17 Unprofessional Work Behaviors

by Lynn
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There are certain unprofessional work behaviors you must avoid if you want to retain your job. Regardless of your job or occupation, you should strive to always make a positive impression because it will contribute to your success in the company. Who you are at home does not have to reflect similarly at work. There are just unprofessional work behaviors that will prevent you from getting ahead in your career.

Here are some of the unprofessional work behaviors and how to avoid them


If you’re always talking about people behind their backs or always wanting to know what’s going on with everyone you should stop and start minding your own business. This is one of the unprofessional work behaviors that shows a lack of respect and privacy for other co-workers.

People also lose trust in you because they can’t trust you with any information. Always try and be mindful of the privacy of your coworkers and avoid discussing them in conversations.

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Always try and show up early to work or to work-related events. You can be late once or twice, but always showing up late is one of the unprofessional work behaviors that can cost you. Having a morning routine will help you improve your tardiness a great deal.

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Making Excuses

At times work may be difficult and challenging but you can’t afford to always make excuses whenever you’re unable to meet your deadline. Take responsibility for your actions and being accountable shows maturity and shows respect. Making excuses is one of the unprofessional work behaviors that lower your reliability and trustworthiness.

Lacking Boundaries

Always maintain professionalism with your workmates. It’s okay to be friendly with your coworkers but always respect their boundaries. Do not flirt with every co-worker or be extra friendly with your co-workers. Always make sure you respect physical boundaries as well, you don’t want to be the co-worker who is in everyone’s space. People should feel comfortable and secure when you’re around.

Lying or Stealing

Don’t be the coworker with sticky fingers. You don’t want to be known as the co-worker who everyone goes to when they can’t find their office stationery. Lying and stealing are incredibly unprofessional work behaviors. Always lying to your coworkers may also not be a good idea. Especially when it comes to covering up for you, it will reduce their trust in you.

Not abiding by the dress code

This depends on the type of job you have and where you work. You may work in a creative or tech field where you are not required to adhere to any dress code. Just always try and be decent in the office. We may live in a progressive world but our dress code still has a huge impact on how people perceive us.

Poor communication skills

If you keep ignoring your boss’s phone calls this one is for you. This is one of the unprofessional work behaviors that’s frowned upon. It’s common courtesy to answer phone calls or messages. You may not be on the clock and your boss knows that. So if they ask you to do something that you may not be able to deliver at that time just say so. In an ideal situation, your boss would only contact you in case of an emergency.

Being on your phone or laptop

It is extremely rude to be on your phone or on your laptop when your colleagues are trying to have a conversation with you. Using your phone or laptop when they have made the effort and time to have a conversation with you shows a lack of respect and shows disregard for their time and efforts. These are unprofessional work behaviors that may affect you long term.

Being ill mannered

If you have no disregard for how you treat people around you, people will always have their guard up around you. Always practice common courtesy around your colleagues. Avoid cursing around your colleagues, you never know who feels uncomfortable with that kind of language. Try and practice courtesy in all aspects so people can feel safe around you.

Not being a team player

If you’re not a team player your colleagues will tend to shun you out. If you always want to take the credit for team projects they will shut you out. This is one of the unprofessional work behaviors. You don’t have to like your coworkers but you have to work with them. You might leave them out when taking credit for some projects but they may also leave you out of important projects in the future.

Email Etiquette

Emails are the official mode of communication in an office setting. Lack of email etiquette is one of the more unprofessional work behaviors. While you may receive multiple emails in a day always try and respond to the emails. Set a time when you can respond to the emails. Not responding to an email shows that the email was not important.

Oversharing your personal life

You may spend most of your time in the office with your coworkers, so you might feel inclined to share your personal life details. Always remember that your co-workers were first your colleagues before they are your friends. While it may seem like there’s no harm in sharing, have some boundaries. its one of the unprofessional work behaviors.

Not participating in Work events

You may not want to go to work events but it may be a great chance to get to know your workers and vice versa. Not participating in work events shows you’re not a team player. When you attend the work events also be very careful not to cross boundaries by flirting with your workers or drinking too much and embarrassing yourself. This can lead to unprofessional work behaviors.

Interrupting others

Don’t be the person who interrupts others when they’re working. It shows you do not take your job seriously or you have nothing to do. Always do your work without interrupting others.

Always complaining

No one likes a complainer. Your job may be tough but you should suck it up. If you’re the person who is always complaining, people tend to avoid you. People tend to lean more towards

Office prankster

If you’re the office prankster it might be hard for people to take you seriously. You may give off a joker vibe so you might not get the more serious projects.

Disorganized Workspace

You need a clean workspace. Declutter your workspace and this will help you clear up your mind. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to clean up your workspace. A disorganized space may reflect a disorganized person.

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