Ah, December. Holiday parties, shopping and panicked employees begging for overtime so they can buy the latest uber craze for their children. It is also the time of year when many a department end is scrambling to finish their end of the year reports and projections and losing countless hours of work time, not to mention sleep in the process. This coming year, marks not only a new page on the calendar but a new, better method of doing business for you. Let this coming year see your company resolving to do things the right way for change. Instead of panicking at midnight on December 31st, it is time for your company to:


Set a Timeline that Starts in January and Ends in December
 
Think of the major tasks that need to be completed for your business. Divide these tasks into quarterly, monthly and weekly tasks. Each of these can be handled by one particular division or department and should be done within the timeframe. Set a definite deadline and then make sure that the person or persons responsible know what that deadline is.

The end of the year report should have a deadline no later than the twentieth of December to account for vacations and holidays. This calendar should be printed out and given to each department, posted several places and permanently saved to your computer. You can even set your computer to remind you (or others) that a deadline is looming.

Break tasks into smaller, achievable goals
 
If you know that you have a quarterly report due in April, you should start gathering and compiling data as it becomes available. While you cannot pre-write it, you can start some of the baseline tasks so that all you will have to do is fill in the data once it is available to you.

Keep up communication and dialogue
 
So, there you sit at the end of the year trying to get a report completed when you realize that you do not have the absenteeism report from HR. You cannot finish without this vital piece of information. You call and email, text and page but you cannot get a single member of the department – all out partying and having a good time while you are banging your head on your desk in a deserted office building.

The problem is not only did HR drop the ball and not tell you what was going on; they failed to mention that the report was given to your secretary, a temp, who “filed” it in a big basket under her desk because she did not know what to do with it and did not want anyone to know.

The incompetence of temps notwithstanding, it should be firmly established who gives what information to whom, how it is delivered and when it is expected by. Going back to the calendar, a notation that says “report due today” is not going to cut it. It should say what kind of report, from what department, who will prepare it and who it will be handed or sent to- and what time of day it is expected so there are no questions and no excuses left to give. 

 

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