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.
Category Archives: Project Management
Small organizations need to be efficient and use the most out of their resources. A lot of people think that just because there is a small team involved, that everything will run smoothly. It is true that the overall workload might be smaller but this doesn’t mean that the people individually have less work on their hands.
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.
How often do you leave a meeting, feeling that it was, well….boring? You made it through a big agenda, yet somehow little happened. There were no substantive debates. No ah-ha moments. It ‘looked’ like a good meeting, yet nobody would think or do anything meaningfully different because of it. This happens more often than it should and the culprit is the very thing that’s supposed to prevent it: the agenda.
Some days it seems almost impossible to be productive.
There are beeps and buzzes coming from your phone and calendar notifications on your laptop for upcoming meetings. These are just a few of the distractions that small business owners and employees experience on a daily basis. To fight the distractions and stay on top of things we try different productivity hacks. Most of the time they’re ineffective.
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.
Well, Citrix has done it again!
Gartner has released their Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing – and we’re thrilled to announce that Citrix and our web conferencing tools – GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and remote support tool GoToAssist have yet again been recognised as a leader in the market.
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…
It is often asserted that 70% of projects fail. Usually by software providers, consultants and training companies looking to sell you their wares. I read some research conducted 10 years ago that suggested the figure was relatively accurate in the area of “lean improvement”.
Yet, our research (the Change Makers), suggests that the numbers don’t add up. What we see is organisations, and project managers, working their proverbial socks off. Delivering complex and often under-funded projects. And they do deliver them!
I have to admit – I’m one of those workers who you’ll find tucking into a cheese and pickle sandwich at my desk at lunchtime. It’s a chance to have five minutes to myself and a cheeky peek at BuzzFeed before I crack on with my work. Not a great habit I know.
It’s tempting, I have to admit! A life without email would undoubtedly make a huge difference to my productivity. Throughout my career, the roles and positions I’ve held have always been heavily reliant on email, and although it’s been essential for communications, in many ways, it has also been a big distraction. Despite best efforts to restrict email related tasks to particular times of day, the reality is that people often expect faster response times. When an important email comes through which needs urgent attention, it can be tricky to ignore. But this can really disrupt the creative process and work flow.
Brainstorming was invented in 1941 by New York advertising executive Alex Osbourne, who found that conventional business meetings were inhibiting the creation of new ideas. He proposed a set of rules that he believed would give people the freedom to think creatively and bypass any inhibitions or tensions. They were:
Love them or hate them, obsessively organise them or desperately avoid them, meetings are a massive part of working culture. From a quick team catch-up to a full blown brainstorm to the nervousness of a management meeting or client review, taking a group of people into a room often results in a series of personalities rising to the surface. How many of these have you encountered? (Clue: if you haven’t met one, you quite possibly are one!) And how do you use them to your advantage to make the most of the time?
Let’s be honest…web conferencing can be a wonderful business tool for teams who are geographically dispersed or working remotely. But even the most experienced web conference user will have surely experienced some of the common awkward situations that are part and parcel to getting a group of co-workers to communicate virtually. It’s not always the most natural of situations, and unless web conferencing is a regular occurrence in your business schedule, it can be easy to fall down some of the technology crevices.
Most of the country has been issued with a snow warning in anticipation of the arrival of the “Beast from the East” – a stretch of cold air heading our way from Siberia. How lovely.
Back in 2013, 77% of organisations were affected by severe weather. Yet despite it being acknowledged as one of the biggest threats to UK businesses, few are often prepared for the disruption it causes.
We’re getting closer to finding out who will be named this year’s winner of the prestigious partnership with Lord Sugar himself, and we think this might just have been the best season of The Apprentice yet. There’ve been the usual personality clashes, the hilarious soundbites and the fist-bitingly awful gaffes, but that’s precisely what makes the programme such an addictive watch.
If you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, they invariably will say teacher, footballer, nurse or ballerina. But in the entire history of time, I don’t expect many children have answered project manager! It’s one of those vocations that creeps up on you, and suddenly you’re managing multiple global projects with six figure budgets attached, potentially with little formal training in the area.
I like to think of myself as a fairly organised person, but every so often, my email haunts me. Those occasions when I have more than 100 messages just sitting in my inbox are completely demoralising.
So in my quest for productivity-zen, I decided it was time to test a different email management system: Inbox Zero.
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, knew the importance of collaborative work. “He believed that Apple’s great advantage was its integration of the whole widget – from design to hardware to software to content-he wanted all departments at the company to work together in parallel,” writes Walter Isaacson in his biography, Steve Jobs. Jobs involved all departments in the development process. “Our method was to develop integrated products, and that meant our process had to be integrated and collaborative,” Jobs said.
But funnily enough, this collaboration took place around a big table, where various departments would thrash out ideas and offer their own perspectives. Imagine how he would receive the array of online business collaboration tools now making their way into the workplace!
It’s an all-too-common scenario: You’ve been asked to join a project that involves co-workers in one country and stakeholders in another. Meanwhile, you’re stuck in the middle, time zones apart.
Although in-person, telephone and email interactions have their place for projects like these, the ability to meet together online, see each other via webcam and collaborate on documents can speed up the process substantially.
Time management is one of those areas that many of us struggle with. Nowadays our lives are so busy, with our attention constantly divided across an array of connected devices, that the art of focusing and managing time is becoming more and more challenging.
My brain has always functioned better in the evening than the morning, and over the years I’ve needed to find ways to manage my time more productively at the start of the day particularly. It’s taken years of trial and error, and while everyone needs their own approach,
Since I work with team members all over the globe, scheduling meetings can be a pain. It sometimes takes me longer to find a single time that works for five people in four different time zones than the actual meeting itself.
But I recently discovered a tool that makes scheduling meetings with international colleagues lightning fast: a time zone converter. If you plan any sort of events, webinars, conference calls or web conferences with overseas participants, you absolutely need to check this out!