Welcome to 2020! We have been looking ahead to what the new year might mean from a global perspective and thinking about our accuracy skills workshops and what might be in store for our participants this year… And we’ve found some similarities…
Imagine the scene: a group of people from different organisations, brought together to discuss ways of reducing data error. In the group are three or four payroll professionals. If you were one of them, what examples would you have of things that have gone wrong with your payroll? How about, continuing to pay someone long after they’ve left? Starting a new employee on the wrong salary? Paying part-time staff full-time rates? You undoubtedly have your own horror stories of things that have gone wrong, despite your clever payroll software, which promised to eliminate mistakes!
I’m ashamed to say the first thing I did this morning, and do every morning, is look at my mobile phone. Sound familiar? Research from this time last year by the UK’s regulator, Ofcom, reported that 40% of people check their phone within five minutes of waking up. Something tells me this figure is unlikely to have changed.
Even the best of us can improve what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Small incremental improvements to our ways of working, lead to big benefits over time. Start by conducting an audit of your regular tasks. Take a good hard look at the things you do and ask yourself if there are any improvements you can make to the way you do them. Identify small changes which, if consistently applied, will deliver significant productivity gains and improved results. It’s easy for things to slide if you don’t do this. Whilst a one per cent improvement delivers big benefits over weeks and months, a one per cent decline ends with catastrophic results!
How often do you feel stressed at work? Every day? Once a week? Maybe if you’re lucky just once in a blue moon? At one time or another you will have felt stressed at work. It might be because you’re late for a meeting or you’re feeling unwell. Or it might be because of the most common reason: the belief that you have too much to do.
‘Lessons will be learned’ is an often-repeated phrase trotted out by government ministers and heads of organisations when things have gone dreadfully wrong. In this short article we explore the importance of action rather than words in developing a genuinely blame-free working environment, where people are open about making, correcting and sharing the learning from their mistakes.
Have you ever felt sluggish returning to work after a break? This was me on my first Monday morning back after two and a half weeks off. Sitting at my desk, feeling strange to be in smart trousers and a shirt again, I found it very difficult to focus and kick my brain into gear. In the following days, I found myself getting overwhelmed by my workload, I tried to multi-task (and failed) and wasn’t handling interruptions or distractions effectively. I started to omit important details, I forgot to do things, and often I quickly lost focus. Whether you’ve just returned from a holiday, maternity leave or sick leave, we can all struggle adjusting. But by adopting an ‘accuracy mindset’ and being ‘present-minded’, you can prevent errors from causing problems and stay stress-free at work.
Emails are an essential part of our day-to-day work and it’s important we avoid making mistakes to communicate effectively. But there are many ways emails can go wrong and cause unexpected problems and frustration. Have you ever sent a message and suddenly realised you’ve addressed it to the wrong person, or you’ve forgotten to attach some essential files? I’ve made both these mistakes, and more, with my own emails, but over time have trained myself how to stop making the same errors. To avoid spending time doing re-work and be more productive, here are three simple, useful tips you can use when sending your next message.
Distractions and interruptions are an inevitable part of your working day. Humans are designed to be easily distracted, yet we expect ourselves to do work that requires complete focus. Your attention is drawn away from a task when the phone rings, or when your colleague offers a cup of tea, or when your manager asks a question. Interruptions like these might be small, but they disturb your train of thought, and have a big impact on your personal effectiveness. Let’s talk about three steps you can take to minimise distractions and get the job done.
Forgetting to do something is not surprising in our crowded, demanding day. Distractions, interruptions and an overwhelming array of things ‘to-do’, sometimes result in forgetfulness. A lot of mistakes emanate from oversights. Omission is one of the error-prevention topics we get asked about most. In this short article and accompanying video blog, we explore why we forget and how to ensure timely recall.
Accuracy Asides is the name of our accuracy blog
You get to hear about our latest accuracy course results, the real-life 'bloomers' which come to our attention and all the latest news and juicy gossip about errors! We share accuracy tips and advice too.