15 Habits That Make You Look Like An Unprofessional At Work

By Shatavisha Chakravorty

With the corporate culture seeping in deep in the country, India is heading for a new revolution in the professional scene. As it is, as one of the positive remains of the British invasion, we as Indians are very concerned with professionalism. This can be seen in the way we dress up, behave and interact in any blue collared government job in the country.

In the past, the only area where we did not notice professionalism was in the lowest ladder of the government sector. However, with globalisation taking place, things were up for a change. This time the change was for the better and the workforce of this country became more professional than ever before.


While this change fetched the nation a lot of jobs, it has also put immense pressure on the people at the workplace. Now they have to be all the more careful so that they are able to stand up to the levels of punctuality that have been set by the organisation itself.

Now this requires a lot of careful planning on our part. Many a time we express unprofessional behavior without meaning to do so and in turn end up falling down in the eyes of our supervisors and fellow colleagues. This article will help you identify 15 vital signs that make you look like an unprofessional at work.

1. Taking Unplanned Leaves

As per the employment rules of the land, your employer is bound to give you a certain number of leaves. Taking them is your right. However, you do not have right to cause any form of inconvenience to anybody by taking your leaves.

Hence, when you have to take a leave (unless it is some unforeseen consequence) make sure you inform your colleagues and supervisors about the same well ahead of time so that they can plan things keeping your absence in mind.

2. Taking Greater Number Of Leaves

2. Taking Greater Number Of Leaves

As stated earlier, your employment makes you eligible for a certain number of leaves every year. Make sure that the number of leaves that you take in a year does not exceed this quantity. Doing so will be a highly unprofessional behavior.

Remember that the company is paying you to work and not to take time off. Be loyal to yourself and your ideals and do justice to the same. Do not call in sick to work when you know that you are fit and fine.

3. Being A Slob

In life you cannot expect someone else to clear up the mess that you have created. The same applies for the workplace as well. Do not leave it to others to clear the mess that you have created. Be it practical aspects like leaving the sink or washroom dirty after using the same or be it work-related issues, like not providing proper documentation for what you do, make sure that you do not indulge in any of it.

4. Turning Up Late To Work

It is a bad practise to keep anyone waiting. The same holds good in the workplace as well. Please remember that in the workplace everyone is turning up because they have work to do and because they are being paid for the same. You have no right to waste the productive time of someone else by keeping them waiting for you. Hence, make it a practise to turn up on time. If you are unsure about the traffic on the road, it is okay for you to turn up early.

5. Knowing It All

You may know more about a particular issue at hand. This does not give you the right to stop anyone else from commenting on the same. By listening to what others have to say, you may actually arrive at a better conclusion. Make it a point that you do not interrupt your colleagues and subordinates when they voice their opinion.

6. Applying Make-up At Your Desk

There are a lot of jobs that demand you look good. In fact, most jobs today demand that you look professional. In such a situation, it is expected that you apply a certain amount of make-up. However, it is expected that you will not do so at your desk.

Make it a point to complete your make-up at home before you head for the office. In case you need some touch up during the course of the day, make sure you do the same in the washroom.

7. Rude Bathroom Chatter

Make sure that you do not talk to someone who is using the restroom. At the same time, do not talk to others on the phone while doing your own business. Both of these activities are highly rude and unprofessional on your part and are definitely not encouraged in the workplace.

8. Do Not Bring Your Personal Problems To The Office

There is a thin boundary between your personal and professional lives and it is high time that Indians understood the same. Do not discuss things like your relationship with your boyfriend or the details of the divorce you just had with your colleagues.

Understand that you are in the office only to work and your fellow workers are not interested to know these details about your personal life. They are only pretending to be interested out of general courtesy. Make sure that you do not exploit that.

9. Soliciting Signatures, Volunteers And Donations

While we admit that the cause you are working for may be genuine and just, you have no right to go from cubicle to cubicle enlightening people about the same. Doing so will place your colleagues in an awkward situation and they will surely not like the same. Hence, it is advisable that you do not indulge in this form of unprofessional behavior.

10. Calling Your Colleague As Brother Or Sister

As stated earlier, the workplace is where you go to work. Hence, you must not try to build relationships here. Refer to your colleagues by their first or last names (whatever is the culture of your company). Do not go for things like ‘bro' or ‘sis'. It makes you appear highly unprofessional and may bring down people's respect for you.

11. Commenting On Someone’s Appearance

How a person dresses up for work is none of your concern. Also, nobody has given you any right to comment on someone's physique or body. Hence, make sure that you abstain from commenting on someone's appearance. Giving unsolicited advice over how they should tie their hair or how they should dress to work is a strict no-no as well.

12. Getting Drunk At Work

There are a number of companies which gives their employees free beer. This is all the way truer in the case of start-ups. Irrespective of whether your company gives you that or not, it is a bad idea to turn up drunk at work.

Being labelled as the ‘office drunk' makes people respect you much lesser than they normally would. Make sure that you do not let such a thing happen to you. That is why you should drink socially and responsibly both inside the office as well as in official gatherings that are hosted outside the workplace.

13. Avoiding Work Social Events

We understand that you might be an introvert who is not fond of any form of a social event whatsoever. However, the people at your workplace may not be this considerate. You avoiding the work-related social events may give them the image that you are not interested in the work itself. Since this is not true, make sure that you do not give out this sort of negative vibes.

By turning up at work-related social events you are assuring your colleagues about the degree of your professionalism.

14. Using Your Phone Way Too Much

While it is okay for you to sneak in a couple of casual personal phone calls into your working hours once in a while, it is not okay for you to be engrossed in your mobile phone for the entire duration when you are in office. Try to understand the thin line between what is okay and what is not and do not indulge in unprofessional behavior of any sort.

15. Poor Email Etiquettes

As much as it is important to know how to behave, it is equally important to know how to express the same in emails. Maintain your work culture there as well. The first and foremost way in which you can do this is by ensuring that all your emails have the appropriate subject lines.

Make sure that you use the Cc and Bcc options carefully and do not interchange them. Also do not make the emails appear more urgent than they are. Use the words ‘urgent' and ‘important' in your emails very carefully and make it a point not to overuse the same.

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