Categories
Work Environment

8 Ways to Strengthen Your Work Team Culture

How is your work team culture? If it’s time to evaluate this important part of the business, then it’s ideal to keep these tips in mind. Read more below.

 

Team culture is more than a buzzword – it affects your ability to retain talent, the cohesion and productivity of your workers, the quality of your output, and your reputation both within the industry and on the job market.

 

Your team and company culture are representative of the kind of leadership you endorse and promote, and the kind of behavior you seek out and reward. And when leveraged in the right way, your team culture can be an incredibly powerful tool for attracting talent and outlasting the competition – even while fully remote.

 

Why Team Culture Matters – Especially When Remote

 

Team culture is a selection of things but might best be summed up by the cross-section between what you want your company to be, and what your company really is.

 

We all have our own missions and visions, our own aspirations and dreams – and while we may not completely live up to them, striving to come as close as possible is an ideal in and of itself. In doing so, we promote and encourage specific behaviors and actions, and hire specific people. That’s what determines a team’s culture.

 

Good work team culture can lead to:

 

      • Better talent retention.
      • Improved reputation.
      • Greater productivity.

 

But what does it take to develop a good team culture, even while remote? We’re going to go over 8 simple ways you can ensure that your team remains in high spirits, even when far apart.

 

1. Engage the Team

 

Engage the team often, even if only remotely. Leverage coworking spaces and events as means to meet in person, make sure individual team members understand that they are part of something larger.

 

Coworking spaces are also an excellent way to onboard new hires during the pandemic, before transitioning them into remote work (or letting them continue in a coworking space while the main office remains at capacity).

 

Encouraging employees to work together as often as possible, so long as it is safe as per locally mandated social distancing rules, can help reduce the impact of remote work on team cohesion and camaraderie, as well as limit the effects of isolation caused by the pandemic.

 

2. Encourage Feedback Often

 

Frequent feedback and communication are the backbones of any successful team – and that goes for the team’s culture, as well. If you want to get a better understanding of where you might be lacking in the management department, just ask the people being managed.

 

3. Provide Time and Opportunity to Develop Relationships

 

You can’t expect much of a culture to develop when your team members barely have time to introduce themselves to one another, much less get to know each other outside of a purely professional context.

 

Even remotely, you can facilitate and allow for greater relationships within the team through off-topic chat groups, weekly or monthly remote events (from puzzle night to party video games), mutual lunches and breaks (getting together on-call to snack or take a walk outside), and more. Coworking spaces are also an excellent opportunity for teams in a single city or region to get together occasionally and work on projects in closer (and safe) proximity.

 

4. Focus on Refinement and Learning

 

Another way to promote a healthier work culture is to ensure that team members understand the importance of advancement – particularly self-advancement.

 

Encourage and provide opportunities for learning new skills, taking on coursework alongside work, developing in new ways for the good of the company (and one’s career), and making sure that each team member feels continuously challenged to learn new things and grow as a professional.

 

5. Managers and Leaders Should Embody the Company

 

In other words, lead by example – and adhere to core values. A CEO that demands that the team crunches on a certain project but doesn’t bring the same work ethic to the office when things are in a tight spot won’t get the respect they need to build a strong team.

 

If your vision is to be an innovator in your space, you need to be open to new ideas and encourage outside-the-box thinking at work, rather than shooting down new hires when they bring something else to the table.

 

6. Celebrate and Laud Accomplishments

 

Did you guys just land a huge new client? Finish off a grueling project? Why not treat the team to a little celebratory get-together? Regardless of whether it’s a virtual event or something in-person, a little company-sponsored treat can go a long way to helping team members feel appreciated.

 

7. Give Team Members the Chance to Prove Themselves

 

Some people don’t have what it takes to lead a team. But any competent team member should have what it takes to be responsible for their own time and resources – and deliver on projects with the freedom to spend their time as they please.

 

Instead of micromanaging each aspect of the team’s work and burdening your team with spyware to try and log their hours as accurately as possible, give them increased responsibilities and the trust they deserve to manage their workload as best suits them, take breaks when they see fit, and provide for their own productivity and creativity.

 

In the same vein, however, good managers and leaders need to keep in mind that many team members will crunch themselves into burnout to try and keep up with a company’s rate of production. If you feel that a team member is starting to unravel or is potentially taking on much more than they should, feel free to check in on them regularly and give them the option of moving projects around, or giving the signal that they might not be able to handle their workload alone.

 

It’s good for the bottom line when a single employee manages to do the work of two people – but in the long-term, management like that will cause workers to burn themselves out on 16-20-hour shifts, leading to more mistakes, more hours spent fixing problems that could have been avoided entirely, a toxic workplace culture, and a poor reputation on the job market and elsewhere.

 

8. Review Your Own Team Culture

 

No improvement is complete without reflection – and there will come the time when you must consider how the changes you’ve implemented affect your working culture, and the environment you’re fostering for both existing team members and new talent.

 

Every year or so, consider doing a work culture audit to get a sense of how the rest of your team feels about your approach to fostering a healthy and productive work culture, whether any specific changes over the past year were especially well-received or poorly received, whether any that were poorly received were eventually accepted or even liked (and vice versa), and what each team member feels the general direction of the company should be.

 

Get an idea of how your company seems to reflect on those who work in it – and what decisions they would make in your shoes to improve it.

 

Ultimately, it’s entirely up to you to act on whatever information an audit like that would bring you – but its biggest benefit is the increased insight it gives you into each team member’s thoughts on the company, as well as the team’s attitude as a whole.

 

Conclusion

 

It takes time to alter and improve a company’s team culture. Never forget that the people you are working with are more than just a dispensable resource – they’re individuals with vastly different perspectives and experiences, each of which brings a unique value to the table.

 

Categories
Work Environment

How to Deal with Incompetent Coworkers in A Shared Workspace

Aside from the benefits that are part of a shared workspace, there are also challenges that may arise such as dealing with incompetent coworkers. Below are a few tips to better handle this.

 

An unprofessional, annoying, or incompetent coworker is the bane of any professional workspace. But they aren’t avoidable, and many can slip into a professional setting without hinting at the problems they’re about to bring upon your organization.

 

However, that doesn’t mean you should simply let their incompetence stand.

 

Whether you’re another worker or a team leader, there are a few things you should consider doing (and they don’t involve immediately tattling to the management or firing them on the spot).

 

Do Not Vent to Other Coworkers

 

First things first – maintain professional common sense in this kind of situation. Under no circumstances should you turn an incompetent coworker into a gossip topic.

 

While it might be really easy to succumb to this, and just blow off a little steam by badmouthing the one employee, it’s definitely not worth it.

 

Perpetuating an atmosphere that encourages gossip can be extremely toxic and does not make for a healthy work environment.

 

Document Everything You Can

 

The worst thing you can do when talking to someone a little higher up about what’s been going on is to come to them with pure hearsay. You need evidence, witnesses, and information. Gather as much of it as you can and keep it ready.

 

Most importantly, talk to them.

 

An annoying and incompetent coworker might be really difficult to work with, but there could be a good reason – not one that excuses incompetence, but one that might help you get them the time they need to sort out their problems before returning to work for a second chance.

 

Leave Emotions Out of It

 

Do not let things get out of hand, regardless of whether you’re the manager/leader of the group, or another fellow worker.

 

When an incompetent employee is being unreasonable in a professional setting, it’s not an excuse to drop all pretense and make things ugly.

 

Regardless of what words get flung around, do NOT resort to ad hominem attacks. Do NOT vent to other coworkers outside of the office.

 

If you find yourself close to a breaking point – take a break. It’s definitely not worth exploding and making a scene simply for the satisfaction of finally being able to say what you’ve been wanting to say all along.

 

Regardless of your position, do NOT let yourself get burned in the long-term for letting things get out of hand with someone who has dug themselves a professional grave.

 

 

Don’t Pick Up Their Slack

 

If you’re witnessing a coworker being sloppy with their work, your first instinct might be to ‘help’. But there’s a limit to how much help can actually do any good.

 

If it’s clear that your coworker is going through a genuinely tough time (or they mention it), then helping them is the right thing to do. It will be appreciated, and you know that their problems are temporary.

 

But if you decide to ‘help’ with a coworker who is refusing to do the work properly, all you’re doing is giving them even less of a reason to change or improve, while erasing any evidence of their incompetence.

 

If a coworker is unwilling to pull their weight, they shouldn’t count on others simply doing the work for them.

 

Furthermore, it sends a terrible message to the other workers in the group. They won’t be held accountable and won’t be as proud of their work as they should. They put in hard hours to see this business flourish while one person gets to take it easy without serious repercussions.

 

Yes, everyone has their limits, and there are variables in how much weight one person can pull. Some work harder and better than others, as expected. But when it’s clear that a coworker simply isn’t even doing their level best, that needs to stand on its own.

 

Unless it’s clear that they need help, and unless it’s an incredibly minor task, do not help. That’s where empathy stops, and manipulation (on their part) begins.

 

Be Prepared to Remove Them

 

If you’re the group leader or manager for an organization at a shared workspace, then it’s your responsibility to maintain a healthy work environment.

 

Even if you don’t own the space and share it with other businesses and workers, your team is your responsibility – the workers under your command reflect on you, and the organization, and externally, that reflects on the entire space.

 

That means knowing when it’s time to remove someone from your group.

 

Firing a worker unjustly is the last thing a small organization should do, but when there’s no room for growth or improvement, and it’s clear that the relationship you have with your coworker is adversarial at best, having them removed would be the healthiest thing to do – and the health of the business comes first.

 

The last thing you may do is fragment your team, either as a member of the team itself or as its manager. But regardless of how you feel about potentially creating a wedge, it’s important to know where you believe your priorities should lie.

 

In most cases, it’s better to prioritize a healthy and productive workspace and a business that can continue to do work for its clients, than to avoid a confrontation with an incompetent coworker, who is unwilling to change or adapt.

 

Conclusion

 

It’s not a matter of cruelty or empathy – the needs of the organization come before the needs of the individual, and a difficult coworker isn’t just a problem for your group or business, but for the entire coworking space, putting not only them in a bad light, but your business, and in turn, the space itself (which can definitely hurt your reputation with its owners).

 

If you’re a coworker, document your coworker’s shortcomings to maintain evidence of their incompetence. Also, ask why they’re not finishing tasks.

 

If you’re a manager, then know that this is part of the job. An effective leader knows when it’s time to give leeway and push, and when it’s time to cut someone out of the organization entirely. Take responsibility.

 

Categories
Work Environment

9 Ways to Practice Mindfulness in the Workplace

It’s very easy to overlook our mental health when we have a full list of tasks to do each day. But to prevent burnout and becoming overly stressed, below are 9 ways to practice mindfulness in the workplace.

 

Mindfulness is more than just a means of paying attention to your surroundings or attempting to be aware of what you’re doing. Mindfulness is a state of mind describing a sense of being in the moment, of being aware, and of embracing a healthier perspective. 

 

To be mindful is to calm yourself from a reactionary state, and instead choose to be attentive. It’s to focus your time and energy on a single thing, rather than go on autopilot. And to pull yourself out of a daydream and be productive. 

 

Mindfulness has its distinct advantages in life, especially as part of a mental exercise program to combat anxiety, irritability, and depression. Many mindfulness exercises are rooted in the ideas already established and researched through cognitive behavioral therapy, wherein patients are taught to be cognizant of how their disorder affects their thoughts and behaviors, and how they can recognize those errant thoughts and replace them. 

 

Patients are taught to be mindful above all else and recognize when they need to step out of their head and take in the moment around them. 

 

These lessons aren’t exclusive to people with serious mental health issues. Mindfulness can be a great protective tool for preventing burnout, reducing the long-term impact of stress, and being aware of your own mental health and your boundaries (and how your work might be affecting them).

 

Mindfulness in the Workplace

 

Research shows that mindfulness provides a number of benefits, including reduced aggression and stress, as well as improved productivity and sociability. By incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine at work, you can become more focused and improve the rate at which you get things done, and help you become open to opportunities for learning and growth – critical aspects of career-building that, when ignored, can lead to a sense of stagnation and dissatisfaction with one’s work. 

 

One of the key factors behind the effectiveness of mindful practices at work is that it decreases mental rumination or breaks from focused cognitive activities. 

 

It also helps boost what is normally referred to as your “working memory,” and allows for greater cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt to situations and think on the fly), as well as much less emotional reactivity (learning to disengage from distractions and upsets, and focus on productive tasks and activities). 

 

Yet for many, implementing mindfulness in the workplace is far easier said than done. Most people feel they don’t have time to meditate in the mornings or begin doing mindfulness exercises at their desk. 

 

But practicing mindfulness doesn’t require a huge time commitment or drastic lifestyle overhauls. You can become more mindful in your daily life and reap those benefits in your professional life through a few simple ways. 

 

1. Start Your Day with a Task Journal

 

It might seem a tad simplistic or overdone to start this list with a journal, but this is not the same as writing a self-reflecting journal or starting a diary to keep track of your mental state. 

 

Think of this as a slightly expanded to-do list, meant to help give you the chance to start the day with a list you can work through step-by-step throughout the workday. 

 

A task journal also lets you time yourself, and review over the weeks how you spend your day, and where you might want to improve your efficiency or swap tasks around to make the most of your time. 

 

2. Take 5-Minute Mindfulness Breaks Regularly

 

A 30-minute meditative session is a utopian goal for most people with busy workdays. But a 5-minute break is easy to fit in. Even if you pride yourself on never taking breaks, the truth is that we don’t run well on fumes. There is a chance that if you never give yourself any room to breathe, you’re running your long-term productivity into the ground. 

 

Every hour or two, take five minutes to get up from your station and be mindful. Use the opportunity to get a glass of water and focus on each sip, make a cup of coffee and focus on the process of making it, or step out into the balcony and be mindful of the scenery around you. 

 

3. Set Reminders to Refocus Yourself

 

If you’re prone to daydreaming, sometimes all you need a reminder to snap out of it. You can set these reminders yourself with a simple vibrating phone alarm. 

 

Set it to vibrate every few hours and use that as your cue to take a break or snap back to the moment if you’ve caught yourself ruminating or drifting away. 

 

4. Grab Some Time in the Nap Room 

 

Sometimes, repeated distractions and poor cognitive function at work is a simple sign of sleep deprivation. Instead of grabbing yet another cup of coffee, just get some more rest. This can mean improving your sleep hygiene to grab extra ZZZs at home or getting a regular power nap in at the coworking place

 

5. Enjoy the Little Pleasures

 

Rather than rushing through the day like clockwork, stop and remind yourself to enjoy the pleasures of any given moment – whether it’s the first sip of coffee in the day, your first bite of food, the feeling you get when you complete your first task for the morning, or the satisfaction of a good stretch after an hour or more spent sitting down. 

 

6. Quit Multitasking

 

Multitasking is not as efficient as you might think. It is far more effective to pick a single task at a time and focus on it, than it is to try and complete two or three tasks at once.

 

7. Be Consistent

 

Mindfulness is not a panacea for productivity issues and stress, but it can make a major difference in your workplace – provided you are committed to implementing it on a daily basis

 

Being mindful for a week or two isn’t enough to see lasting change. Be consistent, and reap your rewards. 

 

8. There Will Always Be Slow Days

 

We should aim to be productive most days but cannot be productive all the time. There will always be slow days, when you’ve hit your creative and productive limits, and when you just need a break. 

 

One or two slow days is fine, and you have to learn to cut yourself slack for that. 

 

One or two slow weeks may be a sign that you need an extended break, or that something in your life is causing some serious issues that need to be addressed through more than mindfulness exercises. 

 

9. Consider Seeking Help 

 

There are certain states of mind that won’t always be improved with just a bit of mindfulness. 

 

Crunch time at work, an abusive or hostile work environment, serious financial trouble, or a mental health condition cannot always be thought away, or tackled alone. We all need support sometimes, whether it’s friends and family, the authorities, or healthcare professionals. 

 

Sometimes, the greatest act of mindfulness is to know when you’ve exhausted your own options, depleted your stores, and reached your boundaries. You need to know when to seek and accept help, and preserve yourself. 

 


Read More:

5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety at Work

Categories
Business Trends Work Environment

How to Develop and Enhance Your Coworking Community

Business trends are evolving, especially after COVID-19. So what role does a coworking community play for business growth? Read below.

 

There can be no coworking space without a coworking community. A successful coworking space offers more than just an attractive selection of amenities, good rates, and a snazzy ambiance. Coworking spaces are defined by the people who decide to work in them, the connections fostered by those people, and the professional relationships that come to be.

 

It is in every coworking space’s interest to enable and foster those relationships and grow a true sense of community. This is especially important during COVID-19, where a true feeling of community can be hard to find.

 

What Defines a Coworking Community?

 

A coworking community is the social connective tissue within the coworking space – aside from the tenants, it’s the administrators, the designers, the managers, the rest of the staff, and the tools they use to create and maintain a feeling of connectedness throughout the working day.

 

From the creative opportunities enabled by a good coffee bar to the way a coworking space can continue to endure and exist online, the development and nurturing of a coworking community is as important for the marketing of a coworking space as it is for the wellbeing and creativity of those in it.

 

Coworking spaces are more than just square footage of office available for a short-term lease. Every month spent at a coworking space is another month spent collaborating and networking with professionals in different industries from different backgrounds, while reaping the benefits of a creative culture and brand identity that changes from space to space.

 

How is Coworking Surviving the Pandemic?

 

Businesses banked on the work-from-home model during the pandemic, to cut down on interpersonal contact and reduce the transmission of the coronavirus. Yet as more and more countries approach a critical level of immunization, large parts of the world are looking towards better alternatives to the home office without a complete return to the cluttered, densified closed offices of the past.

 

The modern workspace is flexible, open to the outdoors on good weather, with isolated private rooms, well-ventilated common areas, sparse seating, and roving cleaning crews.

 

Many coworking spaces have taken on drastic hygiene protocols to enable safe business and provide a professional refuge to employees who were unable to get anything done from home, and either needed a more suitable environment to get their work done, or just wanted some sense of being back in an office environment, even with social distancing and frequent handwashing.

 

Coworking spaces are an attractive alternative because they are:

 

  • Decentralizing large corporate offices.
  • Providing flexible pricing models for both SMEs and large corporations in a tumultuous economy.
  • Focused primarily on attracting tech talent.
  • Existing in a diverse and competitive market.

 

Coworking spaces have more than just survived COVID – they have proven to be a valuable resource in the process of defining a post-pandemic workplace model.

 

Growing a Coworking Community in 2021

 

Community building is important in drawing in tenants, helping employees relate to one another, and create a productive social environment. And because we aren’t in a post-pandemic world yet, safety remains paramount.

 

If a coworking space is simply hosting workers while providing them with nothing but isolated spaces and plastic covers on chairs, it is little more than an office center. The benefits of coworking come from a highly social environment and finding ways to enable that sense of community without endangering the members of the community is each coworking space’s greatest challenge in 2021.

 

Prioritizing the Workspace Experience

 

What is your coworking space all about? What are you offering to facilitate productive collaboration and safe social experiences? Also, what do you offer in amenities beyond the raw basics of a fully equipped modern workplace?

 

Coworking spaces compete for the affections of their tenants through qualitative amenities and a management staff that prides itself on running a tight ship. This means:

 

  • nap rooms
  • drinks and snacks
  • dedicated meeting spots
  • private concentration rooms
  • outdoor spaces
  • plenty of natural light
  • non-distracting plant life
  • art that helps define the workspace culture
  • a consistent design theme and brand identity
  • a prime location

 

Does Your Coworking Community Facilitate Open Communication?

 

There can be no community without communication. Make sure there are multiple accessible channels to communicate concerns and ideas with management and other staff, send in complaints or reviews, make suggestions, and keep the community up to date on management decisions, upcoming changes, and more.

 

This can be done through open chatrooms like Slack, space-specific to-do boards on Trello, a community manager account on Twitter and Facebook, a proprietary app for the coworking space, a mobile-friendly website with a blog and live chat function, and multiple other online avenues.

 

Create an Online Coworking Community for Your Space

 

Aside from basic interfacing, you can create and nurture an online community in the absence of community events and experiences, to help foster a sense of social interactivity and belonging in our pandemic world.

 

You can host opt-in virtual events such as game night via Zoom or on the premises, monthly introductory meetings to help newcomers feel welcome and get a sense for who’s who, and more.

 

Coworking spaces may fulfill a crucial role in the current climate as interactive workplace communities for those unable or unwilling to return to a typical office setting, either because of the lengthy commute, a lack of space, or the financial impact of the pandemic.

 

While some of us were immensely grateful for the opportunity to fully embrace the home office lifestyle, not everyone is set up or cut out for working from home. There are distinct disadvantages to being a completely self-reliant worker, and some struggle under the isolation and loneliness it breeds, while others have no space bereft from distraction due to their own personal circumstances.

 

Even a post-pandemic world is more likely to see a move towards work-from-anywhere policies than a move back to company headquarters.

 

Some employees thrive and are most productive while working from home, while others need the camaraderie of working with the rest of the team, and others yet like to collaborate with different professionals and soak in the professional-casual atmosphere of a coworking space, a happy medium.

 

Companies keen on maximizing the potential of their hires will want to offer multiple options to ensure that everyone doing their part can do so as effectively as possible.

 


Read More:

What is a Virtual Office and Why You Need It Today

Categories
Work Environment

9 Ways to Improve the Employee Experience

Prioritizing the different areas of the employee experience has definitely shifted since the start of the pandemic. Here are a few ways to continuously improve it.

 

The employee experience was once centered around creating a comfortable and productive workplace, conducive towards drawing out strengths and compensating for weaknesses. But with COVID-19, some of the priorities among both employers and employees have shifted towards better crisis management, greater decision-making in the hands of employees as company stakeholders, and better transparency between management and the workers – all alongside a culture of growth and safety.

 

As we seek to find ways to improve the employee experience in 2021 and beyond, we need to consider how our workers are any company’s greatest asset, and that managing teams and people must be about providing opportunities for growth, autonomy, and feedback, over control and workplace regulations. Here are nine ways companies can seek to improve the employee experience in a post-pandemic world.

 

1. Work from Anywhere Policies

 

COVID-19 has taught us that a whimsical approach to implementing work-from-home policies carries massive drawbacks, particularly to employees struggling to create healthy boundaries between work and home or tasked with caring for young children. Not everyone can successfully implement and reap the benefits of remote work through their living room or home office – but that doesn’t mean we need to go back to purely centralized office spaces and greater investments in expensive commercial real estate.

 

Instead, we should look towards the potential of work from anywhere policies, and the growing coworking market, as well as its potential to help companies form hub-and-spoke workplace arrangements that allow them to greatly expand their physical presence throughout a region or country while reducing the employee commute.

 

The ability to work from anywhere, be it the main office, the home office, a coworking space, or a local café, gives workers the autonomy they need to develop their own creative space and find an arrangement that allows them to be as productive as possible.

 

2. Establishing Trust in Leadership

 

Some companies have failed to instill a sense of trust in their employees throughout the pandemic, providing little to no information on how employees should protect themselves, or how the company is planning to respond to mandated lockdowns, social distancing rules, and other hygiene concepts.

 

Management and business leaders need to do better in taking charge in critical moments such as these, and training themselves and others to develop better communicative skills with employees, reach out to them on multiple channels in the event of an emergency or crisis, and provide clear instructions on how to proceed for everyone’s sake.

 

3. Open and Transparent Channels Between Management and Employees

 

The ability to freely communicate between employees and management is important – management can only truly receive effective feedback through transparent communication, and employees need to be empowered to honestly reflect on managerial decisions and weigh in on company policy, especially when it affects them.

 

This is critically important in a post-pandemic world, where employees want both job security, and the ability to feel safe in the workplace. The decision-making remains in the hands of those in charge, but better actionable feedback can help them make better decisions.

 

4. A Culture of Employee Advocacy

 

63 percent of employees do not trust their company’s leadership. Many feel that executives are perhaps self-serving, or don’t know how to do what’s best for their employees. Promoting spokespeople within teams and departments to collect and voice employee’s concerns and problems can go a long way towards fixing the rift existing in many companies between employers and employees.

 

In the absence of other forms of advocacy, companies need to give employees a platform to clearly communicate their demands and help them give input on the company’s direction. Without that, companies lose the trust of their workers.

 

5. Ample Opportunities for Growth and Development

 

The simplest individual motivator once an employee has reached an income level they’re happy with is the opportunity for self-improvement and professional development.

 

Companies should invest in skills labs, educational opportunities, and the chance for employees to become greater assets to the company through training and learning programs.

 

 

6. A Culture of Recognition

 

Making sure credit is given where credit is due is another important step towards improving the employee experience. Employees want to be appreciated for their hard work and are more likely to give more than the professional minimum when knowing that their efforts are being seen and rewarded.

 

7. A Clear and Actionable Company Vision

 

A company’s vision for itself and the future is definitive to that company’s culture and identity, and these are two important factors that greatly influence a worker’s relationship with the company they work for.

 

People want to feel like they are part of something greater, something meaningful, whether it is a business dedicated to world-class quality, promoting local talents and traditions, or simply shaking up and innovating in an old industry.

 

A stronger and clearer company vision also massively helps businesses who lack physical cohesion in the form of a single office, by helping a scattered group of professionals rally behind a shared dream.

 

8. Smaller, Autonomous Teams

 

Teams too large for a single manager often lead to professional waste, in the sense that time and resources aren’t funneled where they should be, certain accomplishments and efforts get overlooked, and employees who might otherwise become important assets look towards other opportunities where their skillsets might be better valued.

 

To that end, companies should consider allowing smaller teams to form within departments, autonomous and self-sufficient, given the responsibility of choosing and completing their own tasks and coordinating with the rest of the department on a regular basis to decide how tasks are best divided between each team.

 

This way, each group develops its own working dynamic and leadership, and isn’t dependent on the sole decision-making of a single overwhelmed manager.

 

9. Room for Slack and Rest

 

A company culture dedicated entirely to the hustle may bring in the most dedicated and hungry talent but is also prone to greater amounts of stress and burnout. Employees need time to recuperate physically and mentally and divorce themselves entirely from their work.

 

Make sure every worker understands the importance of having clear-cut boundaries that allow them to charge their batteries while away from the office and come back reinvigorated and reinspired. Promoting rest also helps turn workers into creatives, allowing them to contribute to a company in a more unique and innovative way.

 

Slack time is important, too. It helps employees recover between sprints of work on tight deadlines and demanding projects, ensuring that they’re ready for their next challenge after a few slower days at work.

 

Conclusion

 

The employee experience in a post-pandemic world prioritizes the communication between team members and team leaders, between workers and managers, and of course, between employers and employees.

 

Categories
Work Environment

The Value of an In Person Meeting (And How to Have Them Today)

By now, we’ve adapted to virtual meetings and remote work routines, but that does not mean an in person meeting lost its value. Read more details below including how to safely have them during the pandemic.

 

Despite quarantines and harsh restrictions, in person meetings haven’t become a relic of the past. Far from it, it seems like many businesses have come to further recognize and respect the importance of in person meetings as the pandemic rages on, especially for identifying and onboarding new talent, landing important clients, and communicating effectively with team members on critical projects.

 

There are elements to a conversation that are often lost when communicating through purely virtual means, and try as we might, there is still no good replacement for a face-to-face meeting.

 

That being said, in person meetings can and should be made limited and more efficient as long as we continue to live in a world with the coronavirus. By leveraging better hygiene concepts, important technologies, and simple meeting rules, we can massively curb the dangers of in person meetings and make them safe, even during a pandemic.

 

Why In Person Meetings Remain Important in a Pandemic World

 

Non-verbal cues, expressive faces, and the engagement of being in a physical location with others as opposed to simply being rendered as pixels on a small screen can have a significant impact on the quality and nature of a meeting, whether it’s a brainstorming session between team members or an important client.

 

While virtual meetings have helped thousands of businesses continue to function and even remain productive in the midst of a historic health crisis, they have also served to highlight their own distinct limitations, and how face-to-face communication can serve to be more effective at building relationships or simply communicating nuance.

 

Fewer Things Are Lost in Translation

 

The first and most immediate benefit to an in person meeting is the little things we tend to miss when confined strictly to a screen. Facial cues and body language, subtle changes in pitch, simple expressions, and the ability to immediately discern or at least ask for context to any and every statement. These things are diminished or even lost in the limited scope of a video conference, much less an email thread, where the only non-verbal forms of expression available to most of us are emojis.

 

All the things we take for granted in face-to-face communication help to provide a much clearer understanding of what the other person is saying and thinking, and help us avoid miscommunication or awkward misunderstandings, at times fuelled by a lack of provided context, as one party doesn’t want to ask the other to repeat themselves or explain what they meant.

 

No Lag, Fewer Technical Issues

 

Another important benefit to an in person meeting is the lack of a technological barrier between persons. Technology can be a barrier, after all. A barrier of entry for those unwilling or struggling to learn how to communicate with new software and technology, and a barrier created by technical issues which can slow or delay important conversations and frustrate both parties.

 

Audio and video issues, constant lag, connectivity problems, and dropped calls are just a few potential issues that often arise when working with telecommunication tools, and troubleshooting these issues can take precious time on either side of the conversation, and distract from the important points, derailing meetings during critical junctures, or causing important information to get lost amidst technical problems.

 

In Person Meetings Build Stronger Relationships

 

It is proven that we tend to build stronger relationships, inspire more trust, and leave longer lasting impressions through in person meetings versus virtual ones. People are still naturally inclined to feel closer and more engaged to someone sitting opposite them at a desk, rather than a person who exists merely on a screen.

 

Virtual technology is critical at enabling communication across large distances and can serve as the perfect tool to help long-distance teams collaborate and meet with international clients, but there is nothing that can substitute a first-time face-to-face meeting as a means to build trust and create a solid foundation for a strong business relationship.

 

But rather than simply discuss why in person meetings can help us forge stronger bonds with one another, it’s even more important to discuss how we can afford to host them safely.

 

Find the Right Venue

 

This is where a coworking space comes into play. Coworking spaces present themselves as the perfect neutral venue for team members, executives, clients, and managers to meet in a safe environment, collaborate and communicate in a safe and concise manner, and leave.

 

Coworking spaces are also ideal for the onboarding process, providing the perfect setting to help integrate and guide new hires into finding their place within the company and team hierarchy, before continuing through the coworking space or working remotely, depending on their and the team’s strengths and capacity.

 

 

Observe Proper Precautions and Social Distancing Measures

 

Aside from choosing a safe workspace designed for collaboration, companies and teams can further reduce the risk of infection when meeting in person by picking spaces with private rooms large enough to accommodate everyone attending with the appropriate distance between one another, while mandating masks and always observing safe social distances (including on the way in and out of the room).

 

Consider Natural Ventilation

 

The CDC recommends that offices keep their windows open and allow for as much natural air flow within the office as possible (provided the weather and climate permit it). Keeping a window open might seem like a relatively simple measure but could further limit the risk of any potential transmission during a meeting.

 

Amplify Everyone’s Voices

 

Studies confirm that raising one’s voice is more likely to transmit the virus – this is simply because the louder we yell, the further our spit droplets travel through the air.

 

Providing microphones for everyone and renting a room and table that can safely accommodate everyone at the meeting can help a group maintain a safe and reasonable social distance while reducing the droplets in the air.

 

A relatively simple sound setup with a few speakers in each corner of the room and a mic for each meeting member can eliminate the need for any sort of yelling or screaming to get heard across the room.

 

Keep Meetings Short and To-The-Point

 

The coronavirus could be yet another motivator to keep meetings short and concise. Excessively long meetings may defeat the purpose of getting together to organize and have historically been little more than a huge financial drain on productivity.

 

In person meetings may not be as simple to organize as before, but when leveraged, can provide an opportunity to improve relationships and foster a greater sense of trust and cooperation than through any virtual means, which is critically important for many businesses worried about cohesion and feelings of isolation within team members.

Categories
Work Environment

7 Ways to Avoid Creating a Toxic Workplace Environment

A toxic workplace environment is a legitimate cause for concern, both for worker health and overall productivity. It’s essential to avoid these environments; read the ways below.

 

As we become more aware of how office culture can impact our personal lives, and the lives of those we work with, it becomes increasingly important to be retrospective about how we treat each other at work, and how simple changes in interaction and management can greatly boost morale and profitability.

 

While many managers and executives wish to maintain a positive and healthy office environment, they may be unwittingly contributing to a toxic work space. Below are seven important tips to preventing the growth of a toxic workplace environment.

 

1. Don’t Cater to Bullies

The workplace can be harsh. People don’t go to work to play, and ideally, they should feel motivated to get things done. Part of that can mean feeling immense pressure on some days, striving to achieve things that might not, at first, seem plausible. To bring out the best in people, managers and leaders must learn when to push, and when to give.

 

But there are other aspects of the workplace that are often harsh without needing to be, breeding a lack of trust in the management and undermining morale and productivity. These people often move up into higher positions within many corporate organizations, while leaving others in the proverbial dust.

 

Abuses of trust are a clear example, where employees who are superficially loyal to the management may go out of their way to emotionally sabotage those around them, vying for individual and selfish benefits while catering to the boss’s needs. It’s important to recognize the brownnosers and the troublemakers and to make it clear that undermining others is not a viable path to promotion in your organization.

 

2. Provide an Outlet for Feedback

This can be hard without proper feedback and truthful, reliable information. That is why commanding a certain level of transparency and urging others to speak up about misuses of power is important.

 

While many might worry about the image of essentially promoting ‘snitching’ and an office environment wherein employees can be free to complain about each other, the ultimate goal is not to cull people but to build a cohesive team of people who trust one another.

 

Doing so is impossible without giving everybody the ability to speak up about one another, to avoid individual abuses of power or toxic behavior.

 

3. Give Credit Where Credit is Due

When something is done well, it’s important to give credit to the right person, and doing it properly. Another problem with a toxic workplace environment is that people may try to claim credit when it isn’t deserved. Or, they may make false claims about how certain ideas came to be, and how certain decisions were made.

 

Managers should keep in mind:

 

    • Which employees have been historically trustworthy and reputable
    • Which employees are more likely to stay quiet and keep to themselves
    • Properly give credit whenever credit is due

 

Even those striving for approval will likely get the shot they need to prove themselves, without feeling the need to undermine others.

 

 

4. Point Out Mistakes, But Reward a Job Well Done

Managers are often tasked with fixing problems and preventing messes, but if you perceive your role as a manager as being one to crackdown solely on the bad and lay in wait for mistakes, you’ll often find that your employees and workers begin to feel as though they are walking on eggshells.

 

They begin to fear taking any risks because there is no incentive to doing extraordinarily well. On the other hand, there’s also a good chance of catching flak whenever a mistake is made.

 

Subvert this by addressing mistakes but rewarding useful input. The best way to promote creativity and innovation is to incentivize risk-taking and out-of-the-box thinking, even if it doesn’t always pan out.

 

5. Remember That Employees are People

People are individual in nature and don’t always fit a particular mold. It’s easy to come to quick conclusions about a person’s character, but sometimes, it takes the right environment to properly allow an individual to flourish.

 

Some people thrive in a traditionally toxic workplace environment, easily capable of manipulating their way to the top. Others do very badly in such areas but have the potential to be amazing workers and top earners, should they have the right environment to unlock their potential.

 

Managers should strive to create teams that give each person ample opportunity to thrive, which can be very difficult; but by talking to your employees and recognizing their unique traits, strengths, and weaknesses, you can have a better idea of how you might structure your office and your organization to allow everyone to feel comfortable with their tasks and positions.

 

6. Avoid the Pitfalls of High Stress

Work is stressful, and there’s a lot of benefits to stress. We’re ultimately meant to do best under a certain amount of pressure – but too much, and we crack. It’s hard to tell what too much means, however, as that is entirely subjective. While incentivizing hard work is good, there are certain pitfalls to consider and carefully avoid.

 

If you necessitate extreme stress, for example, by suggesting that overtime is necessary to avoid potential termination or demotion, then you’ll find yourself stuck with a toxic workplace environment. You’re then struggling with absenteeism, a high turnover rate, and workers who perform much worse than before.

 

If you rely entirely on your hardest workers, you might find that they’re picking up the slack for everybody else.

 

Make sure you are employing enough people to deal with big projects and extremely pressuring deadlines. Reward those that go above and beyond, so long as it’s evident that they are not sacrificing their health; and remind them to take breaks, when it’s clear that they’re beginning to burn out.

 

7. Bigger Space Can Help

Space is important. Offices shouldn’t feel cramped – but there should still be some form of design in place. Completely open offices can be chaotic and unruly, leaving many to struggle with noise and a lack of concentration.

 

Finding a healthy middle ground is important but avoid cubicles and other office plans that further isolate workers and leave them feeling unmotivated or inconsequential.

 

For many companies, coworking spaces offer an excellent middle ground as a great place to work while offering plenty of amenities most smaller companies might not be able to afford in an office of their own.

 

Categories
Work Environment

Encourage These Top Building Activities for Virtual Teams

While working remotely during a pandemic, building activities for virtual teams is encouraged in order to keep the team connection alive and well. Read below for details.

 

Team building activities promote team cohesion, improve productivity, reduce stress, and help new as well as long-time employees feel connected to one another and the company.

 

All of these are critically important qualities that have been tremendously impacted by the pandemic. We know that building activities for virtual teams can be an effective tool in addressing these issues, and helping companies and teams combat the long-term effects of remote work, such as social isolation and a feeling of distance from other team members.

 

1. An Online Lunch/Dinner Date

 

Something simple but relatively refreshing and effective for helping teams feel connected on a personal level is a team lunch or dinner date. On the surface, it’s nothing more than sitting in front of your computer during mealtime and having a friendly chat with other coworkers while you ea. But eating together is an ancient and ingrained bonding activity, and integral to any team.

 

Even if it’s over the Internet, a virtual lunch break complete with audio and video can help your team feel truly connected, even across the globe. Even if that means some people will be having their lunch while others are eating dinner, or just joining in for a quick snack and coffee break.

 

2. A Cooking and Plating Competition

 

Competitions can be an amazing team building activity for specific teams and cultures, where a little competitive spirit can build stronger bonds. Cooking and plating competitions help each individual team member show off their improvisational skills, creativity, problem-solving, workflow, and design philosophy – all in a simple dish. Pick a recipe, set a time and timer, and use a simple online poll to decide whose attempt was the best-looking, most creative, and/or most original.

 

3. Daily or Weekly Icebreaker Questions

 

While it’s a relatively straightforward one, icebreaker questions can be a useful virtual team building tool outside of the onboarding process. Consider introducing them as a weekly or even daily occurrence.

 

For example, build a pool of icebreaker questions (25 to 50) and pick one at random at the start of every scheduled meeting (i.e., non-critical or time-sensitive). Examples include – what was your favorite toy as a child? What animal do you most identify with and why?

 

4. A Gifting Competition

 

Another interesting way to build team cohesion and let everyone get to know each other is to host a gift exchange – but with a twist. “White Elephant” and “Dirty Santa” gift exchange games involve prank items or impractical gifts. They can be much more entertaining than trying to guess what your gift target might actually want or appreciate, or going for the same old boring and safe options as always (mugs, clothes, and gift cards).

 

5. Reinvent Ways to Introduce Yourself

 

Team building activities are usually an important part of the onboarding process for new hires – but with the pandemic, that tradition has taken a hit for many companies. Some have turned to new ways to introduce fun and entertainment into the onboarding team building process. This is by turning simple introductions into more elaborate projects.

 

For example, you can try creating a tongue-in-cheek PowerPoint presentation on yourself, in lieu of a company project or prospectus, or even write a User Manual on how to be a coworker in this company. The goal is to loosen things up, parody your company culture a little bit, and help the new hire feel comfortable and connect with the team on a more personal level (which can be very difficult over the Internet).

 

6. Take Up an Online Class Together

 

Learning something can be fun. But it’s much more fun when you’re learning with other people. The pandemic is a perfect opportunity for many to continue to brush up on their professional skills and seek out a whole slew of online classes and courses to improve and expand their toolkit.

 

Individual teams and departments can consider taking classes together or getting through a course together as a team building activity and professional exercise rolled into one.

 

7. Test Your Team’s Strength

 

The internet is full of personality tests and quizzes. These can be a fun way to just goof around and see what Disney character one best mirrors, or what superpowers they might have.

 

But more in-depth “strength assessment” tests can serve as an interesting and in-depth way to reflect on yourself and both your professional and personal skills and share these with the rest of the team. While intensely personal, these tests and quizzes can reveal to one another what every team member brings to the table, and how you all best work together.

 

8. Arrange Weekend Virtual Games

 

From board games to chess tournaments to cooperative video games, there’s a nigh-infinite treasure trove of games to play virtually and as a group.

 

Some excellent examples depending on your connectivity and tools-at-hand include the classics like Clue, small stakes poker, and Monopoly, or popular party and co-op video games like Mario Party, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, or Ultimate Chicken Horse.

 

9. A Virtual Watercooler

 

While not an activity per se, setting up a dedicated chatroom or channel to serve as an after-hours hangout or place for coworkers to socialize during breaks can massively improve team cohesion and help your team members get to know one another.

 

There are pros and cons to setting up a virtual watercooler. If left uncontrolled or unattended, it can contribute to a team’s distractions and get endlessly clogged with unrelated or lengthy conversations and arguments. Keep your channels or chatrooms lightly moderated to avoid workplace toxicity.

 

 

The Bottom Line

 

Virtual team building activities can help teams socialize, greatly improve the onboarding process, reduce the effects of remote work stress and isolation, and improve your team’s overall cohesion and productivity. Even through entirely unproductive games and activities.

 

While we have had a long year to learn to cope with the changes introduced by the virus, this pandemic isn’t quite over. Many of the changes it has forced onto the workplace might be here to stay. Learning to improve on the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses of working remotely will continue to be an important goal for this new year, and many years to come.

Categories
Work Environment

9 Tips to Getting Work Done While Remote

Getting work done is difficult while remote, especially with more surrounding distractions. Follow these helpful tips below in order to adjust to your out of the office environment.

 

One of the bigger challenges of the past year has been getting work done while remote. Although many might have cherished the chance to work from home back in 2019, the harsh reality is that without major preparations, remote work is a double-edged sword for most.

 

It’s difficult to successfully separate family life from work life, stick to your regular hours, and get motivated to work while socially isolated. When you do finally make the switch, you get the opposite problem of struggling to unwind and being more likely to suffer from burnout.

 

The option of working from home is ideal for those who need to juggle their work-life responsibilities with certain family responsibilities, like a new child or a sick partner. In the short-term, and with proper preparation, it can be incredibly productive while saving both the company and the worker a lot of time and resources.

 

But without the necessary precautions, remote work can be substantially more difficult than getting things done in an organized office environment.

 

Here are some important tips:

 

Start with a Productive Morning Routine

 

A thorough schedule can take the guesswork out of remote work and help you regain the sort of structure you need to remain productive – and it starts from the moment you get out of bed.

 

Start by setting up a consistent morning routine that leaves you awake, refreshed, and ready for work. The perfect morning routine begins the night before. Try to prioritize a consistent sleep schedule that allows you to wake up at a set time, preferably even without an alarm.

 

Our body clock responds well to consistent sleep, and once you incorporate great sleep hygiene into your life, you can start to wake up feeling ready for the day ahead. Consider a light ten-minute exercise routine to prepare your joints and back for the day. Try something small and simple, like a handful of desk job-oriented mobility exercises or beginner yoga poses. Even minimal exercise can help you get alert and ready for the first tasks of the day.

 

Regardless of how you set up your morning routine, consistency is key. Get a feeling for what you can and can’t feasibly work into your morning. Give a little leeway here and there, and stick to it.

 

Create and Stick to a Work Schedule

 

Past the morning routine is your actual work schedule – and here, too, consistency is key. Consider your crucial tasks for the day ahead and slot them into feasible chunks to encourage productive work. Rather than approaching the workday as a single unit, approach each task individually, and calculate roughly how many tasks you absolutely need to fill into the day, and how many you’d want to accomplish additionally.

 

A consistent morning routine and work schedule can also help you separate your home and family life from your work life and give you a strict boundary for when work begins and ends.

 

Consequently, avoid unnecessary overtime. Some things can’t be put off until the morning, but if you catch yourself constantly drawing your workday out, you’ll begin to blur the line between work and home life, and negatively impact your productivity in the long-term.

 

Identify and Insert Energizing Breaks

 

An energizing lunch break can go a long way towards improving your productivity by giving you a strict period of time to look forward to early in the day and use as a means to get in a quick meal, take your mind off work, and jump back into your next task refreshed for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

 

Ideas of energizing activities to try during break time include walking the dog, calling a friend, tending to a home garden, or doing a quick chore (if these help you practice mindfulness).

 

Try to Separate Work from Home (Physically)

 

If possible, consider setting up a home office closed off from the rest of the home. Turn a guest room or storage room into your new office and make “showing up at work” in the morning a part of your routine. Separating your work from home is an important part of building and maintaining the boundary between your work life and home life.

 

Another alternative to separate your work life from your home life is through a coworking space. Many businesses that have nominally reopened are still working at half capacity at best, in order to reduce the contact between employees.

 

Coworking spaces have become an alternative for employees and entrepreneurs who must work outside of the office but can’t feasibly set up a decent working environment at home.

 

Whether it’s an unstable internet connection, the many distractions of family life, or just the mindset of trying to get productive in the same space usually reserved for relaxation and unwinding, coworking spaces provide the perfect alternative.

 

 

Take Those Sick Days

 

We might feel inclined to do more work while sick when we’re working remotely, because our jobs are a little more accessible, and no one likes wasting sick days. But learn to differentiate between a small headache and something you should seriously take the day to recover from.

 

Treating your mind and body with care is an important part of staying productive – unnecessarily drawing out sickness can negatively impact the quality of your work.

 

Use the Opportunity to Expand Your Skillset

 

Cutting out an unnecessary commute can save you a lot of time – time you can put to good use elsewhere, such as in your own education. The world is rapidly changing, and any self-sufficient professional should do the best they can to learn about how their profession is impacted by market changes and new technologies.

 

Don’t wait on mandatory training periods to learn more – be proactive about your training and arm yourself with the ability to seek better opportunities wherever they present themselves.

 

Communicate with Your Colleagues and Managers Often

 

Social isolation and loneliness are more than just simple causes of stress for many workers – they’re also leading to the alienation between employees and their employers. If your manager isn’t proactive about establishing steady contact between colleagues and different team members, establish that contact yourself.

 

Overcommunicate and keep others up to speed with what you’re doing, track your tasks over the intracompany network or group chat, and make friends within the virtual office.

 

Identify and Eliminate Your Most Common Distractions

 

Many of us have our own unique weaknesses when it comes to work distractions. A crying toddler or a newborn puppy? Other distractions are more predictable and controllable, like the need to doomscroll or check your email.

 

Identify avoidable and common distractions and try out different measures to banish them, from working them into a reward system for your daily tasks, to utilizing productivity apps to eliminate these pesky bad habits.

 

End with an Evening Routine

 

The day should end the way it started – with a simple, easy-to-vary routine. Evening routines can help us shut off the “work brain” and create a boundary to eliminate and avoid work conversations and discussions until the next day and give us time to slip into a different headspace and unwind with the family before bed.

 

Structure and consistency are important for any productive working environment, and you can create both yourself, whether at home or anywhere else.

Categories
Work Environment

5 Work-Life Balance Strategies to Prevent Burnout

Work-life balance – is there such a thing? Though it’s hard to imagine with all the stress, it is possible and should take place in order to prevent burnout. 

 

There’s no easy way around it – stress is a major killer, and a seriously underappreciated factor in why more Americans are struggling with heart-related illnesses, strokes, and more. Rather than simply attribute the recent rise in burnouts to a new generation unable or unwilling to work, it’s important to recognize that times have indeed gotten tougher.

 

      • Despite rising costs, wages are stagnant.
      • The job market is as competitive as ever, with more people turning towards second jobs and extra gigs to make a little more on the side.

 

Work-Life Balance Strategies to Work Towards

 

Churning out all you can, as often as you can, is not a sustainable plan. For many, the idea of maintaining a better work-life balance seemingly isn’t in the cards. But while some of the problems with work-related stress can be blamed on poor management or a tough economy, it’s important to recognize that, ultimately, the best way to work on preventing burnout is to take the matter into your own hands and examine how you spend your time.

 

Work-life strategies rely on training yourself to be more efficient with the hours you have and the work you’re given, while still making time for R&R and your own wellbeing. Below are five crucial strategies that can drastically improve your work-life balance, and even help you get more work done in a shorter period.

 

1. Prioritize Your Daily Tasks

 

One of the best ways to achieve healthier work-life balance strategies is being more efficient with your time. While it might sound like time management is a skill that largely focuses on productivity, there’s a direct carryover to having more time for yourself.

 

Part of the reason people struggle to manage their work-life balance effectively is because they do not have a concrete idea of where and how they’re spending their time. Ideally, we should strive to strike a balance between how much time we spend on personal activities, and how much time we spend on work-related tasks.

 

Whenever you’re about to set out for the day, keep in mind what you’ve got planned for the next 24 hours, and try to follow that plan. We can’t always dictate what direction life seems to take, so we have less capacity to plan for each and every day. Yet with a little time and effort, you can easily keep an overview of just how much time you’re spending on each of your daily tasks, and then you can determine what changes need to be made.

 

Consider what you should do less of and what you should do more of. Consider what changes you might make in order to better do the things you want to do. If you struggle to get a workout in, consider a different gym, or train somewhere much closer. Audit your time.

 

2. Set Regular Goals

 

Goals are critical for growth. When we stop having goals, we begin to stagnate, and that feeling becomes palpable very quickly. Not only does it feel bad to stagnate and feel like you aren’t going anywhere, but without a goal in mind, you will have a much harder time motivating yourself to get anything done.

 

Through simple, yet achievable and exciting goals, you can create a framework to help you get through all of your daily tasks with your goals in mind. Change the way you approach the day by framing it within the context of your current goal, whatever it may be.

 

 

3. Set Up and Use a Planner

 

You might already have a to-do list, and chances are that you’ve got a calendar with a few highlighted dates – but a planner is yet another step beyond both, providing you with the means to more accurately detail what you need to get done each and every day, and giving you a simple way to keep track of your tasks by itemizing and check listing them day after day.

 

Not only does this improve efficiency, but it’s crucial in your self-audit, especially if you want to identify where you could be improving on your work-life balance. It’s not as tedious as it sounds – a simple planner is quite easy to use, and it just takes a few minutes to sit down and consider what you’ll need to get done throughout the following next few days.

 

4. Create Strict Boundaries and Rules of Engagement

 

To create balance, there needs to be a significant difference between work and ‘life’. That means creating clear lines of separation between your work and the rest of your personal needs and assigning strict times when you are not to be contacted for anything work-related.

 

      • Consider taking a break from any work-related emails, posts, and notes throughout the weekend.
      • Make a rule of not being reachable past a certain hour mark in the day (unless it’s an emergency).

 

Set strict boundaries that allow you to rely on having a reliable downtime every day, and create moments throughout the day where you allow yourself to focus entirely on your needs without a care for what you’ve got going on at the office (be it through an hour of yoga, your daily cooking rituals, or anything else that you might use to go into yourself and take a little break away from the world).

 

5. Learn What It Means to Work Smarter

 

While this is arguably the most open-ended and vague tip, the gist of it is that when most of us go to work, we leave a lot of time on the table. Try to follow the Pareto principle, and figure out which fifth of your day contributes to the bulk of your work – then maximize what you’re doing in that 20%.

 

Focusing on what you’re doing to maximize your efficiency in the most efficient part of your day can help you translate that progress into other parts of your work. If you write for a living, you might notice that on certain days, it becomes easy to sit down and write a basic blog post of about 1,000 words in about half an hour, while at other times, it might take you upwards of four hours to write a post with the same quality. This isn’t the difference between an off-the-cuff blog post and a well-researched article, but two similar tasks performed with vastly different rates of efficiency.

 

      • Where’s the hang-up?
      • What did you do differently?
      • What stimulates you the most when you set up to work?

 

Learning to trim the fat and work smarter begins with analyzing yourself. Gather data on your own performance and try to observe what factors seem to influence you the most – then experiment. Do you do better work in bursts? Do you do better work during certain times of the day? If you drink coffee, how many minutes does it take for the effects of the caffeine to help you with your tasks?

 

 

Conclusion

 

It might take some time to realize the fruits of this last point, but it’s inarguably the most important. Learning to analyze your own behavior and improve how you work can not only be incredibly fulfilling, but it allows you to hone in on the moments when you feel the most anxious. It also helps you figure out what it is that keeps you from being your best self in those vital moments.

 

Finally, an extra tip: always seek help from others. Whether it’s your family, your friends, your coworkers, your employers, your partner, or your therapist, don’t rely entirely on yourself for solutions, and remember that you have others around you who can listen and help you with any problems you might have. Nurture those relationships and recognize when you truly need a hand.

 


Read More:

6 Tips for Balancing Work and Family at Home