Producing sloppy work is the employee behavior that annoys bosses most.
- Even small mistakes can slow down the production of a company.
- Eliminating distractions, taking breaks, asking for help when it's needed and knowing what's expected of you are a few strategies you can use to help stay on your boss's good side.
- Before you even think about submitting work, check and double-check every part of the task for accuracy. Use online tools to help ensure your work is the best it can be before submitting it to your boss.
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 previous study from the staffing firm Accountemps found that 35 % 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.
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, 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 discuss he 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.
Additional tips for checking your work
Accuracy is critical no matter what type of job you have, misleading your employer, your client or your co-workers because of mistakes, there may be repercussions. Without learning from your mistakes, you may miss a big opportunity. How do you go about ensuring your work is mistake-free? Here are some tips for checking your work:
Slow down. Sometimes you just need to slow down. Many mistakes happen because of rushing through work or because you may not have taken your time doing the work. It's important to do the job right and then worry about getting faster.
Practice, practice and practice more. If you perform some tasks less often then it's more likely that you will make mistakes, so practice and take special care on these kinds of tasks.
Create checklists. If the task you are doing requires different steps in the process, use a checklist to make sure all of the steps are completed properly. If you find a mistake, fix it along the way instead of waiting until the work is done and checking everything all together.
Do not proofread until finished. If you make major changes while you are still in the process of doing a task, such as writing a report, the changes may alter the entire content of the report. Wait until the report is completed, and then proofread and make necessary changes to avoid altering the integrity of the report.
Sentence by sentence. When proofreading work, whether it involves numbers or words, analyze sentence by sentence. Don't read the document in your usual manner; instead, focus on the grammar, spelling and punctuation. With numbers, verify decimal points are in the correct location.
Facts, dates, tables and references. Check all of these and anything else that is repetitive or outside of the main content very carefully; focus on one element or several related aspects until you are sure everything is correct.
- Spellcheck. Yes, you should use spellcheck, but do not rely solely on it.
Tools for checking your work
Punctuation and grammar checking tools are ideal for highlighting grammatical mistakes in emails, reports, essays and other types of text. These tools also provide suggestions to improve your content. These types of software provide countless benefits, such as allowing you to improve your skills and saving you valuable time. Two of the most popular tools for checking your work include:
ProWritingAid: This tool is a grammar checker and style editor all in one. Not only does it assist with writing grammatically correct, but it will also remove errors along the way. ProWritingAid ensures you that your writing will not be awkward or clumsy, because the tool analyzes your writing to eliminate vague words, inconsistencies, repetitiveness and provides correct use of voice. It integrates with MS Word, Google Docs, Google Chrome, Scrivener and Open Office. The price for ProWritingAid varies from $70 for a one-year plan to $240 for a lifetime plan.
- Grammarly: This is one of the most popular grammar checkers used. The platform offers a free online text editor and free browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Grammarly can fix more than 150 types of errors. When you copy and paste the text, all mistakes are automatically flagged. Grammarly detects errors, such as grammar, punctuation, contextual spelling, writing style and sentence structure. It can be effectively used for emails, reports, essays, etc., and it gives you an explanation of the mistakes and offers to replace the errors. Pricing ranges from a free plan with basic writing corrections to $12.50 a month on an annual basis for members with the business plan.