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The bad work habits that are making you look unprofessional

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited   Checking out of conversations or not being fully present because you're distracted by devices can impact productivity (stock image)

By Emilia Mazza and Kristy Johnson, Daily Mail

When it comes to workplace success, the saying goes that your attitude determines your altitude, which means how you behave counts.

While office environments can vary from casual and relaxed to corporate and formal, the ability to act professionally is always a must.

According to Australian career development expert Sue Ellson, bad work habits such as not paying proper attention to instructions or taking a casual approach to communication can put you on the back foot.

She outlines which behaviors make you look unprofessional and also shares her top tips for creating new habits that will help your work life run smoother.


1. Checking out of conversations and not being present

The demands of any job might see you switching between a number of tasks, which can make it difficult to focus, especially if you're being asked to take on something new.

The problem is while you might be listening to instructions to a certain degree, you might not be paying enough attention meaning you don't take in the information needed to do the job well.

Sue said to be fully present you should engage with eye contact and make a genuine effort to listen.
And she adds, don't distract yourself by looking at a device or trying to carry on another conversation.

'It has been proven that humans (both male and female), cannot multitask,' Sue - who is also the author of 120 Ways To Attract The Right Career Or Business - said.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited   Australian career development expert Sue Ellson (pictured) explains bad workplace habits can put you on the backfoot

'You could be far more efficient and effective if you were truly present and you can win a lot of brownie points as people will know that you are willing to engage and listen.'


2. Drop the cool attitude to communication

If you're in a more casual workplace it might seem appropriate to use phrases such as 'no probs' (for no problem) or 'all g' (to mean all good).

But Sue said using abbreviations can be problematic, especially if the person you are dealing with has a different cultural background.

She added incorporating multiple emojis in emails or texts can also distort communication.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited   Adopting a professional demeanour by dressing well sends a message you're competent as well as marking out important boundaries which determine you behaviours  (stock image)

3. Make the effort to dress well

Dressing appropriately for your work environment helps you to delineate important boundaries, namely this is a professional space and your conduct needs to be of a certain standard.

Sue said while people have the right to dress how they like - to a certain extent, she draws the line at clothing that exposes too much flesh or is in bad condition. This includes clothing that is ripped, unwashed or clearly un-ironed.

Personal hygiene should always be taken into account at all times, Sue added.

'Body odour that can be clearly noticed when walking past someone can be perceived negatively.'


What are Sue Ellson's tips for getting ahead at work?  

 

1. Finding time to really focus

Sue explained that time blocking was a useful way to ensure you focused properly on the task at hand. If you can, close your email window and go into 'dark mode', or use a timer to help you stay accountable.


2. Be task driven but take time to reflect

While it's always important to complete the tasks you've been assigned in a timely manner, Sue also recommends taking time to reflect and engage with others where possible. She said allocating time for relaxed conversations can be productive and socially rewarding.


3. Don't say yes when you mean no

Who hasn't fallen into the trap of saying yes to extra tasks when they know deep down doing so is placing undue pressure on themselves to do these well. Although saying no to your boss outright isn't a recommended strategy, consider instigating a conversation where you explain your workload and ask how best to handle conflicting deadlines.


4. Remember, manners go a long way

The workplace expert said it's been proven over time people who are pleasant and polite are perceived more positively.

'Saying thank you has been recorded as one of the best strategies for motivating staff.'

Sue also suggests taking the time to acknowledge someone's effort as this can help you be remembered in a variety of positive ways.

'Respect, understanding and a knowledge of basic etiquette can put you one step ahead of the pack.'

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