Tag Archives: Productivity

2020: What we’ve learnt

This entry was posted in Articles, New Year, Working life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by Andres Herrera.

2020, the year the Covid-19 pandemic broke into our lives, was especially hard for most of us. It forced us to get used to a new reality in a matter of days. Some changes were already there but they got accelerated. The impact was felt in every sphere: mentally, physically, on the economy… and of course, on how we work.

Remote working

One of our guest writers remarked that 70% of UK workers will be working flexibly even after the Covid (‘Why the work from home revolution is coming’). More versatility, a better work-life balance, and, according to some studies, higher productivity are on the ‘pros’ side of this new experience.

Of course, not everything is positive. There is enough evidence to support that there is value in presential work: spontaneous, face-to-face exchange with colleagues makes collaboration easier, allows co-creation, and possibly results in a more integrated team. We still need to find a formula to combine the benefits without affecting the production of collective intelligence.

Time management

The future of smart working depends much on our individual capacity to adapt without affecting our efficiency or personal routine. According to one of our recent articles, we should ‘try to recreate the structure that comes with working onsite by limiting distractions and setting boundaries’ at home.

Recommendations for remote working efficiently and in a healthy way have filled newspaper pages, taken up our LinkedIn feed and thousands of Twitter threads. If you’re still struggling to adapt to it, here are a few tips.

Emerging jobs

The pandemic not only showed how valuable our healthcare system and professionals are. It also revealed a shortage of trained workers in this sector, especially nurses, doctors, and support workers. For those professionals and students who are still formulating their future, the Covid crisis has opened the potential for developing more meaningful and contributive careers for society.

As the distribution of goods has become increasingly important for the economy, the Logistics sector is creating jobs on a massive scale. But it is not limited to this: professionals in Education, Finance, IT, and Construction are also highly in demand.

New job search technologies

Recruitment also adapted and reshaped at a very fast rate. Companies accelerated the implementation of some emerging technologies to continue hiring despite all odds.

Video interviews have become the new norm throughout the entire hiring process. Evaluations, questionnaires, and even contracts are signed online. Paperwork became paperless.

Other tools being implemented, such as AI-powered software used by recruiters to manage their hiring process and chatbots that enable a fluid exchange between candidates and companies.

And as for job seekers, conducting a virtual job search is mandatory now. Fortunately, most candidates are already aware of search engines such as JobisJob to browse and apply in a fast and simple way.

There’s always hope

It has been a great opportunity to appreciate our own ability to adapt and to learn. We learnt how to work and live smarter, how resilient we are, and above all, we also learnt that physical distance is not a barrier to stay connected and accomplish things together.

Why the work from home revolution is coming

This entry was posted in Articles, Working life and tagged , , , on by Andres Herrera.

We’re all aware by now that COVID-19 has sparked a surge in flexible working across the UK. This began out of necessity, as working from home was advised wherever possible, but Britain’s workers have continued to stay at home in large numbers even after lockdown.

Although there is likely to be more of a return to normal working patterns once the COVID-19 crisis has fully passed, once the genie has escaped the bottle it’s hard to put it back in fully. As a new study from Direct Line shows, HR directors are expecting that 70% of UK workers will be working flexibly in one form or another after COVID-19. Here’s why the work from home revolution is on the way.

Work from home means greater freedom

The clue is in the name: flexible working allows workers to have more flexibility and freedom in how they balance their home and work lives. Whether they choose to work from home for only a few days a week, or even the whole week, workers have the power to choose the working pattern that suits them best.

The benefits of this are clear: working parents will be able to pick their children up from school, or work from home when they’re ill, for example. On the other end of the spectrum, the ability to work flexibly can be incredibly important for those workers who may have caring responsibilities for elderly parents.

When working from home can improve work-life balance to such a significant degree, many workers will be asking why they should be made to revert back to the traditional 9-5 in the office.

Mental health benefits

Work-related mental health problems are sadly a big problem across the UK, and working from home can help to alleviate this. As well as the improved work-life balance we’ve already covered, working from home benefits mental health in other ways too. One of the biggest positive changes is less time spent traveling to and from work. The daily commute can be a punishing ordeal for many workers – a life spent leaving home in the early morning, and returning late at night, can quickly become very depressing. Workers who commute long hours during the week have little time for anything else in their lives, and the experience itself can be stressful. Spending hours each day in cramped train carriages or in traffic jams is far from ideal for a lot of people.

Working from home (with no commute to worry about) can also allow more time for exercise during the working day: in the morning, evening, or even in the afternoon to break up the day. It goes without saying, of course, that the physical and mental health benefits of regular exercise are significant.

The tip of the iceberg

These are only a few of the most obvious benefits of working from home. The liberation of workers’ lives from a rigid, all-consuming work timetable can be hugely beneficial in a number of different ways. They can spend more time with their family, or on rewarding hobbies and activities, and all of this has the potential to increase their wellbeing.

The benefits for employees are clear, and it’s easy to see why demand is increasing from their point of view. But employers are starting to see the benefits, too, and this is another reason why the work from home revolution is coming. Happy workers are productive workers, and there is evidence to suggest that working from home could actually boost productivity – and save employers a fortune in office rental costs at the same time.

Author: Eliie Hayes

3 Tips for Better Time Management Working from Home

This entry was posted in Articles, Working life and tagged , , , , on by Andres Herrera.

According to statistics from LinkedIn, 82 percent of professionals would like to work from home one day a week or more, with 57 percent wanting to work from home three or more days.

COVID-19 has normalized remote work, and for many, it is more efficient. But there are some challenges that come with working remotely, not the least of which is time management.

Here are a few tips to make the most of your time when working from home:

Set Virtual Boundaries Between Work and Home

When working remotely, have a workspace away from the distractions of the rest of your home. Make sure you have everything you need to work within reach and good internet connectivity.

Try to stick to a set schedule. Allow for exceptions, of course, but try to guard against working around the clock. 

If possible, install Slack, Zoom, or whatever collaboration software your company uses, on your mobile phone. That way, even at the doctor’s office, you can respond to important messages, still be engaged, and get work done.

Turn off text messaging and personal email alerts while working remotely. They can distract you when working, and you want to make sure you stick with the schedule you set from beginning to end. Even if you only glance at these mini-interruptions or just delete spam emails as they come through, that time adds up. Before you know it, you may have wasted an hour.

When it comes to personal issues at home, spend your time and attention wisely. Focus on the big picture first, and you can worry about the details as time permits.

Of course, get your work done completely and on time.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

When you take a remote work job, you should adjust your expectations of yourself, your family, and the people you work with.

Your workday won’t look the same as it does in an office setting. Don’t necessarily expect lots of feedback, the way a boss might be able to provide onsite. If you self-evaluate, you won’t have to spend time waiting for feedback. 

Make sure you get enough sleep and eat right, and plan meal times so they don’t become another distraction.

Do larger tasks first unless you feel like you need a break to avoid burnout, in which case do small or easier tasks first or take a break before you dive into work. Do as much prep work as you can before you start a project. That way when you actually do it, things will go more efficiently. Avoid the trap of trying to multitask, and don’t procrastinate. Reach out for assistance as needed. You still have supervisors and colleagues as resources to offer guidance and advice even if you work remotely.

Learn patience, too. What seems like an emergency project may turn out to be something that can wait.

Embrace interruptions. Sometimes they’re just what you need to give yourself a mental time out.

Above all, always be mindful, relax and laugh often. Working from home doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Allow Yourself Flexibility

Use your own to-do lists or organizational tools that work for you in addition to whatever workflow software your company uses. Set project goals for yourself, and be prepared for the interruptions and realities of life, which will be a lot closer to you when you work remotely. 

Don’t bug your supervisors, but let them know if you’re swamped, and ask for extensions as needed.

When stressful projects are postponed or a personal emergency is settled, take the time to relish in the relief. Don’t just move on to the next thing. Internalize it and let it help you enjoy working remotely from a deep place. Time management should automatically become easier.

When you tackle a project at home, break large tasks down into small chunks (this is advice for any project).

Do each portion, and when you’ve finished a few, or feel yourself losing steam, give yourself a break.

When you’re ready to work again, move on to the next portion. Before you know it, you’ll be done.

In Closing

Working from home can be great. But you need strong time management skills. Try to recreate the structure that comes with working onsite by limiting distractions and setting boundaries. Take care of your mental health and use whatever resources you have available to make your workload manageable. 

Above all, enjoy the freedom and perks of working remotely, and consider these tips so you can manage your time successfully.

Author: Brad Wayland
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Brad is a business consultant and the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.

Ensuring Your Side Business Thrives While You Work

This entry was posted in Articles, Careers advice, Employment trends, Working life and tagged , , , , , , , on by Andres Herrera.

Around 40% of UK workers have a ‘side hustle’ (including their own business), according to research conducted by the Henley Business School, with uncertainty about work, a desire for a better standard of living, and the desire to face new challenges being three key reasons why. Ensuring your business thrives without your ‘standard job’ suffering – and vice versa – can be a big challenge, but getting the balance right isn’t a matter of intuition or chance. Rather, it involves creating a strict business strategy you follow to the letter, without wavering from what is probably your ultimate goal: being your own boss, 24/7.

What are the Elements of Business Growth?

The key elements of most business growth strategies include leadership (vision, knowledge, risk taking), marketing (connecting with your audience via social media and branding), sales, tech (relying on the right people to solve technical glitches), and support (having a team that attends to clients quickly and efficiently). All these elements are far easier to run smoothly when your business is a full-time occupation. However, when you only have part of the day to dedicate yourself to each department, time management is key.

Ensuring Your Side Business Thrives While You Work

Building Your Plan

For each key element of your strategy, goals and time limits should be set. For instance, if you are selling your services as a writer, legal professional, or accountant, set reasonable goals for areas like marketing and social media. How many followers do you have on Instagram and Twitter, for instance? How many do your competitors have? What number can you set as a goal and how many weeks or months will you give yourself to achieve it?

Branding is another area that should be broken down into components with time limits for each task. Your brand should connect with your target audience via the right logo, website content, and social media channels. Technical knowledge is another problem. Try to think of what might be standing in the way of a smooth customer experience. Is your website mobile compatible? Does your page take too long to load? You can tackle many problems yourself. However, when you are truly stuck, don’t waste valuable time trying to solve a problem that needs technical knowledge. Rely on trusted professionals when you are stuck in a rut.

Take Calculated Risks

Growing as a business involves stepping outside your comfort zone frequently. As stated by Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, fear causes you to overestimate risk. However, the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary life, lies precisely in your willingness to embrace change. Calculated risks are not based simply on ‘gut instinct’. They involve researching into possible losses, having a “Plan B”, and seeking advice from valued mentors. Request feedback from trusted entrepreneurs and be especially open when they point out possible flaws or mistakes. When you take risks, check periodically that they are bearing fruit. If something isn’t working, change your strategy to minimize loss.

Validate Your Idea

There are many ways that business ideas can be validated, one of which involves developing an MVP (minimum viable product) and seeing your target audience’s reaction to it. If it’s an app, for instance, test your MVP on investors, mentors, and your target audience. Ask for feedback so as to tweak any existing glitches. Conduct keyword searches with WordStream or Moz Keyword Explorer, to find out the existing supply for the demand your product is meant to fulfill. Ensure your business offers greater value than your competitors, and make a social media schedule, using various media to share awareness about your product.

Products like Hootsuite (which allows you to programme your social media uploads days in advance) exist to help you save time. However, this and other tools only work if you set a schedule for them that you stick to – even on days on which you feel tired after a full day at work.

By defining key tasks, setting goals and time limits, taking risks, and obtaining feedback, you can grow at a steady pace, staying motivated until the day you can dedicate all of your time to your true passion.

Author: Cassandra McNulty

5 Survival Tips for Young Entrepreneurs with Little Experience and Money

This entry was posted in Articles, Careers advice, Working life and tagged , , , on by Mar.

Being an entrepreneur is a goal for many. There is nothing better than the feeling of being your own boss and calling all the shots. Especially with the UK labour market not being as appealing as it once was.

While in thought, everything about becoming an entrepreneur may seem amazing, it is actually difficult when you start on the entrepreneurial path. So difficult that 3 out of 4 entrepreneurs end up failing.

There are many reasons for failure such as pressure and stress on entrepreneurs as they are solely responsible for the outcome of their business. Which can take a toll especially if you have little experience and money.

But don’t sweat it too much, the following tips will help you survive the quest of becoming an entrepreneur and yield the rewards and excitement that come with it.

Make sure you are passionate

For any entrepreneur to be successful they need both passion and commitment. You need that fire from within to really drive you to succeed.

If you feel that you don’t have the passion or time for commitment towards your solution, even the slightest bit of doubt, you may want to reconsider investing heavily in it and trying to build a business out of it. The reason why is because the path is not all rainbows and butterflies, there will be more downs than ups initially. The only thing that will drive you at that point is your passion.

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Pick a mentor

The path of entrepreneurship is not easy and twice as hard for someone who is inexperienced. While you, yourself may not have the experience, doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to guide you on this path. Someone that is an experienced entrepreneur. A mentor can help you plan and set a strategy that is not only effective but realistic.

Throughout your journey, you will have someone to turn to for guidance and assistance when needed. You may need to give up some equity for their time and guidance but at the end of the day, it will be worth it when your business succeeds.

Budget the limited cash you have

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they focus more on their potential in years to come rather than focus on today, especially when it comes to money. Rather than thinking about your projected earnings in the next 4 years, focus on what they are today. Don’t get lost in projections because then you will end up spending more money, thinking you will be okay cause your projections will have you covered.

Think of cash as the oxygen for your business, without which it won’t survive. Have a plan of what your costs are today and what it will take for your startup to stay afloat for at least a year.

You want to consider your rent along with other overhead costs like broadband internet, electricity, and so on. Plan and budget accordingly today so that your cash doesn’t bleed. Always check if there’s any available discount code to save money. Otherwise, you’ll create even more problems for your business and you don’t really want that, do you?

Know your market before you make the product

Never make a product and then try to create a demand for it. This is a sure way to fail. It is important that you do your research prior to making your solution. The solution needs to fulfil a demand that is already there in the market.

Therefore, talk to your target audience and devise your solution accordingly. The idea you have will have a specific market whether it is adults, children, parents, and so on. Speak to them and see how they would want the particular problem your solution is solving to be solved. This will allow you to cater your offering to the liking of your audience.

Have the right people around you

It is very difficult to build and grow a startup on your own. You may think that you can make it on your own but if you truly want to be successful, you will need a team by your side.

It is important that you select individuals that not only believe in your solution but share a similar vision as you. This is the only way you can be certain that they will put in the effort that is required to help make your startup a success. While you may have to take time in finding such individuals, in the long run, the effort you put in will be worth it.

Sources: JobisJob, Entrepreneur, Plusvouchercode, Freepik.