It is easy to assume that remote work offers only the advantages: for instance, the benefit of flexibility, reduced costs, and higher autonomy. After all, who wouldn't want to attend their children's sports day from the first row of seats? Or go swimming whenever the mood sways that way? Who would want to miss out on the opportunity to work from any part of the world? Would you miss out on the freedom to begin the day with a morning jog or coffee in the sunshine rather than crammed in between perspiring railway riders? An early finish so you can see your child's piano recital? Priceless, isn't it?
Although working remotely has many benefits, there is also a chance that you could pick up some bad habits at work. Such unhealthy work habits ultimately reduce your productivity and growth. What are these bad habits at work that you can acquire? Do you have some of these toxic work habits? Let's find out!
Common bad habits at work
1. Poor time management
At times, it may appear as though working nonstop is the only way to maximize your job satisfaction. The misconception is that you can work more productively if you skip your breaks.
Moreover, in one study, managers were unable to distinguish between employees who worked 80 hours per week and those who did not. Sadly, working nonstop may tax your body and mind, making it the most prominent toxic work habit.
On the other hand, too much flexibility in your job schedule means you won't have a set routine to keep you motivated throughout the week. Hence poor time management is one of the greatest bad habits at work.
What can you do to improve time management?
- It's essential to manage your time effectively to ensure you meet deadlines, maintain productivity, and reduce stress.
- You can enhance your time management skills by creating a schedule, prioritizing tasks, eliminating distractions, and seeking help when needed.
- Plan out the number and the time for breaks. Changes are inevitable because life is unpredictable. But it helps to know that your work life is structured.
Remote workers who are not accountable for their actions and responsibilities can negatively impact their team's productivity and progress, thereby making it one of the worst habits at work. Remote workers must take ownership of their tasks and communicate proactively with their team members.
Pushing the start dates of projects to the very last minute is a bad trait. Speeding through your work can impact the outcome. There may be internal and external barriers preventing you from beginning this endeavor, such as family members needing your assistance in another room, unforeseen circumstances that cause delays, or perhaps your mood.
Your coworkers also suffer when you procrastinate.
What things can you do to avoid procrastination?
- Large tasks can be overwhelming, making it difficult to get started. Breaking them down into smaller steps makes it easier to make progress and stay motivated.
- Creating self-imposed deadlines can help to focus the mind and develop a sense of urgency.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique: This technique involves working for a set period of time (usually twenty-five minutes). Then you must take a short break before returning to work. It can break up the workday into smaller, more manageable chunks, making it easier to focus and stay productive.
- By sharing your goals and progress with a colleague, friend, or coach, you can hold yourself accountable and stay motivated to achieve your goals.
3. Being disorganized
When tasks and projects are disorganized, it can be difficult to maintain a high level of work quality. It will be challenging to keep track of deadlines and priorities. Furthermore, disorganization can lead to a sense of overwhelm and anxiety, leading to increased stress levels and a toxic work environment. This can negatively impact your mental health, well-being, and job satisfaction.
Being disorganized is a harmful habit that may seriously impact your workday, whether it manifests as a disorderly workstation, overloaded email inboxes, or unfinished projects.
What can you do to avoid being disorganized?
- Declutter your workspace: Get rid of unnecessary items and keep your workspace clean and organized.
- Set up a filing system: Use folders, labels, and color coding to keep files and documents organized and easy to find.
- Automate tasks: Use technology to automate tasks such as email filtering, task reminders, and document storage.
- Create a to-do list: Jot down all the tasks you must complete and prioritize them based on their urgency and importance.
4. Poor communication
When you operate remotely, your team is not present in an office setting. Because they aren't standing right next to you, it's pretty easy to slip into the trap of not reaching out to them. That is the first step in creating a toxic work environment.
You might not respond to direct messages sent through collaborative tools, you might not read emails, and you might even skip video conference sessions.
All these 'not' eventually lead to poor communication. As a result, you strain your relations with your coworkers.
Measures you can adopt to improve communication
- Try to be more proactive in your communication.
- While working with a remote team, communication is crucial for keeping your team informed and engaged. Try to schedule a time during your working day to check in with your team across all apps.
- Open your inbox and reply to the more urgent messages. For faster chats, use direct messages.
It's challenging to avoid distractions when you work remotely. It's possible that you'll need to be with your family or your pet while working remotely. Additionally, your phone is right at your side, and Twitter and other social media apps continue to feed you notifications. It is challenging to resist these temptations. Being sidetracked can prevent you from finishing your assignment. This further creates chaos, which is why it is one of the worst habits at work.
Also read: The best coworking spaces of 2023
How to avoid being distracted?
- Please set up a dedicated workspace: Create a designated area for work, preferably in a quiet and comfortable space, and ensure it is free from distractions like TV or other people.
- Plan your workday: Create a schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. Set realistic deadlines and prioritize tasks that require your undivided attention.
- Minimize digital distractions: Turn off notifications for non-work-related apps and websites during work hours. Use tools that block distracting websites during specific times.
- Please communicate with your household: Let your household members know your work schedule, so they can avoid interrupting you during work hours.
- Use noise-canceling headphones: If you are in a noisy environment, consider using noise-canceling headphones to help you focus on your work.
6. Lack of a proper workspace
Working from home without a proper workspace can be challenging. You tend to sit on the couch or anywhere in your house with no appropriate workspace. Such work habits lead to both physical and mental stress. It paves the way for more significant distractions, which leads to a toxic work environment. Some people may develop poor postures due to the lack of a proper workspace.
How to create a workspace at home/remote location
- Choose a quiet location: Find a quiet area in your home where you can work without distractions. If possible, choose a room with a door that you can close to minimize noise.
- Use a desk or table: Set up a desk or table to work on. Having a dedicated workspace will help you stay organized and focused.
- Get a comfortable chair: Invest in a comfortable chair that provides good support for your back. This can help prevent discomfort and pain during long work sessions.
While some people believe that multi-tasking can increase productivity, research has shown that trying to juggle multiple tasks at once can lead to decreased efficiency and increased stress levels.
Attempting to multi-task in this environment can lead to decreased focus and lower quality work. Constantly switching between tasks can make it difficult to switch off at the end, leading to burnout and increased stress levels.
Also read: Best Productivity Tools for Remote Work
How can you avoid multi-tasking?
- Schedule focused work time: Block out time on your calendar for focused work without distractions. Turn off notifications, close unnecessary tabs, and focus on one task at a time during this time block.
- Set boundaries: Communicate your work hours and availability with your team and family members. This will help minimize interruptions and distractions during focused work time.
- Use productivity tools: Utilise productivity tools like task management apps or time-tracking tools to stay organized and focused.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises can help you stay present and focused on the task at hand.
8. Not Prepping for Your Workday
It's true that getting ready for work is less of a hassle when working from home than when going to an office every morning. However, it doesn't mean that getting out of bed and heading straight to your desk to start your workday is a good idea.
How to prepare daily for remote work
- Showering, getting dressed, and eating breakfast take a little longer, but spending the time to prepare with these fundamental self-care activities can pay off throughout the day by placing you in a more productive mindset.
- Additionally, you never know when you'll be asked to join an impromptu Zoom call with your boss or a client; you don't want to have to rush to get ready.
9. Too Much Food, Too Little Exercise
When working from home, it's simple to find yourself munching throughout the day and forgetting to exercise because your refrigerator is just a few feet away and there is no built-in reason to travel down the hall to visit with coworkers.
If you find yourself in this situation, reverse the ratio of snacking to activity. You may feel lethargic and put on weight if you eat too many quick convenience foods regularly.
You may stay sharp, aware, and healthy by developing a regular routine of consuming healthy meals and engaging in regular physical activity.
How to avoid Too Much Food, Too Little Exercise in remote work
- Create a meal plan: Plan your meals ahead of time to avoid overeating or snacking on unhealthy foods throughout the day. Ensure your meals are nutritious and contain a balanced i.e a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
- Schedule regular exercise breaks: Schedule regular breaks throughout the day to incorporate some physical activity into your routine. Take a walk outside, stretch, or do a short workout routine to keep your body moving.
- Set reminders: Set reminders on your phone or computer to remind yourself to take breaks and move around. This can help you stay accountable and ensure you don't get too caught up in your work.
- Use a standing desk: Consider using a standing desk or an adjustable desk that allows you to switch between sitting and standing positions. This can help reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
- Join virtual fitness classes: Many gyms and fitness studios offer virtual classes that you can join from home. Joining a class can provide you with structure, accountability, and motivation to exercise regularly.