to others, but they could also be perceived as boredom.

"Perception is a person's reality," Randall says.


11. Doing something else during a meeting

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"There is a reason why texting is illegal while driving: it's impossible to concentrate fully on two things simultaneously," Oliver says.

Texting, surfing the web on your laptop, instant messaging, emailing -- doing any of these things during a meeting shows everyone else in the meeting that you're not paying attention.

"They know that while your butt may be planted in the chair, your mind is roaming," Oliver says.


12. Interrupting

"It's rude to interrupt. When you do, it shows others that you don't have any respect, judgment, or patience," Randall says.

While participation can earn you some brownie points, bad timing can wipe those points away.

You won't prove you deserve the promotion if you call in sick every few weeks.


13. Selling stuff

It seems like almost every office has one or two people who sell cookies for their kids. This could be a bad move, Randall says.

"Bombarding your coworkers with fundraising products or donations for a cause or organisation is unprofessional, unwanted, awkward, and obligating," she says.

Randall says that some companies even prohibit soliciting at work because it takes up work time and places people in an awkward position.

"Saying 'no' can be a challenge for some people, and money can be a concern," Randall says. "Your coworker might feel compelled to buy because everyone else did, or they're concerned that you'll remember this."

MP throws water at colleague

14. Being too noisy

Whether you play music loudly while others are trying to work or have conversations the entire office can hear, then your coworkers likely consider you one of the most annoying distractions on earth.

Being noisy, especially in an open office, has a significant effect on your coworkers' focus and productivity, and the noise could hurt business if it carries into an important phone call.

"Try to show your coworkers that you respect them by keeping the music down, and hopefully they will return the favor," Oliver says.


15. Swearing

"Using foul words or questionable language is not only a bad habit, but in most places of business, it's still considered unprofessional and can even land you in Human Resources for a little chat," Randall says.

Swearing demonstrates to others that you aren't able to calmly and thoughtfully deal with a situation, and it could make you the last resort in an even more difficult or extreme dilemma, she says.

"Consider learning some new adjectives," Randall suggests.


16. Making personal calls all day long

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Talking or texting with friends or family on company time is unprofessional and could be against company policy, Randall says. What's more, doing it during a break is fine, but these correspondences should be kept out of the workplace, even the lunch room.

"You never know when your boss may walk by for an impromptu chat," she says. "What will they see or hear?"

"If the topic of conversation is of a delicate nature, be sure to keep it private. One overheard juicy tidbit can spread like wildfire," Randall says.


17. Being overtly cliquey

"Maybe the new guy who smells like French Onion Soup is not your favorite person on staff," Oliver says. "That's no reason to flee him every time he asks you for help on an assignment."

It's best to act friendly toward everyone, she says: "You will come across as more of a team player and show you have management aptitude."

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