6 Bad Work From Home Habits That Are Ruining Performance Reviews, According to Managers

a woman slacking off while working from home


Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k

The few years have been unusual ones, to say the least. Many (if not the majority!) of us have had a difficult time figuring out the expectations for this new world of work.

Nobody was prepared for this transition, but that doesn’t mean supervisors aren’t still expecting you to work through it. We asked managers across industries about their pet peeves when it comes to remote work and how they've wreaked havoc on employees’ performance reviews. They reported these are the habits that can negatively impact a performance review in our remote world: 

1. Failing to showcase your accomplishments.

“One thing I noticed in myself and other women is a reluctance to share your accomplishments,” Meghan Titzer says. “Then when it comes time for the performance review, it doesn't include all the great work you did because your boss (and others) just didn't know! I try to be better about this myself and encourage others to do so, and champion others' work if I think they're being shy.”

“A failure to track your accomplishments and to regularly share them with your manager can negatively impact your performance review,” Jennifer Mobley agrees. “Tracking your accomplishments weekly and sharing with your manager on a quarterly basis will help you build a comprehensive record that shows your impact over time.”

Mobley advises employees to give their managers bullet points that clearly and succinctly demonstrate their impact on the organization: how you helped make or save money or contributed in additional concrete ways. This, she says, is the best way to help employees advance into leadership roles. 

2. Requiring too much handholding.

During the pandemic, everyone is dealing with a great deal of stress. Managers can’t keep looking over their employees’ shoulders, both figuratively and literally. The people who are able to manage their responsibilities and maintain a positive outlook, while going above and beyond, will ultimately succeed.

The employees who are more likely to be promoted are those who are “keeping the wheels on the bus without a lot of handholding,” according to Jacquelyn Lloyd.

3. Not communicating properly.

Failing to communicate with team members about what they’re working on or any obstacles they encounter could also reflect poorly in your performance review, according to Karen Mattox. 

Problems can always escalate, and that will impact the organization negatively, when, of course, you were hired to contribute positively.

“Leaving work in a state that causes problems for others' work, without notifying them” is a related issue that won’t set employees up for a review, Mattox adds.

4. Being unreliable.

“In today’s environment, trust is paramount,” says Maryam Tse. “Managers must give employees broad flexibility, and in return, employees need to honor that trust and deliver on commitments. Missing deadlines without advanced warning or explanation, performing sub-par work, or being unreliable in other ways put the manager in a difficult situation and consequently would lead to poor performance reviews.” 

What should you do instead, especially during this uncertain climate? “Putting oneself in the manager’s shoes and anticipating the needs of the team is a way to stay ahead of the game and create goodwill and trust,” Tse says.

5. Neglecting responsibilities.

Katrina McNair opines that showing up to work late often will reflect poorly on employees and their work ethic. If you’re working remotely now, this might translate into being unreachable during business hours — a sign that you’re not actually working at all — something Mattox also comments is a poor habit, especially combined with not performing to expectations.

McNair adds that taking personal calls and spending work time talking to coworkers about issues unrelated to work is problematic, too. 

6. Constant complaining.

Another red flag work habit? “Complaining about things that are going wrong or need to be changed without coming up with any good solutions,” according to McNair. 

That means you’re highlighting or even being part of the problem without coming up with an alternative or way to fix it. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re exhibiting these behaviors at a time when you should be demonstrating you're an invaluable player at your organization — as you should, of course, be doing during any time, supervisors will have a hard time delivering positive feedback when performance reviews roll around. 

“Employees should have these skills before entering a workplace or learn about how to obtain them while working,” McNair says. “This will show their managers that they have the ability to improve themselves and focus on working hard for an organization.”

At the same time, managers will understand if you’re dealing with undue stress caused by or related to the pandemic. If that’s the case, be sure to let your supervisor know. More than likely, they’ll understand.

“I think in general, employers are going to give a great deal of leeway in reviews this year,”  Jacquelyn Lloyd says.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for those participating in performance reviews this year? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!