Meetings can be a great platform to get yourself recognised professionally, and if you present yourself confidently they can often help to advance your career.
Author Archives: Wendy McAuliffe
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.
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…
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?
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.
At the end of a big presentation or conference, it would be unusual to see the speaker or host pick up their belongings, put on their coat and leave, without any sort of closing speech. Generally, they would take a few minutes to deliver a summary, thanking the audience for their attendance and participation, and leaving them with a final thought.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This article is based on the webinar delivered by business consultant, author and speaker Gihan Perera, which can be viewed here.
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.
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…