Sloppy Worker Wake-Up Call: Sweating the Small Stuff Matters

January 10, 2017

Canadian Survey: Lacking Attention to Detail Tops List of Annoying Coworker Behaviours​

Toronto, ON -- Want to get on your manager’s good side? Don’t let the details slide. In a new survey by staffing firm Accountemps, more than two in five (41 per cent) of Canadian CFOs cited lacking attention to detail or sloppy work as the most annoying behaviour by coworkers. For 27 per cent of respondents, gossiping or engaging in office politics was their biggest pet peeve, marking a slight increase from a similar survey in 2011.

CFOs were asked, “Which one of the following coworker behaviours annoys you the most?” Their responses*:

Lacking attention to detail or sloppy work


Gossiping or engaging in office politics


Missing deadlines


Being perpetually late


Presenting other’s ideas as one’s own




*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.


“Employees who consistently produce and deliver high-quality work are more likely to earn the respect of their managers and peers; building a reputation as a dependable, reliable and trustworthy coworker,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “Professionals at any level can benefit from slowing down to consider what changes they can make to their work style or environment, such as avoiding distractions like office gossip, to better focus their attention and spur productivity.”

To meet expectations for work quality — and avoid earning a reputation as a sloppy worker — Accountemps suggests professionals apply the following five strategies:

  1. Reduce distractions. Checking emails while proofreading a critical report or perusing social media while performing complicated calculations can lead to embarrassing mistakes. Set aside dedicated time to focus solely on a task while avoiding outside “noise” like texts and emails.
  2. Simplify big projects. Large and complex assignments can be overwhelming — which can, in turn, lead to procrastination. In the mad dash to meet a deadline, mistakes can easily be made. Avoid this scenario by dividing work into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  3. Take a break. Spending long hours on the computer can be exhausting. A short pause during the workday or stepping out of the office can help give fresh perspective when returning later to the assignment.
  4. Enlist help from your coworkers. Build time into the process for a trusted colleague to provide a “second pair of eyes” to check the accuracy and quality of your work. Be sure to acknowledge that person’s contributions and reciprocate in the future.
  5. Take time to assess expectations. Meet briefly with your manager at the start of a complex assignment to discuss goals and clarify any outstanding issues.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.


About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at Follow us at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]