Back To Basics: Tips to Reduce Firefighting at Work

Published by Kathryn Anda, PEPworldwide on 29 September, 2014

When you are working in your job, there are many things that you must deal with every day in order to stay efficient. You may need to keep both your supervisor and your clients up to date at the same time, and there is also the need for you to complete all of your expected duties within your work day.

Nowadays, many people find that they are taking on a variety of roles in the workplace and with advanced technology designed to “make our daily jobs easier”, we actually seem to have more work to do and less time to complete it in! The result is that we tend to start firefighting and this can lead to fewer things  getting completed on time, or in the right way. Here are some tips to reduce firefighting in the workplace so that you can focus on those big rocks:

Plan out your workday

If you work with a planned timeline, every moment of your workday is accounted for, so it is easier to stay on track. You can stay the course and avoid derailment when you have a plan and cover all of the points that need to be covered in your timeline.

Solve problems, don’t patch them

When a problem arises, do you deal with it right away? Patched problems don’t go away, they recur or can lead onto and expand into new problems. If you find that you are patching more problems than you are solving, it is time to take a closer look at what is going on in your workplace. Start finding ways to solve problems in order to take pressure off of yourself and others in your workplace.

Increase performance by eliminating firefighting

Workplace “firefighting” places a lot of stress and pressure on staff and can cause a serious drop in performance. It is best to identify areas where challenges are occurring and find long term activities as well as in depth problem solving to address issues immediately.  

Stop and refocus the energy of your team.  Go back to the drawing board and reassign or reaffirm goals, objectives and responsibilities. This is one of the best ways to get your team to work as a unit and to avoid spot fires. Once you have focused the energy of your team, you will find that there is less of a need for firefighting, because each person is fully aware of what is expected of them.

What tip do you have to add?

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