Author Archives: Wendy McAuliffe

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Wendy McAuliffe is director of social media and content creation consultancy Populate Digital, and co-founder of Bloggers Required. She is also part of the respected Econsultancy training team. Wendy’s a former technology journalist and in her spare time writes a parenting blog, MummyMcAuliffe. She lives by the sea, and that’s where she can usually be found on her days off. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

What we can learn from these companies about work-life balance

What we can learn from these companies about work-life balance

Establishing a healthy work-life balance is something that I continually struggle with. I work from my home office which can be very difficult (impossible) to get away from; but also, since I am self employed, I rarely stick to a rigid 9-5 routine. Of course this isn’t a problem unique to home-workers. Having worked for large companies too I remember how unusual it was for myself and my colleagues to leave the office on time. If we managed on the odd occasion to get all of our work done within our contracted hours, it was a rare and wonderful thing.

6 LinkedIn influencers worth following in 2017

6 LinkedIn influencers worth following in 2017

LinkedIn has recently undergone a big refresh, bringing its newsfeed far more in line with Facebook and other social networks, showing trending stories that are curated by human editors and algorithms. Users can un-follow and hide posts easily (just like Facebook), but interestingly, Pulse, its daily news and publishing platform, is now more tucked away than ever it seems, although also available as a standalone mobile app. This makes it even more important to seek out the influencers worth following, so that you will never miss a post by them.

How to successfully delegate decision making

How to successfully delegate decision making

There’s some irony in the fact that taking the decision to delegate decision making can sometimes be a tough one, and particularly within a small company where autonomy has generally rested with you. It can be a time-consuming process and often requires a mindset change on your part, along with a willingness to let go of a certain amount of control. It can sometimes be tricky to find the right balance but when managed successfully, the delegation of some decisions brings with it great benefits and can be highly worth the investment of time.

How to prioritise your workload for a more productive day

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning plates, rapidly switching between one unfinished task to another, putting in a burst of effort to keep one task ‘spinning’, hoping that none of the other plates crash to the floor in the meantime? It’s an exhausting, stressful and ineffective way to work. Only when we’re able to prioritise and give our single, undivided attention to the task in hand can we keep focused and productive, and have the freedom to think creatively.

Why we need to stop multitasking across our different devices

Why we need to stop multitasking across our different devices

Our brains are designed to handle just one cognitive task at a time, but today’s hyper-connected culture combined with our assortment of tech devices creates the growing temptation to try and do several things at once. We might be working on an important presentation, but at the same time we will check our emails, hop onto Instagram, reply to a text message and also have our favourite Netflix series playing in the background. It’s this constant task-switching that neurologists say is having a detrimental effect on our productivity, as well as our wellbeing.

Workplace stress: is your job killing you?

Workplace stress: is your job killing you?

In Japan, where there’s no legal limit on working hours, there’s an accepted phenomenon called ‘karoshi’, which translates to ‘death by overwork’. The Japanese government compensates families who have lost loved ones due to employment-related exhaustion or suicide. According to Labour Ministry data, claims for compensation for karoshi rose to a record high of 1,456 in the year ending March 2015, however it’s believed the true figures could be 10 times higher than official records.

The rise of part-time freelancing, and how it could work for you

The rise of side-gigging, and how it could work for you

The number of individuals taking on part-time freelance work, on top of their full-time job, is sharply on the rise. According to a recent study by LinkedIn, “side-gigging” (as it tends to be called in the US) is growing more than three times faster than full-time freelancing. Furthermore, the share of users within top professional fields who are undertaking top-up freelance work has more than doubled in the past five years.

Five ways to keep your job search a secret

January is one of the best times of year to begin a job search. After the Christmas shutdown, key decision makers have finished their vacations and are around for hiring, new yearly budgets are available and fresh projects and clients are beginning. For these reasons and more, now’s the time to be getting your CV out there if you’re looking for a change of role or career in 2017.

Questions successful business leaders ask during interviews

If you’re fortunate enough to be interviewed by Richard Branson one day (hopefully on Necker Island!), don’t expect to hear questions about your career history, strengths or weaknesses. He’s not a fan of the traditional job interview, and in his book “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,” the Virgin Group founder explains the importance of hiring individuals who are a good ‘personality fit’. Focusing conversation on academic and professional achievements, and talking through a CV, would in many ways be a waste of time, he argues.

How to keep staff motivated this Christmas

How to keep staff motivated this Christmas

December can be one of the most challenging months of the working year, and keeping employees engaged and focused on their work can be tricky. According to a recent study, two-thirds of employees will use paid time to do their online Christmas shopping at their desks, meaning that businesses could stand to lose hundreds of hours in productivity. There often ends up being fewer man hours to get the same volume of work accomplished, and for some, end-of-year targets need to be met and budgets and planning for the year ahead finalised. Juggling work with personal family commitments can create a number of pressures and distractions, and so it’s no wonder that during the festive season, employee morale and motivation can dip.

The top things you should aim to achieve before Christmas

The top things you should aim to achieve before Christmas

I’m aware there’s a certain irony in me writing this post, as I still have an awful lot to accomplish before Christmas! I’m sure it’s the case for many, and so before we get swept up in the usual Christmas panic, here are some ways in which we can maintain our normal pace of work, and focus on the things that really matter. Once we’ve cleared the decks, it will mean that we can leave the office with a clear conscience, switch-off from work and have a truly restful Christmas…

The reading habits of the successful

The reading habits of the successful

Christmas is just around the corner and this brings with it the chance to curl up with a book that might have been sitting on your ‘to be read’ pile since the start of the year. While I usually manage to read daily, it’s often just before I go to bed which I’m sure is the case for many; opportunities to read during the daytime are few and far between. This makes me wonder how some of the world’s busiest and most successful business people find the time to read so voraciously and plough through several books a month. Surely they’re not sat in bed every night reading until 3am? Or are they?

10 thoughtful ways to welcome a new employee into your company

First impressions count for a lot, and we only get one shot at it. Have you ever begun a new job, only to find that your workspace wasn’t properly prepared for you, IT hadn’t organised your logins and no one had been officially assigned to greet you? Beginning a new job can be an incredibly isolating and nerve-wracking experience, and even more so if it feels like no one is expecting you. Helping a new employee to feel welcome and part of company culture can make all the difference and be instrumental in encouraging them to deliver their best from day one.

10 meaningful quotes by Bill Gates – the world’s second richest man

Bill Gates: 10 meaningful quotes from the world’s second richest man

Successful businessman, entrepreneur, self-confessed ‘geek’ and philanthropist Bill Gates is a bit like Marmite. While some love him for his achievements as an entrepreneur and his contribution to technology, others who maybe aren’t Microsoft fans, find it tricky to connect with him on any sort of personal level. Famously publicity-shy and socially awkward, he has never  had the easy appeal of Richard Branson, for example; but he’s an individual to revere for not only his business and technology conquests, but also the work he’s done for the world’s disadvantaged. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation boasts assets worth $37.1 billion, which Gates has personally contributed $28 billion to, as well as working full time for.

10 hacks to help you appear smart in meetings (infographic)

10 hacks to help you appear smart in meetings (infographic)

For reasons that I’ve never been able to fathom, some companies just love to call meetings, for the most trivial to the obscure of reasons. I’ve even been known to receive an invite to a pre-meeting, to discuss what we will be talking about at the actual meeting! Very often these meetings, which lack any true purpose, generate very little in the way of action points and are promptly forgotten or sidetracked once everyone has left the room.

5 TED talks on inspiring leadership

5 TED talks on inspiring leadership

Leadership is a significant issue facing not just business, but the world in general, at present. In the business world particularly, times are changing, and workplace hierarchies have undergone some massive shifts in recent years, paving the way for more distributed forms of leadership. Today’s rising generation of workers are showing preference for flat, collaborative organisational structures, with few hierarchical levels and looser leadership. Google has championed this business model for quite some time, on the basis that it helps to attract more talent and allow for more rapid business growth.

How to get more done in an open plan office

How to get more done in an open plan office

The open plan office was set up to encourage disclosure, discussion and debate. At the time it broke down traditional office hierarchies, sitting managers among the ‘workers’ and promoting a more flexible and democratic way of working. It saved companies money too, as the need to construct large, fancy offices for senior management was drastically reduced, as was the overall volume of office space needed.

5 ways to ensure you are consistently operating at your peak

5 ways to ensure you are consistently operating at your peak

The Christmas season gives many of us a chance to take a break from routine, spend time with the family and recharge our batteries. As January looms and the start of a new year is upon us, it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities and set goals for the year ahead. That sense of a fresh beginning and new challenges has never been lost on me, and now is a good time to be evaluating whether you’re consistently performing at your peak, or whether day-to-day distractions and the demands of others are too often getting in the way.

8 books famous business people swear by

8 books famous business people swear by

At this time of year, there’s nothing I’d love more than to be lying by a pool, with an iced coffee in one hand and a book I’ve been longing to read in the other. Nowadays, my reading time is whatever I’m able to grab, on the train to a meeting, while supper is cooking or when the kids are in bed. But I read religiously every day, and always have done, as it’s my source of escape from the daily grind, and the place where I go to learn more.