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What does it mean to be proactive at work?
You might've seen "be proactive" in the requirements section of a job ad, or perhaps your boss wants you to "be more proactive". If you're unsure of what this means, or what you can actually do to be proactive, read on.
Toye Oladinni
2022-09-28
Career Resources

Work can be difficult when you feel as though you are constantly on the back foot, reacting to situations and putting out fires. Along with the stress that comes with it, being reactive all the time means that you won’t have time to get in front of issues, and think up ways to improve your current processes and optimise them. 

Being proactive will give you the opportunity to resolve problems more effectively, and give you the chance to stand out among other employees. If you want to be more proactive at work, this article will let you know how. 

Stay Curious

Curiosity means that you’ll have a firm grasp of what is going on at your company - it might mean talking to other workers there and finding out what exactly they do, what their concerns are, or what the general state of your industry is.

All of this will allow you to identify areas for improvement later down the line, or head off small issues that could turn into big problems with time. In fact, in a survey of over 3000 workers, over 90% of them gave credit to introducing new ideas into their company to curious employees. We all know that work can get overwhelming, but if you can get your head up and look around, you’ll spot opportunities more often. 

Get your priorities in order

Prioritising tasks means getting them into list form, and then ranking them depending on how important they are. Some tasks at work need to be accomplished ASAP, and others can wait for a little while longer. 

The main point to prioritise your tasks is that once you’ve gotten the most important ones out of the way, you’ll have more of a chance to get your head up and look ahead to the future. Since most managers spend fewer than 4 hours doing this for their workers, it’s likely that you’ll have to do it yourself, but it can come with huge benefits in terms of proactivity. 

Test your theories

Part of being proactive means a certain degree of trial and error - responding to situations is fairly cut and dry, but trying things that have never been done before will always have an element of risk. One way to minimise this risk is to test your theories on how to generate new value for your company. 

For example, if you think you’ve identified a new trend in what your target market wants, you might want to have a look at your company’s data, and see if anything can be found to justify your theory. You could also go to your boss with an idea for some market research, to try and get ahead of trends before they become widely known in your market. 

These have been inploi’s top tips on how to stay proactive at work. We hope this article has given you a better chance of staying on the front foot. If you want more advice on the world of work, be sure to keep up with inploi’s community page, where articles are posted weekly. 

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