Few things get you on your boss's bad side more than not taking the time to make sure all your i's are dotted and t's are crossed.
A new study from the staffing firm Accountemps found that 35 percent of executives said producing sloppy work because close attention wasn't paid to the details is the most annoying behavior by their employees.
Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps, said workers shouldn't rely on others to catch their mistakes.
"Organizations benefit when employees slow down to review a project carefully before submitting because there is less need for revisions later and reduced risk that uncaught mistakes damage the companies' reputation," Driscoll said in a statement. "Hitting the 'pause button' also allows professionals to think about how they work, and whether there are better and more innovative approaches they can take." [See Related Story: Grow Up! Childish Behavior Runs Rampant in the Office]
Accountemps offers employees several strategies for how to avoid being labeled as a sloppy worker:
- Eliminate distractions: Keep focused on the task at hand. Don't check your email, social media or text messages at the same time you are proofreading an important document or working on critical calculations. Not giving these important tasks your full attention is when mistakes are made.
- Divide things up: When working on a large and complex project, many workers are prone to procrastination. As the deadline nears, there is a mad scramble to finish the work up, which is when errors can be made. Avoid these situations by dividing up large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, so you aren't rushing to complete everything at the last minute.
- Take breaks: Sometimes spending hours and hours working on the same task can be draining. The more exhausted you are, the more likely you are to make a mistake. It is important to take a break or two during the day. This can give you a fresh perspective when returning to the assignment.
- Ask for help: Don't be afraid to ask co-workers to give important assignments and projects a second look. It never hurts to have someone with a fresh set of eyes check for any errors. It is important, though, when turning in the project, that you acknowledge the person's contributions and offer to help them edit their work in the future.
- Know what's expected: Before starting a big project, meet with your boss to go over the goals of the assignment and to clarify any questions you may have.
Turning in sloppy work isn't the only employee behavior that irks bosses. Gossiping and engaging in office politics, missing deadlines, being perpetually late and taking credit for the ideas of others are among the other behaviors that annoy managers most.
The study was based on surveys of more than 2,200 chief financial officers from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.