Companies like to promote positive work ethics because it often results in happier and more productive employees. Just as it is important to understand a positive work ethic, however, it is equally important to recognize the signs of a negative work ethic. Negative work ethics may be the behavior of a single individual or something more systematic; regardless of the specifics, identifying the signs is the first step toward correcting it.
The most obvious sign of a negative work ethic is a lack of productivity. CNN cites procrastination at the top of its list of bad work habits; an employee who rushes through assignments or waits until the last minute to complete them often turns in lower quality work, as well as running the risk of missing a deadline. Furthermore, lack of productivity costs the company time and money: essentially paying the employee for doing nothing. While breaks in the workday and brief relaxers are necessary for a productive employee, a lax employee can't tell the difference between taking a break and wasting time.
A positive work ethic means showing up on time every time, and using sick days for their designated purpose rather than a vacation by proxy. A negative work ethic, on the other hand, looks to get the most out of the system, according to CNN: often showing up tardy and taking full advantage of sick days and other dates. Furthermore, the way an employee reacts to lax attendance may say a lot about his work ethic. A good worker, for instance, may arrive late every once in a while, but also stays late to make up the time. A bad worker will assume that showing up late is normal, and do so beyond the range of what the company considers acceptable.
Related Reading: Meaning of Professionalism and Work Ethic
Every company experiences a certain amount of office politics, as different departments compete for different resources and personal peccadilloes enter into otherwise professional relationships. Someone with a negative work ethic, however, may let office politics consume him: stoking the fires of discontent around a perceived rival and worried more about his comparative standing than the well-being of the company as a whole. Such employees might even instigate political crises, forcing senior management to spend time and resources calming everyone down rather than getting along with the business at hand.
A good company seeks to foster camaraderie and loyalty among their workers: making them feel like family members as much as employees toiling for a salary. Someone with a negative work ethic, however, fails to engage in office esprit de corps. It may be a repeated refusal to participate in company activities such as picnics or mixers. Or in worse cases, it may entail bad-mouthing the company or specific employees in public forums such as Facebook. In any case, such negativity often has repercussions in the workplace and can harm the sense of unity among other employees.
Robert Vaux has been a professional writer and editor since 1995. He has traveled throughout Europe and North America as well as parts of North Africa. Since 2000 he has been a professional movie critic at Flipside Movie Emporium, the Sci-Fi Movie Page and Mania.com. Vaux has a Master of Arts in English literature from Syracuse University.
To view the article in full click here