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8 Bad Work Habits You Probably Have That Make Work Unbearable

8 Bad Work Habits You Probably Have That Make Work Unbearable

Are you one of the 70% who are dissatisfied with their current job situation? There could be many reasons that make work unbearable. These can include factors from a tyrannical boss, long hours, unpleasant colleagues to a low salary. But have you ever thought of turning the spotlight on yourself? Maybe you have some bad work habits that are making the whole work experience totally negative.

Any bad habits you may have are going to impact how you work, your assessment, and most importantly what your colleagues think of you. Read on and discover what these might be.

1.You are moody and temperamental

Your colleagues never know with any certainty how you are going to react to greetings, proposals, invitationsv and phone calls. Your changeable mood means that you are probably bringing domestic problems into the workplace. Do you sulk or refuse to greet colleagues with a smile? Are you irritable and bad-tempered? If so, it may be time to separate your personal problems from those of the workplace.

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2.You have stopped caring

Remember when you first came to the job and you were enthusiastic? Can you recall answering at the interview what you could bring to the job?  If you no longer care what happens in the company and have built a little fortress round your desk, then it may be time to re-evaluate what you are doing in this job.

3.You are always negative

It was Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott who invented the word ‘negaholic’. If you fall into this category, it means that you are using phrases like these too often:

  • ‘This is not in my job description’
  • ‘That’s not my problem’
  • ‘This may be a stupid question, but…..’
  • ‘I will try to meet that deadline but….’.
  • ‘I don’t have time to discuss this right now’
  • ‘He’s a lazy jerk’
  • ‘I hate my job’
  • ‘The management in this company sucks’

 Negative people in the workplace are usually regarded as being toxic or cancerous by management. Sooner or later, they will be eliminated.

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4.You are often late

Being unpunctual usually means that someone else has to hold the fort until you arrive. Meetings may be delayed, callers are put on hold, and colleagues are kept waiting. This has negative consequences for everybody. Try being punctual for a whole week and see what happens. You might notice a thaw in the atmosphere.

5.You are lazy

‘Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction’ – Anne Frank

Work is tough, so you want to do the minimum. You are convinced that too much work can be toxic. You see loads of colleagues stressed out, so you feel perfectly justified.

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The only problem is that your laziness will affect your co-workers’ productivity, and this will boomerang on you, sooner or later. If you are part of a team, laziness will be dealt with decisively and you may well be punished or even demoted.

6.You rarely show gratitude

Gratitude seems to be in short supply at work. This was the finding in a survey of 2,000 Americans at work, carried out by the John Templeton Foundation. A feeling of gratitude not only leads to a happier workplace but actually can have a positive impact on workers’ physical and mental health.

Ideally, you should be able to show your appreciation by simply saying “thank you”. Similarly, you expect your work and efforts to be acknowledged in some way. This can range from the tiny day to day trivialities to the job performance assessment. Just think that everyone craves praise, attention and appreciation. Gratitude is infectious, so it will be returned to you. You will notice a better atmosphere when people are more grateful and positive.

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7. You are cynical

‘Cynicism is full of naïve disappointments’ – Mason Cooley

Perhaps you had a negative experience when you approached your line manager with an issue. That issue was not resolved and led to it festering. You were disappointed, and now you are embittered. Since then, your cynicism has grown and you are sceptical of the value of change. You view customer care as a pain in the neck. Your attitude is that the company has not been loyal to you, so why should you bother? Your cynical attitude is like a cancer growing out of control.

8.You are too noisy

A lack of self awareness leads to noisy behavior, which disturbs your co-workers. You are totally oblivious of (or could not care less about):

  • Talking in a very loud voice on the phone
  • Heavy sighing
  • Moving your chair noisily
  • Banging box files on the desk
  • Foot kicking
  • Pen tapping
  • Slamming the phone down
  • Eating at your desk noisily

Instead of waiting for icy glares and nasty comments, why not try to quiet down? Just tackle one problem every week.

So, how did you do?  Perhaps there are one or several areas that you need to work on in order to make your work bearable again for you and your colleagues.

Featured photo credit: Meeting/USDA gov via Flickr

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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