Careless mistakes on the rise
I don’t have a great eye for detail. Never have. I was one of those kids whose parents got the school report note “could do better if greater care taken.” So it’s something I’ve had to work on a lot over the years, leaning to check and double-check my own work. And even then I still make careless mistakes. So you can bet that if I see an error in something, it’s because it’s absolutely glaring. As in massive. They are the type of mistakes that would send my perfectionist colleagues into hyperventilation. But now I am starting to find that I no longer trust the work of others either, because the level of careless mistakes seems to be so high and on the increase.
I am now at the point where I have started checking everything that I have delegated or outsourced. The time this takes is significant and I have even worried if I am becoming paranoid.
But even a quick chat to colleagues and some research would say that I am not.
3 reasons careless mistakes are on the increase
These errors can be in missed or forgotten meetings, incomplete or late follow through, errors in assigned work either typos or conceptual misunderstandings. [Tweet “Do you waste masses of time checking on other people?” There seems to be a number of reasons for the increase in careless mistakes. Some put it down to multi-tasking or just the modern working environment.
#1 Interruptions and distractions
Research from the US suggests that:
” U.S. employees at large-sized companies (1000 employees or more) only spend 45 percent of their time on primary job duties. So what about the other 55 percent of the time? Their respondents reported spending 14 percent of their workweek on email (which is believable, as 91 percent reported that they use email to communicate with their team). The other 40 percent of their working hours were spent on meetings, administrative tasks, and “interruptions.”
#2 Working on the fly
Others say it’s around constant availability and pressure and tracking tasks over several devices. The smart phone I certainly believe is a key contributor, as everyone tries to complete tasks on small hand-held devices, in an attempt to be timely or look efficient. Working on small screens may also play a part in the rise of careless mistakes. Read: Own your own social media addiction
#3 Lack of quiet space
The open office was originally thought up by a team from Hamburg, Germany, in the nineteen-fifties, to improve communication and idea flow. But increasingly it is thought that open plan offices have many downsides related to stress and interruptions. Some would say they are bad for your health. Many companies are allowing employees to wear headphones at work to block out intrusive ambient noise. This may block out the noise, but it also blocks out other necessary communication, which can be vital to a project or piece of work. No wonder organizations offer Mindfulness training. Read: Overcoming anxiety. the promise of Mindfulness
Breakdown of trust
The main long-term fallout, aside from wasted time and energy is the breaking down of trust between people who are collaborating. No one can totally trust the content of anything anyone does anymore.
I know I am not a perfectionist and my expectations are not unfairly high. I believe that I have given enough time to complete any tasks, although I do believe that freelancers routinely over promise, over schedule and then under deliver.
The irony is that what was intended to make our lives easier to manage, and are workplaces more effective, has only served to make them more complicated and time-consuming. Our unstructured and distracted way of working is fuelling sloppy work and even more careless mistakes. [Tweet “I am not sure what that says about the workplaces of the future”]. What do you do when the quality of work is becoming unreliable or inconsistent?
We are all going to have to start to change our daily habits now! Read Habits to build resilience
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