How many errors do UK adults make in their jobs?

Some said that they had replied all to a private email at work

Mustafa Mirreh
Monday 15 November 2021 12:14 GMT
Many workers said they had got away with making mistakes at work
Many workers said they had got away with making mistakes at work (AFP via Getty Images)

Many workers have made a ‘critical’ error in their job but got away with it.

A poll of 2,000 workers found one in five have made what they consider to be a critical mistake at work, and 12 per cent have taken a risk that cost their company money.

It also found one in six have replied all to a private email instead of just to one person and 12 per cent have left sensitive documents on their desk for others to see.

While more than one in 10 have forgotten to mute themselves and said something inappropriate on a work call.

Other errors include failing to hang up a phone properly before saying something about the person on the other end.

These mistakes have left many feeling stressed and panicked.

But while some faced repercussions from their error, almost half escaped being disciplined while other admitted that no-one ever found out about their mistake.

A further 30 per cent consider themselves to be ‘adrenaline junkies’ with 12 per cent taking more risks than ever before since the pandemic.

A spokesperson from data storage and information management firm, Iron Mountain, which commissioned the poll, said: “We are all human and make mistakes, but it can be stressful when you make one at work, and that stress can snowball into further errors.

“How organisations succeed in managing internal risk-taking is crucial, especially given the growing threats posed by remote working and cyber criminality.”

The study also found one third of working adults are willing to take a risk at work as long as they don’t get caught.

Although 42 per cent have made a mistake or taken a risk in their workplace which left them embarrassed, many are still willing to take major risks.

Almost one third admit to using the same passwords across multiple platforms, 26 per cent leave their computer unlocked and 16 per cent keep their password on a note on their desk.

Similarly, three quarters of employees do not see the value in using a privacy screen for their laptop on public transport.

More than six in 10 do not see forgetting to shred important documents as a risk, and 67 per cent would be happy to allow family and friends to use their work computer.

In spite of these vulnerabilities, 61 per cent still consider themselves risk averse at work.

The same number consider themselves risk averse when it comes to their personal finances, while 56 per cent avoid any risks in a relationship.

While just over half want to play it safe with their health, according to the study carried out via OnePoll.

Nearly one fifth of adults continue to save their personal card details as a pre-filled form with 16 per cent logging onto public wi-fi to complete their work.

The spokesperson for Iron Mountain added: “Fortunately, while it’s challenging to change human nature, you can change how you approach risk in the workplace.

“It’s important for organisations to build a strong strategy that considers the risks people are likely to take.

“We advise empowering every employee to become a risk ambassador by embedding risk awareness within your culture.

“This creates a safe space in which employees can innovate and business thrive by ensuring resilience is built into every stage of your business processes”.


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