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Posts Tagged “Workplace”

Via CBC News : Tips on increasing productivity and battling workplace distractions

Turn off the notifications on everything — ignore the beeping phone noise every once and a while

Many workers need to concentrate deeply to get their work done, yet workplace design, technology and our colleagues conspire to distract us.

This has never been truer given workplace layouts with he notifications our phones and computers generate and how we’ve convinced ourselves our entourage requires a response to everything all the time.

Distractions are problematic. They sap the finite resource we have between our ears.

The energy required to restart our concentration after being distracted by checking email, talking to a colleague or responding to a phone notification is significant.

People and others who work with their hands figured this out a long time ago. When is the last time you saw a welder with an eye on their Facebook feed and a hand on a welding torch?

Knowledge workers could learn a lot from the disciplined focus and concentration trades people demonstrate every day.

Here are a few steps to counter the productivity-robbing and brain-power-depleting distractions.

Carving out, scheduling and protecting time for focused concentration.

Removing yourself from the hubbub works.

Employers are increasingly amenable to working from home or another location to accomplish those specific tasks requiring quiet and full attention.

Thankfully modern office designs are including more and more quiet spaces for meetings or focused work that can be reserved.

Having a notification-free zone can help too.

Turning off the notifications on everything and learning to ignore the urge to constantly check stuff that beeps, vibrates and sings you a song is huge.

You are rewarding the same part of your brain that enjoys sugar and you are indulging in a very destructive habit that is killing your focus and productivity.

Email batching

Evidence from researchers at UBC associate increased levels of workplace stress to how often you check emails.

Try carving out times in the day to send out emails, rather than respond every second.

Practitioners of email batching schedule 2-4 windows per day when they do nothing but send emails.This requires you to refrain from believing the world will stop if you don’t respond in milliseconds.

You may indeed annoy others, check that, you will annoy those who are conditioned to rapid fire email responses from you. They’ll get used to it.

It’s better to disappoint some folks by responding a few hours later and deliver required results over pleasing yourself and others but not delivering on the work that needs deep thinking.

Even worse is dragging unfinished work home at night and blaming distractions you could manage otherwise with a bit of discipline, scheduling and systems.

Devise an end of work day mantra to tell your brain your work is done for today

Author Cal Newport sheepishly admits his personal end of day routine is to rise from his chair and boldly proclaim “system shutdown complete.”

He’s referring to himself not his computer.

It’s a playful but clear signal to his brain that it’s now time to recharge with food, family and leisure not to mention much needed sleep.

He makes a compelling case for why you’ll be way better off tomorrow by doing a deliberate work shutdown at days end.

His book Deep Work-Rules for Focused Success in the Age of Distraction is chock-full of other helpful strategies.

Bad habits regarding distractions are destructive to our wellbeing and our productivity. As leaders, when we model such behaviour we infect others.

By “shutting the door and unplugging the phone” you give yourself a chance to minimize the productivity-robbing nature of workplace distractions.

Time to check the afternoon’s email batch.

5 keys to a better workplace

Posted by | September 28, 2017 | Workplace

Via The Des Moines Register : 5 keys to a better workplace

What distinguishes a Top Workplace from an average one? The truth is, there’s no single practice, no one-size-fits-all solution for achieving great results. But there are common qualities of success you should be able to identify in every company.

We know from our decade of research it’s not perks or “coolness” that makes the difference. The best employers carefully craft a positive workplace culture. We also know these organizations on The Des Moines Register list of Top Workplaces for 2017 share a common foundation that supports a healthy culture — and employee engagement.

Here are five key lessons:

1. People really are the greatest asset: It goes beyond lip service. It’s a core principle that’s brought to life every day, with leadership putting employees at the center of their thinking. Done right, the feeling is returned: Employees consistently tell us that a sense of appreciation and confidence in leadership are among the most important factors for their workplace satisfaction.

2. Leaders listen: The best leaders listen to the feedback provided by employees both formally and informally. While some leaders might dwell on the inherent risks of giving employees a voice, leaders at Top Workplaces are clued in to their team’s challenges and use this knowledge in decision-making. This builds a sense of commitment and accountability.

3. Everyone is in the loop: It’s difficult to be fully committed if you’re kept in the dark. Employees want to be well-informed. Leaders in Top Workplaces recognize this. They’re committed to sharing information as much — and as often — as they can. And they don’t just share the happy news. Organizations that fail to communicate with staff on a regular basis, substantively, will leave an information void. That gap will be filled quickly with rumors and speculation.

4. Live with a purpose: Employees want to feel their work contributes to something meaningful. Effective leaders deliver an inspiring vision, which the entire team connects with day to day. In 2016, among the top 10 percent of companies we surveyed nationwide, 96 percent of employees reported feeling motivated. Compare that to the bottom 10 percent of organizations (which most closely represent a “typical” workforce), where just 62 percent of employees felt motivated. This 34 percentage-point gap represents a massive drop in productivity. Motivation matters.

5. Build community: Neuroscience teaches us the importance people place on feeling accepted and safe in their “tribe.” It helps them stay focused and contributes to success. In forging productive employee experiences, Top Workplaces care about building community. They hold regular, purposeful events that foster a sense of belonging. That sense of appreciation also keeps employees connected. We see it in the WorkplaceDynamics survey comments, like this one from an employee at Storm Lake-based Central Bank: “Open communication and brainstorming is welcome here. It is a true teamwork atmosphere where everyone benefits by working together.”

The best workplaces always look to improve. After all, it’s a journey, not a destination. Even top-ranked companies will find things to work on in a process of continuous improvement.

If done right, employees will know their workplace is special. Employers shouldn’t be shy asking for extra effort in return. Ensure staff remains active in the ongoing success of the organization — with all the necessary accountability. And remember to celebrate along the way.

via Times of India : Congrats, I hate you!

You’ve bagged a new project, gotten a promotion or become the go-to adviser for your boss. It feels great to be appreciated and if anyone knows how much you deserve this, it’s your closest friend at work. But where you expected affectionate praises, you are treated with cold detachment. Suddenly, your confidant/e in office has gone from supportive to withdrawn, and you are torn between righteous anger (‘Why can’t you just be happy for me?’) and regret at what seems like the loss of a friendship. But it need not be the end.

Clinical psychologist Shivani Misra Sadhoo says, “Co-worker jealousy is not uncommon in the corporate world. A recent event, like a promotion or winning the ‘best employee’ award, or simply a contrast in personalities (one is more social and so gets more attention) can trigger envy.”

Jealousy, essentially, arises from a resentful longing for another person’s qualities, advantages or luck. Studies in workplace psychology suggest that it is usually aggravated in those with low self-esteem or those discontented with their own situation. It not only ruins your work equations but also affects your overall productivity.

Wait before reacting

The first step towards trying to deal with such a person is to determine whether their behaviour affects your work or not. Senior HR consultant Bhavna Bhalla says, “If not, it is best not to do anything; especially if they are not in the same team or department. Maybe the negativity will die a natural death.” Clinical psychologist and life coach Rachna K Singh says, “Avoid office politics and gossip. If you maintain a clean image and even temperament, the efforts of somebody trying to ruin your reputation with baseless claims will yield no results.”

Talk it out

If the two of you have to work in proximity, try to resolve the conflict that might be plaguing the relationship. “There might be something you did unknowingly that irked them, or something that might have landed you on the wrong foot,” says Singh. Such misunderstandings can only be resolved if you try and directly communicate with the person.

Tread lightly

Another way of dealing with the situation is to show that it doesn’t discourage or put you off. Make use of your sense of humour and laugh off the rumours doing the round. Sadhoo says, “Conduct yourself with dignity. This will help you gain the respect of other colleagues. Eventually everyone will realise that the other person is out to mar your reputation and stop paying attention to her gossip.”

Bring in the boss

If all the above steps doesn’t resolve the conflict, go a step further. Bhalla says, “Try and convey your thoughts to your immediate boss, if your team’s or your work is getting affected (by the uneasy equation). Find solutions to improve your productivity, whether it is by changing teams or laying down certain ground rules.” At the same time, don’t let your colleague feel that you are ganging up on him or her.

Report it to HR

If things continue to escalate to an unmanageable level, approach the HR department. Bhalla, however, cautions that you may have to play this by ear. “HR departments don’t have any policy to deal with such office politics,” she says. You will have to broach the issue, register your complaint and make sure there is a record of the unprofessional behaviour, or harassment, you are facing.

Get a positive ID

How to know if you have a jealous colleague…

  • The person will stop talking to you: This is usually the first sign to watch out for. You will notice that this person has stopped greeting you and avoids you. S/he may appear curt if you initiate a chat.
  • You will find him/her busy during lunch or tea breaks. You will stop feeling comfortable around the person concerned.
  • Won’t appreciate applause for you: S/he may abruptly leave or pretend not to hear any appreciation directed at you. She may even snap or appear angry or rude when confronted with someone singing your praises.
  • She will talk behind your back: On spotting you, if the person concerned stops suddenly in the middle of an animated conversation with someone else, all’s probably not well. S/he may become increasingly sarcastic and just unpleasant to be around.

via Business 2 Community : 10 Tips for Time Management Within the Workplace 

On average, we spend 8 hours a day at work. We show up at 9am, and leave by 5, that’s 480 minutes, or 28,800 seconds! Yet we complain that there is never enough time in the day. We’re rushing to complete tasks at 4:30 because we desperately want to leave on time. Soon enough, we realize it’s 6 p.m, and we still have work to finish, that we later put off and say we’ll get to tomorrow. It’s a vicious cycle that occurs in every workplace, regardless of what industry you’re in. It’s up to you as an individual to find tips and tricks, so that we can be our most productive self at work. 

As a Project Manager, it’s my job to be efficient and organized. Here are 10 tips that I use to manage my time more productively, which I hope you find helpful.

1. Question Yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane, day-to-day tasks. Therefore, a great approach to any task that you find yourself doing, is to pause and ask yourself. “Is this the best use of my time?”, or “Are there more pressing things I should be doing?”. I often find myself jumping into a variety of tasks that aren’t that critical, so this approach has allowed me to assess and evaluate the importance of my immediate tasks.

2. Shut Your Door and Plug In

In many working environments, you will be surrounded by fellow coworkers or subordinates. It’s easy to get distracted or off topic, and therefore isolating yourself is sometimes the best approach when you want to be productive. Whether it’s plugging in earphones or closing your door, don’t feel bad for doing whatever is necessary to finish your work.

3. Tame Your Technology

We all fall victim to this: checking our phones unnecessarily, going on social media 8 or 9 times a day, and even monitoring our inbox multiple times to see if we received anything new. Allocating time for checking and replying to emails is important, but don’t let that take up your whole day. That, along with browsing social media can take up a large chunk of your work time. Being conscience of this can greatly reduce the amount of wasted work hours.

4. Clear the Clutter

As the saying goes, a clear desk is a reflective of a clear mind. Having a messy desk or workstation creates unneeded stress for both you and others around you. Try to keep your space clean and have the same expectation of your peers.

5. Write it Down

One of the most common lies I tell myself is, “I’ll remember this”, or “I don’t need to remember this”. A common practice is to write everything down. Always have a notebook on hand because you never know when an important piece of information will be given to you. Being able to remember the details of it will reduce the time you spend remembering or retracting your steps to find the missing information.

6. Organize Paper To-Do’s

Creating action items and organizing it into immediate and not immediate tasks categories can greatly increase your task efficiency. When writing tasks down, ask yourself if what you’re currently doing is the best use of your time.One must have an organized idea of the urgency of each individual task. Understanding this will help allocate your working hours to the must immediate or time-sensitive deliverable.

7. Schedule It

A lot of people make to-do lists but never actually get around to completing their to-do’s. If this is a challenge for you, creating dates and times in which you want to complete a task will allow you to better organize your time and generate a greater understanding of what’s delaying you or taking longer than it should.

8. 30 Seconds or Less

Not all tasks are created equal, nor do they all take the same time to complete. Being able to analyze a task as it comes in, and assessing whether or not you can quickly address it, is a great time management skill to learn. Getting things off your plate quickly will allow you to address more pressing tasks within your work day.

9. Sometimes, It’s Okay to Procrastinate

It’s not always the best use of your time for you to tackle a task right when it comes in. Let routine, time-consuming items with no set deadline pile up, and tackle them all at once. This process can only happen after you clearly understand the deliverables needed for a task, and the number of other tasks left to do.

10. Consolidate Routine Actions

Finally, being able to combine routine tasks into a large batch is a great way to cut down the time wasted jumping from one action to another. Actively being able to set your brain to something it can do well allows you to power through it quicker. If you were to jump from large tasks to routine ones, it will slow down the process of both.

Ultimately, these are all tips that can help influence better time management in the workplace. Some might resonate more than others, and some you might be implementing already, but in the end, it’s the conscious effort of being aware of yourself and your surroundings that lead to the best management of yourself.

via BW DisruptFive Colors that Can Change the Way You Work

Color psychology is a subtle yet effective way to improve employee productivity. Sometimes a touch of color introduced through furniture or accessories can go a long way in affecting your behavior and even stress levels. The tactical representation of colors not only changes moods, but also profoundly magnifies productivity.

Infusion of color and design is not just limited to the outward beauty and appearance of a space but it is also a tangible way to enhance workplace emotions. Since colors are a fundamental part of our wellbeing, why not infuse workplace with colors that help to pursuit workplace happiness. When in the process of workplace ideation, study the science behind choosing specific colors to ascertain enduring benefits.

Here are some colors to invigorate your workplace:

Red to rekindle the office spirit

To be tied to one place all day long is vexing, so it’s no wonder that highly engaged professionals move around and change postures more frequently in the day. To encourage movement, add pops of red. Red is an exceptionally powerful and electrifying color which is known for encouraging movement and boosting energy. Carpets or floor rugs are a great way to add a splash of vigor to a workplace.

Yellow to bring out your thinking hat

The solution for a collaborative workplace is to create distraction free places that foster teamwork. Only 69 percent of employees in India feel like they are able to choose where to work in the office based on t

he task. It is imperative to provide employees with the right environment that nurtures innovation and cutting edge ideas.

Yellow and orange are colors associated with creative thinking and energy, so adding pops of these colors through tables or seating in collaborative spaces, can create a spark of inspiration. Yellow being the jauntiest color in the spectrum, should be used sparingly in order to balance the vibrant mix of the space. There’s also an infusion of yellow with other citrus tones that lends to the overall workplace mindset. However, to avoid aggressive behaviorism, given the vibrant element of these shades, they might not be desirable as a main wall color.

Green and blue to intensify focus

Mother Nature’s palette is often considered to have shades of tranquility and calm. These are used to complement the other vibrant tints in the space. Universally, blue is used as a main color for walls as well as accents of desks and tables, primarily due to its neutrality. Every professional whether an accountant, filmmaker or doctor faces the casualty of privacy. Given the privacy crisis present in offices, the demand for focus and attentiveness is high. Shades of blue and green are popularly used for website interfaces, break rooms and large office spaces. The welcoming, voluminous and captivating nature, similar to that of the ocean, proves to be an effective concentration therapy.

Earthy brown to create stability

Brown symbolizes stability which is the core of any working professional. Even the most well designed office can make employees feel chained to negative emotions. Brown has the enigma and confidence blended with steadiness and safety. The deep chocolate brown tones have a trendy look and suit natural light. Placing a colorful vase or accessory on a plain brown surface creates an atmosphere of involvement, thereby increasing confidence and reliability.

White to maintain a state of calm

White is known to help people remain in a calm state. Often used at law offices, the color tone helps to pacify a stressful or argumentative state of mind. When discussions become heated, conference rooms can use this color to their advantage. Many corporates have tactically incorporated white in their office spaces. However, the homochromous nature might cause diversion due to lack of bustle. So best is to use it frugally.

Many factors play into corporate contentment, but the physical setting plays a significant role in appealing to human-centric emotions. One of the simplest ways to improve employee productivity is through the strategic use of color. Though colors are ubiquitous, intelligent use of color at a workplace can go a long way in creating a vibrant culture which can indirectly help your business goals.