Do you need employee appreciation ideas this year? Don’t worry, we got you covered with only the best. Read on.
Do you need employee appreciation ideas this year? Don’t worry, we got you covered with only the best. Read on.
Why is employee flexibility trending now? It’s an important business practice with many benefits, that everyone should consider. Read on.
If you’re looking to create a morning routine checklist or simply trying to find tips on how to improve it, then look no further. A good routine to stick with is pretty essential for a productive workday. Read more.
If you’re managing distributed teams and it’s been quite stressful, then it’s always ideal to find ways to better guide your employees. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
What does it mean to become creatives? This is a question to seriously think about, especially during a time where creativity is needed now more than ever. Read below for details.
As we collectively reach nearly a year of working under the circumstances of a pandemic, many of us have had to reinvent boundaries and find ways to halt or slow the inevitable melding of home life and work life and struggle to find ways to remain productive or even creative.
Some of us have been faced with crippling social isolation for months, while others have lost friends and loved ones to an unrelenting and uncaring virus that no one was equipped for.
As we continue to brave each day, we are faced with new and recurring challenges at work, the boldest of which is the challenge to remain steadfast in our duties and uphold our responsibilities as workers and employers – and continue to deliver fully on the 30, 40, or even 60-hour weeks we spend on a collective vision.
It’s important for us to recognize that this pandemic has had a significant and understandable impact, one we need to learn not only to accept but adapt to. Some of us haven’t been able to face that issue, scared of falling behind and losing out on a precious work opportunity that not everyone is privileged to.
Employers must give their employees the courage to openly speak out about their personal struggles – and understand that these causally relate to their professional and creative struggles because, in a COVID-era, the personal and professional have too often become one and the same.
This is the first step towards helping and inspiring your employees to become better creatives and find that spark that might have fizzled or gone out in the face of the pandemic. From there, it’s all about creating a better and more positive environment – even remotely.
It’s a huge cliché to see your employee’s creative potentials as flowers waiting to bloom, but the simple fact of the matter is that environmental factors are really important – but not just at work.
As the pandemic has forced us to redefine the workplace and accept remote working concepts into our business, many have found themselves falling in love with the idea of working from home forever – while many others struggle to draw the line between work and home and try to compensate with ever longer hours, and an ever-greater threat of stress-related burnouts.
Building a stronger creative team starts with building the factors that nurture and support that team. Encourage stricter boundaries between work and home.
Help employees with flexible work schedules and nearby coworking spaces find safe and hygienic remote solutions to try and create a physical barrier between work and home, via a shorter, safer, more accessible commute to a coworking space.
Help those who can afford it create a home office and work with them to develop a schedule that allows them to balance and split their responsibilities to their work, and their responsibilities to family.
Encourage simple routines and rituals to begin and end the workday, cut short unnecessary or distracting meetings, and ask employees to identify their greatest daily blocks and distractions, and find ways to mitigate them within reason (there’s very little anyone can do about the needs of a new-born, but it’s important to explore other options where organization and flexibility can help forge better boundaries).
For employees who are at work, be sure to address both the physical and organizational factors that help forge creativity – such as:
When creating a supportive organizational environment, ensure that you aren’t encouraging or tolerating behavior that is potentially silencing other creative voices in the room, such as picking one idea before hearing the others, shutting someone down before they finish, or critiquing one person’s idea before everyone had a chance to present.
Cooperation is a more effective approach to creativity than competition, and creatives will generally thrive in a safe space that allows them to explore any and all possibilities without being crippled by self-doubt and constraints created by other people’s immediate reactionary opinions. Each idea can be refined and rejected once it has had time to develop. But shutting an idea down in its incubatory phase keeps it from getting to a point where it might have become the right one.
The worst thing you can do as a manager or director is to simply give the command to “get creative.” It is your job to present guidance and provide limitations for the rest of the team to work around.
Talk about what pointers you have been given by the client and provide further direction by discussing the basics – such as deadline, budgetary constraints, and what you know isn’t in the books. And then exploring what else you know about the project, such as its origins and style, details about the client and their audience, and any other information you can provide to paint a better picture.
True breaks are hard to come by in the pandemic age, but wherever possible, encourage creative employees to pursue meaningful breaks into nature – from something as simple as a brisk walk in the park to a weekend trip up into the mountains.
Studies have shown time and time again that we think much better when surrounded by open skies and the smells and sensations of nature, and a few hours spent among the trees will do far more for a creative type’s headspace than another weekend spent indoors.
Finding ways to create a constructive and nurturing environment both physically and remotely will require a huge amount of creativity. Especially as most managers are constrained by very specific limitations that might keep them from helping their employees unleash their best creative potential.
To that end, you will have to accept that these limitations, wherever they cannot be overcome, will serve to impede or prevent some from being as creative as they could be.
Every conceivable business that offers a product or service needs creativity to help reiterate concepts, renew ideas, and adapt to a world that is evolving and changing faster than ever.
It’s the creative employees who came up with the concepts that helped save countless businesses during the early days of the pandemic, from developing unique ways to continue to provide a product or service while maintaining social distancing, to finding new ways to offer a face-to-face service remotely. And it is creatives who will continue to find ways to increase your value proposition and make your business the one that stands out above the rest.
The biggest value in creativity is its ability to find solutions to problems. That is the true definition behind every creative type – a problem solver who finds new ways to answer both old and evolving questions.