Are you the sort of person who bounces out of bed when the alarm goes off, excited to begin your day? Or maybe you’re a little more like me…hitting the snooze button, dashing around the house frantically trying to get everyone organised, running out the door, and needing a strong coffee before you can really get started with your day? Well at least that’s the way I used to be, but recently I’ve been working hard to become more of a morning person, and I’ve discovered some valuable lessons along the way.
Author Archives: Wendy McAuliffe
Do you frequently have that realisation that it’s 10am already, but you haven’t really accomplished anything yet? You might have made a coffee, browsed through a couple of articles, jotted down a quick ‘to do’ list, had a chat with a colleague and responded to a few low priority emails…but really, in that first hour or so, you know you haven’t begun to tackle anything substantive.
When I began working from home 10 years ago, the lack of office distractions and my newfound freedom to focus on a piece of work for an extended length of time, was a revelation. It was a novelty that has never worn off, and I look back on my years of office-filled banter, sitting within a busy newsroom among journalists who were continually talking on the phone, and I wonder how I was ever able to get anything done!
People typically leave a company for one of three reasons. The first is that they don’t see themselves as a good fit for the business, or feel that their work matters. The second is that they haven’t forged close enough bonds with their co-workers, or established enough respect for them. But the third and most common reason is that they’re unhappy with their boss, which in up to 75% of cases is the single driving factor.
This article is based on the webinar delivered by bestselling author Carmine Gallo, which can be viewed here.
Reading is my biggest source of inspiration. For years it has been part of my daily routine, as I’ve found it’s the best way to fuel me through the working week. In part this is due to my journalist background when it was critical that I read to keep ahead of the game; but since then, it’s a habit I’ve maintained, and there are some trusted blogs and online sources I turn to regularly for their insightful content and ideas. At times when my productivity is slipping, taking a 10 minute break to read a new post on one of my favoured blogs is often all I need to drive me through the slump.
Co-working is a fast-growing trend.
Initially, it was the domain of start-ups who’d outgrown their bedroom-based offices and needed a flexible, affordable space for their growing business. But over time the popularity and number of co-working spaces has blossomed, with more and more professionals wanting to decide for themselves how and when they work, so that they can spend more time with family, waste less money on travel and operate from an environment that inspires and motivates them.
According to Google…yes! So much so, that its Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, are kitted out with high tech sleep pods, where employees can go to recharge their batteries. These EnergyPods are said to incorporate NASA science, enclosing the occupant within a private space which shuts out any external stimuli, and reclining them in the optimum resting position to provide maximum blood flow throughout their body. If that’s not enough, there’s a built-in Bose music system for those who like to drift off listening to something relaxing, and a timer system gently wakes the occupant using light and vibration when it is time to get up.
Ten years ago, almost to this day, I set-up my first home office and entered the world of remote working. Back in 2006, virtual working was the exception rather than the rule, and I only made it sustainable through hefty train fares into London each month for regular client meetings. Virtual collaboration tools and technology had a long way still to go, and connectivity was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is today. But nevertheless, I made it work well, and discovered a newfound freedom through working when and where I liked.
The workplace has been steadily evolving over the past year or two, and big changes have come afoot in the first part of 2016. In the UK, the shift towards co-working has exploded, which has been led in part by the increasing number of individuals choosing to go freelance, who want more flexibility and control over where and when they work. Currently there are 1.4 million freelancers working in the UK, and the continued growth of virtual collaboration tools and technology, as well as the increasing acceptance of remote working, has given the freelance economy a tremendous boost.
Do you love the job that you do, or is it just ‘okay’? If you’ve been working in the same profession, or job, for 10 years or more, it’s likely that you’ve become a little bored or disillusioned with certain aspects of it, and maybe your output is no longer your best. Often we continue to ‘make do’ simply because we worry that making changes could be risky, or push us too far outside of our comfort zone.
I have been a member of Facebook for well over a decade. To begin with it was a mild distraction which I would log into every few days, to contact a friend or look at some photos. But over the years I have become acutely aware of my growing addiction, and at times I would find myself scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I should have been focusing on a piece of work, or giving something else my full attention. It was wasting time and my concentration was suffering, and it was obvious I needed to do something about it. The perfect opportunity presented itself when my six-year-old daughter suggested I give up something for Lent…
The ‘office’ as we know it has undergone a significant transformation in the past few years, with many businesses and employees warming up to the benefits of remote or virtual working. It’s a trend that has infiltrated businesses of all sizes, from global organisations through to SMEs, sole traders and freelancers.
Five years ago, face-to-face meetings were the norm for me, and what most clients expected. But over the past couple of years particularly it’s become more common for me to attend online meetings. The benefits speak for themselves, and that’s why so many businesses are opting to meet virtually. Gone are the days of two-hour commutes, hefty train fares, three hour meetings and the worry over what to wear! But for online meetings to be effective there are a few golden rules to follow.
There are some occupations where keeping hydrated is a ‘must’ and part of working culture. The mining industry in Western Australia, for example, involves working in extreme desert climates where temperatures can soar as high as 40°C and beyond. Miners are therefore required to keep their fluid intake up, and alcohol is usually banned from mining sites to help lower the risk of dehydration.
You only need to look back in history, or at some of today’s most successful business people, to see that coaching and mentoring has been around for quite some time. Plato was mentored by Socrates, Harper Lee was rumoured to be mentored by Truman Capote, Audrey Hepburn was mentor to Elizabeth Taylor, Marissa Myers is mentored by Larry Page and Marc Benioff was mentored by Steve Jobs. These people sought inspiration and the greater wisdom of others, and it paid off!
There is a lot to be said for being your own boss. I made the break from full-time employment in 2006, one month after getting married! I had a single client in place before handing in my notice, but it was still a big gamble, and particularly as I was hedging my bets on the emerging social media space. When I think back though, the nerves were minimal. Excitement and anticipation overwhelmed any feelings of doubt, and I couldn’t wait to be in charge of my professional future. I had created a tiny work space in my bedroom, within our one bedroom flat at the time. I was young, determined and raring to go.
Self-improvement should be a constant ongoing focus for anyone who is keen to progress in their career, but unfortunately it’s often something remembered at the beginning of a new year, only to slip in priority once workload mounts. If you set out to learn a new language in 2015, enhance your coding skills, gain a new level of fitness or maybe even write a book, the chances are it never really happened. Apparently just 8% of us achieve our New Year’s resolutions, despite more than 40% of us setting goals for self-improvement.
Now that the countdown to Christmas is in full swing, it’s always nice to reflect on the highs of 2015, and in our case, the blog posts that really got our readers thinking and sharing. So just before we kick back with a glass of mulled wine and call it a wrap for 2015, we thought you might like our Christmas Top 10 of the posts that grabbed the most eyeballs this year…
Four years ago, the first edition of The Smart Working Handbook was published, designed to offer best practice advice in transforming organisations through smart working techniques. Its success was unprecedented, with more than 100,000 copies being downloaded and shared. Its advice has been adopted by numerous organisations including the UK Cabinet Office, as the official guide to Smart Working for the UK’s 440,000 civil servants.