Discover Career Opportunities

Are You Spending Too Much Time Putting Out Fires At Work?

put out fire

We may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. For more information, please see our disclosure policy.

We all hope for each day at work to go smoothly, however unexpected problems can and will occur. In some cases, it’s possible to put off dealing with these problems. In other cases, problems have to be immediately dealt with. These emergency ‘fires’ can be a real nuisance – particularly if they start to become very frequent. You could find yourself getting interrupted by other tasks and then having to frantically catch up with tasks to meet deadlines. On top of costing you time, some of these emergencies could also cost you money. The stress of dealing with these emergencies could also start to wear you down.

All in all, you don’t want to be putting out fires at work too frequently. If you are constantly attending to crises, then it could be time to make some serious changes. Below are some tips for business owners and managers looking to reduce disasters at work. 

Take time to plan

Launching into each new task without planning is certain to result in problems. You’re more likely to overlook challenges if you haven’t planned. This is why it’s important to always have a clear strategy before undertaking something new.

Problems can also occur as a result of having to rush tasks due to not scheduling enough time for them. Scheduling out each day can help you to give each task the attention it deserves. Make room in your schedule for the unexpected – if your schedule is too tight, it may only take a single unexpected phone call to throw it off course. 

Invest in preventative maintenance

Many tech disasters can be prevented by investing in maintenance. Instead of waiting for machines to break in order to fix them, consider carrying out regular inspections to detect problems early. This allows you to arrange repairs before a breakdown occurs (you may also be able to arrange repairs out of working hours to reduce any downtime). 

Certain faults may also be possible to prevent by cleaning and storing equipment correctly. When you neglect your equipment, problems are more likely to occur. The same goes for filing systems – these should be regularly organised to prevent errors as a result of not being able to find files or choosing the wrong file. 

Don’t skimp on security

Security breaches can be costly and can take lots of time to put right. It’s important to invest in good security measures to reduce the risk of breaches. 

Start by considering cybersecurity – make sure that all your data is password protected and backed up. Make sure to use strong passwords and change them regularly. Meanwhile, if you have physical premises, make sure that you have some kind of access control in place to stop unwanted people getting access to important data. Security cameras could also be worth installing to detect and deter crime. 

If you are constantly attending to crises, then it could be time to make some serious changes. Below are some tips for business owners and managers looking to reduce disasters at work. Click To Tweet

Be health and safety conscious

Some of the worst disasters you can experience are employee and customer injuries. By paying attention to health and safety, you make sure that these types of disasters are minimised.

Start by investing in necessary safety equipment. Then consider ways of making your work premises more safe such as adding barriers, adding warning signs, improving flooring and improving air quality. In some cases, it could be worth enforcing rules to keep people safe. 

Spend time training your staff

Are you constantly having to fix mistakes made by employees? Some mistakes could be ironed out by taking the time to train each employee. Step-by-step protocol may be worth introducing to make sure that tasks are done thoroughly – you can then train employees to follow these steps. On top of providing one-on-one training, consider creating a handbook so that employees have something to refer back to. 

Training can also be useful for preventing injuries. Make sure to provide all your staff members with thorough health and safety training. 

Communicate clearly and effectively

Poor communication can also lead to mistakes. When it comes to giving instructions, make sure that you are clear with people so your instructions cannot be misinterpreted. Reiterating important information could be useful to remind people.

Make sure that you also involve all the right people in your communication. Many problems can occur when people are left out of important conversations. Consider all the potential people who may need to be informed and make sure that they are all aware. 

Put it in writing

Putting information in writing makes it easier for you and others to refer back to it. No matter how clearly you communicate things orally, people may still forget details. Consider putting the most important details in writing to stop this from happening. 

Well written legal contracts are very important as they can help to outline promises and requirements. By making sure that contracts are legally tight, you could potentially prevent future lawsuits and cases where people may exploit loopholes

Know when to hire and outsource support

You may not be able to prevent all fires from occurring, but you can hire people to help you deal with them. This could be particularly beneficial for disasters that are out of your area of expertise. For example, IT consulting for SMEs could be worth looking into to help deal with IT disasters that you may not have the knowledge to deal with efficiently. 

Outsourcing is the best way to invest in support if you are a relatively small company. Larger companies may want to hire in-house support. Hiring assistant managers and niche experts could help to take certain responsibilities off your hands so that you’re not the one constantly attending to fires. This gives you more time to focus on other business tasks. 

Learn from past mistakes

Mistakes happen. What matters is whether you can learn from them and prevent them from occurring again. When a mistake occurs, don’t just solve it and move on – take action to prevent that mistake happening again. You then won’t have to deal with the frustration of having to fix the same problems over and over again.

What's next?

home popular resources subscribe search