In the average office, it's not uncommon to see employees handling personal business or procrastinating with non-work activities while on company time. While most employers understand that you have a life outside work, there are a few things you must never do while on the clock.
1. Get Caught Up in Personal Drama
One of the worst things you can do is bring your personal problems to work with you. Arguing with someone over the phone or regaling your previous night's adventures inadvertently brings your coworkers into your personal matters, and that's not a good move. If you are truly going through a tough time, consider using a few personal days to get a handle on things. Many employers also offer employee assistance programs with counselors who can provide helpful advice and recommendations over the phone.
2. Work On Your Studies
It's never a great idea to do schoolwork while on company time, even if your employer is the one footing the tuition bill. In exchange for paying for your continued education, your employer expects you to handle your coursework outside work hours. If your boss specifically encourages you to catch up on your studies while on the clock, go ahead.
3. Sort Out Financial Affairs
Don't call your bank or financial advisor within earshot of your coworkers. You don't want others to know how you handle your personal finances, and it's unprofessional and impolite to others who have to work around you. Even if it doesn't bother you, it might make them uncomfortable. Try to wait until your lunch break or before or after your normal work hours.
4. Attend to Side Gigs
This should go without saying, but some employees actually perform duties for outside jobs while on company time. This is not only unprofessional, it could also land you in hot water with your boss. A side business or job is a great source of additional income, but it needs to be handled outside of company time.
5. Job Hunt
Looking for another job? Don't do it on company time. If you are caught, it can greatly damage your career and your reputation, not to mention irk your current employer. Do not use your company phone, email address, or time to search for other careers or respond to recruiters. This must be done before or after you come to work.
6. Browse Social Media
Checking in on Facebook or LinkedIn a couple times throughout the workday is fine, but don't let it get out of hand. Keeping your news feed open all day, constantly interacting with friends and posting regular updates can be big blunders when on company time. Set aside designated break times throughout your day to check your social media accounts briefly, then get right back to work.
It is perfectly acceptable to unplug from work for a bit and take a few mental breaks throughout the day. After all, you're a human, not a robot. However, minimizing distractions and improving the way you manage your time goes a long way toward relieving stress and increasing productivity while on company time.
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