26 Bad Workplace Habits To Kick In 2016

New year, new you, right? There's something so enticing about starting fresh on January 1, and resolutions don't have to be limited to exercise, relationships, or money. It can also apply to your work life. Why not use a new calendar year to reboot your career?

Sure, that can mean looking for a new job or getting new skills. But it can also involve considering how your boss and coworkers perceive you. Is your desk a mess? Are you constantly interrupting everyone with questions? One or two of these habits are NBD. The problem is, more than a few of them cut into your productivity, creativity, and promotability.

Ahead, we've put together the ultimate list of 26 habits that are undermining your work life. Ditch a few — or ditch them all. We promise even crossing one off the list will make your work life a million times better in 2016.

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“I’m a low-key manager, but I definitely notice when someone rolls in late every single day,” says Nicole, 38, an executive editor at a publishing company. “It makes that person look like they don’t care. I think staggering times is great; if I see you at your desk early sometimes, I don’t think of you as 'the late person.'"

Make 2016 the year you become a morning person — or at least the person who shows up on time every day. Running late? Check in with your manager to let her know what's up.
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Sometimes, you just have to indulge in Thirsty Thursday. The only issue is that Frustration Friday usually follows, where you feel like crap while you're at work. And your boss will notice.

“I could definitely tell when reports hit happy hour too hard the night before. We’ve all been there, but make a point to work beyond the hangover. Exercise, drink plenty of water, whatever you have to do so it isn’t so obvious,” says Nicole.
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We’ve heard a million times: Sitting all day is bad for your brain and your butt. Making it a point to move around the office makes you feel more energized and more productive.

“I ended up committing to drinking two liters of water a day, but this had the added benefit of making me walk around more. I was always heading to the water cooler or the bathroom,” says Eric, 29, an IT specialist.
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That feeling of dread creeping in the pit of your stomach every morning? It’s a sign you’re ready to leave quit your job.

“I can always tell when someone’s over their job,” reveals HR manager Beth. “And quite honestly, it makes them hard to want to hire. I’d much rather talk to someone who’s clearly passionate about their work and needs a change. Once you start feeling resentment and anger, I worry it’ll boil over into a new gig.”
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“I had one report who was at her desk at least an hour after I left every night,” says Michelle, 38, a marketing manager. “It didn’t make her seem dedicated. It made her seem disorganized and like she couldn’t handle her workload.”

Of course, sometimes you’ve got to burn the midnight oil, but don’t stay late just to ingratiate yourself to higher ups.
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“I’m amazed by how little some people prepare for meetings,” says creative director Jessica. “What stands out with new hires are the ones who prepare for a meeting just as thoroughly as they prepare for a report. I love when they bring relevant print-outs, a notebook, and they aren’t afraid to share their thoughts. If you’re invited to a meeting, it means you’re considered relevant (unless, of course, you’re only invited to take notes, which is something that should be made clear from the outset). So act like it.”
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A $12 goat cheese salad that only tastes meh is blowing your budget, no matter how much money you make. That's almost $3K a year you're spending on some limp microgreens!

Opt to bring from home at least a few times a week and save to splurge on lunch with coworkers out of the office every week or so — it will make it way more special (and probably more productive).
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Fact: HR should know who you are. Keeping them in the loop regularly, especially at a larger company, can help key you into career opportunities before you even hear about them.

“I scheduled a ‘hello’ meeting with the HR rep when I was about six months into my new job,” says Amy, 33, an account executive. “They were really happy to talk with me. I just sent an email saying I’d started in April, I loved working with the organization, and I wanted to set up an introductory meeting to hear more about longterm opportunities with the company. I explained what I was looking for in my career, and they gave me some tips, including the fact they offered tuition reimbursement once I hit a year at the company. I’m already planning to take some business school classes on their dime!”
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Of course you want to scroll through Instagram or Facebook, but you shouldn't have them constantly opened in the background while you work. Only check them a few times a day, when you need a break from your work. Not only will you get more done, you’ll be more engaged in your work. Same goes for incessant texting, especially with friends or family. It makes you look super unprofessional if you spend all day playing with your cell phone.
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You're sick — a sneezing, coughing, runny-nosed mess. Do not come into the office: You'll risk making yourself — and everyone around you — even sicker. Plus, how productive are you really going to be?

“I made this mistake,” says Kristy, 32, a teacher. “I wouldn’t take sick days because I worried that I wasn’t ‘sick enough.’ I came down with a horrible flu that I’m convinced was exacerbated by working on days when I was under the weather.”

Companies offer sick days for a reason. Don't be a martyr. Use them.
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Sure, she might be intimidating, but aim for a relaxed conversation in the elevator. The more casual facetime you have with upper management, the better it is for your career.

“I truly owe my first promotion to the fact I wasn’t afraid to ride in the elevator with the boss. From the very first time I took the elevator with her, I complimented her on the latest issue of the magazine she’d edited and told her about an interesting article I’d read in that day’s paper on the rise of Paleo dieting. Ever since then, she saw me as the person who knew about food trends, and it was a really great connection,” says Jenny, 33, a fashion editor.
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Even a funny Instagram caption can rub a boss the wrong way. It's even worse when you offer vague updates about your unhappiness on Facebook.

“Honestly, I’m excited most Mondays about the week ahead, and I’d like my team to be, too,” says Nicole. Keep it positive or save the bitching for a snap to a friend (who doesn’t work in your office).
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Keeping your head down and getting your assignments done is awesome, but raises and promotions go to people who know what’s going on with the company as a whole. Volunteering for cross-company projects, or even just reading the office newsletter, will enhance your value. “I like knowing that people know and understand the company, not just their job,” says Beth, 29, an HR manager.
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We get it: Sometimes, you just need to vent. But keep any comments about coworkers off Gchat, text, or email — and the elevator!

“One of my supervisors had a great motto. She would always said, 'Save it for the bus' — basically, don't talk about work stuff in the vicinity of work.” recalls Lindsey, 34, an editor. Need to talk? Take it outside and have the conversation away from your colleagues.
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Yes, you got your inbox to zero, but does that really help your goals? Be aware of the time-suck tasks that make you feel busy, but don’t really get you ahead.

“I actually created an auto responder that I’m more responsive on Twitter,” says Ken, 27, a social media manager. “Obviously, it depends on your company culture, but that fix puts less pressure on me to immediately respond.”

If your office isn't so laid back, get a handle on when you're most productive and schedule time on your calendar to focus on the hard stuff during those hours. Save the emails and other mindless tasks for times when you're feeling less focused.
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It may seem like no big deal to ask colleagues for help, but taking two seconds to figure out the answer yourself can be incredibly valuable. “I love my assistant, but she always asks for help,” says Emily, 34, a marketing manager. “I finally had to explain that even if it just takes me a second to answer, it’s a really distracting ask, especially if it’s something better asked of IT or even Google.”
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Yes, you spend eight or more hours a day with your coworkers, and yes, after-hours activities cut into your personal time, but going out regularly with your colleagues makes you seem like part of the team and helps you build meaningful relationships.

RSVP yes, have a drink, and then go do your own thing.
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It’s a time suck, even if you’re chatting about work. If you've got a few assignments that need your full attention, turn it off entirely for a little while so you don't get distracted. Communicating with a coworker? It might actually be more productive to talk with them face-to-face rather than trying to sort out a problem via instant messenger.
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The workplace is a pretty casual place these days, but that doesn't mean you should get too personal (especially during those happy hour drinks!). It's cool to share a funny story about your partner or your fun weekend plans while chatting with a coworker in the kitchen, but it's best to avoid going too in-depth. Work isn't a place to describe a bitter breakup, a fight with your parents, money troubles, or your alcoholic best friend's latest foibles. You should be friendly with your coworkers, but they don't need to know EVERYTHING about you.
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“One time, my manager sarcastically asked me what the ‘lunch club’ was doing. I had no idea what she was talking about, but it turned out that going to lunch with the same three people every day made it seem like we were clique-y,” recalls Meghan, 34, a PR manager. “After that, I opened up the invite, making it clear anyone could join.”

Yes, it's important to have friends at work, but you need to make sure you're not hanging out with the same people all the time — or worse, seeming to exclude your coworkers. Mixing it up can be good for your career.
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Yes, it can be creative, but it can read disorganized to managers. “I had a creative job, so I always assumed it didn’t matter what my desk looked like,” recalls Ruth, 32, a copywriter. “It wasn’t until I jumped to a new job where I kept my desk clean that I kept getting comments about how professional I seemed. I truly think my desk was an indication of that. Now, I just keep one framed photo of my family in the corner of my desk and a pair of heels in my drawer.”
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“Our office is collaborative, but seeing everyone wearing headphones drives me nuts,” says Jessica, 32, a creative director. “I really think that taking breaks between wearing headphones and being available to chat makes you seem more like a team player.”

Keep them off when you’re responding to emails, put them on when you’re in the middle of a major project. Don't wear them all day every day.
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These days, it's not uncommon for most of us to work through lunch, but it can be so depressing to eat your Seamless order while trying to cram in work. Even if your office has a "butts in chair" policy, try to take a few minutes each day to step away from your desk — even better if you can eat your lunch with coworkers.

“I make it a priority to get out of the office at least once a day,” says Kelly, 25, a junior PR account manager. “Even when it’s freezing, walking around the block always makes me feel more productive.”
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It's easy to fall into a rabbit hole with the tabs function on internet browsers. But in reality, multi-tasking just doesn’t work. Do one thing at a time, practicing the Pomodoro method: break work into 25 minute chunks, then take a five-minute break to check your email or Facebook. The rest of the time, just keep one tab open.
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"I read a bunch of books by organizing expert Julie Morgenstern, and this is one of the tips that made the most sense to me," says Nicole, 34, a freelance writer. "I don’t check my inbox for the first hour of the morning and use that time to really dive into a tricky project. Knowing it’s done gives me motivation throughout the day."
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By the time review time comes, it may be too late to ask for a raise. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor a few months in advance and think of gunning for a raise as an all-year project. Check out more tips, here.
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