You Should Never Do These Six Things on Company Time

Joe Weinlick
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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.

Photo courtesy of nenetus at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Craig Langaster thanks for your comment. No, these tips are not necessarily for newbies but for everyone. You might be surprised how much time is "wasted" - especially for numbers 1, 3 and 6. Stop and think how often you see yourself or someone else checking out Facebook or looking to see what President-Elect Trump has tweeted or checking your cellphone for text messages. We all do it - not just someone who is on their first gig. It's just something that is truly a time drain and we need to be aware of it.


    Who are these tip for - kid who have never had jobs?

  • Mercury E.
    Mercury E.

    Is that right ?

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