We get a lot of emails. A LOT. Probably more than we can handle. And smartphones haven’t helped with constant access to your emails, along with social media apps sending you a notification every time someone even thinks about you. So rather than moaning about the number of emails you have, why not re-evaluate your email habits and see what changes you can make. Here are some tips we’ve put together to give you a helping hand.
Email subscriptions is one of the biggest causes of unwanted emails so take a little time out to start unsubscribing. You’d be amazed at the amount of things you may have signed up to months or even years ago that you just automatically delete without thinking about it e.g. Google alerts, online shopping offers, group alerts from LinkedIn. Just think, is it something you absolutely HAVE to be notified about? Will the world end if you catch up on those offers in your own time, by actually logging in to the website and having a look for yourself? Probably not.
2. Send less emails
It seems obvious but sometimes you don’t need to reply to every email. Responding leads to responses so just assume the other person doesn’t want as many emails in their inbox as well and you may notice things slowing down. This doesn’t mean you have to be rude; perhaps pick up the phone? You can say things far more effectively and save time by having a two minute call rather than a 20 email conversation. Besides, with email and chat taking over, a little social interaction is long overdue.
A big part of email issues can be being included on email trails between colleagues that have no real bearing on the work day. Office chat and banter is great for morale but not great for productivity. It may be a good idea to remove yourself from group emails and avoid being overloaded by office spam. Management often see this sort of spam as negative for business and reflects badly on you so be selective in how many group emails you are involved in.
4. CC Folder
A great trick is to create a folder where any email you have been cc’d on goes in to a separate folder, which you can view when you have the time. Let people know you’re doing this though so as to ensure you’re not missing important emails or deadlines. It will make a huge difference to your inbox and your workload. And also, don’t cc people who don’t have a real interest or bearing on the topic. Put yourself in their shoes – I’m sure they are also sick of being cc’d on emails.
5. Don’t delete
Lastly, deleting emails is the most effective way of clearing your inbox but when you’re trying to find something from 2 months ago usually the easiest thing to do is ask whomever sent it to you to re-send right? Wrong. You now have that email twice, for no good reason. Start saving emails in folders. Not just in your inbox but on your hard drive.
Posted by Marina Morrissey, Manager Managed Services on 8 December 2017
10 Small Ways to Increase Productivity at Work
10 Small Ways to Increase Productivity at Work
‘Work smarter, not longer.’ This is the attitude more and more employers are adopting as flexible and part-time working becomes increasingly normalised by businesses. There are only so many hours in the day – to avoid taking work home with you, it’s important to be productive in the time you have. In a world of short attention spans and incessant distractions, however, that can be difficult. Here are 10 small ways you can increase your productivity at work and better attain that mythical work/life balance. 1. Document Your Time Humans’ awareness of time is historically warped. In very few scenarios can we accurately estimate how much time has passed, with our perception able to be distorted by factors such as temperature, season, time of day or emotional state. It’s therefore a great idea to document how much time a day you actually spend on completing certain tasks. Having an objectively clear picture of how your day tends to be spread out will help you better structure your time in the future. 2. Set Deadlines Now you know where your time is going, try limiting the amount of time you spend on one task. ‘Perfection is the enemy of good,’ so they say. You can always return to an activity and polish it up later. In the meantime, however, it’s a good idea to keep up momentum and move onto a new task when you can – you may be surprised at how much you can achieve if you’re strict with yourself! 3. Hold Standing Meetings This one may not be for everyone, but the results behind it are interesting. It’s been suggested by research that standing meetings (literally meetings where everyone is standing) are more time efficient and productive. Without seats or tables, there tends to be less territoriality and increased group collaboration, not to mention quicker meeting times. One study found their average meeting length was reduced by 25% when participants were standing throughout. 4. Act, Don’t React It’s easy to let your day be dictated by phone calls and emails, putting out fires with every response. While this reactionary attitude is a great way to simply ‘cope’, it stops you making headway of your own with projects that require you to be proactive in how you handle them. While it’s difficult to ignore a pop-up notification or a blaring ring tone, carving out time in your schedule when everybody knows not to disturb you, or turn your notifications off. 5. Delegate Many busy leaders tend to believe it’s quicker to complete a task themselves (and definitely get it right first time) rather than explain the task to a co-worker and have them complete it (maybe not quite right first time). This can result in complete overwork on the part of the leader, and perhaps an unhealthy environment of mistrust or micromanagement in the workspace. Instead, consider assigning tasks to colleagues based on their strengths, and take the time to explain to them clearly what exactly you’re looking for from them. You might be pleasantly surprised when they do it as well, or better, than you could! 6. Stay Healthy One of the most effective ways to increase your productivity is to keep your brain in top shape. Some things you can do to maintain energy levels and sharp thinking are: Get a good night’s sleep Stay hydrated Keep healthy, nutritious snacks in your desk drawer Exercise regularly, particularly in your breaks Take a full lunch break Don’t take work home with you when you can avoid it 7. Take…Breaks? Taking breaks to improve productivity sounds somewhat counterintuitive. However, scientists have suggested that taking regular mental rests from work actually makes us more productive in the long run. As University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras elaborates: “Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused…From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!” Why not give it a go? Try working in 90-segments with a 10-minute break between each. Really disconnect from your desk during this time – take a walk, get some fresh air. When you return to the problem at hand, you’ll be forced to think about it globally rather than specifically for a few minutes, perhaps enabling you to see solutions and perspectives previously hidden from you. 8. Avoid Multi-tasking When your to-do list is overwhelmingly long, it can be tempting to hop from task to task, generating an illusion of control for your own benefit. However, studies have consistently suggested that we are most productive when we set our minds to one job at a time. While you might feel you are getting more done while multi-tasking, in reality you are wasting time as you jump between headspaces, losing the clarity that comes with continuous focus. 9. Try Listening to Music Research suggests that certain types of music at the right time can really boost productivity. There is disagreement as to why exactly this is – some credit the boost in mood, some claim it is the ability to drown out office chatter. Regardless, music can be really useful in helping workers eliminate distractions and power through a task, particularly repetitive ones. Instrumental music is particularly praised as a focus-tool. The lack of lyrics means it’s hard for you to get distracted by words and meanings, enabling you to dedicate 100% of your concentration to your work. Similarly, the soothing effects of classical musical can help alleviate stress, helping you be more productive. If you don’t have a work playlist ready to go, you can find some great ready-made ones on most music streaming sites, such as Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music. 10. Prioritise We all have most productive hours. If you’ve followed our first tip and documented how you spend your work time, you should know what hours those are for you. Therefore, it’s only logical that you should assign yourself your most difficult tasks, and the priorities, in those ultra-productive windows. That way, a task that would otherwise take you an entire morning could theoretically only consume half an afternoon, if that’s how you work. As most workers grow increasingly unproductive throughout the day, it makes sense to reserve the easiest tasks for the afternoon. You won’t have to channel the same level of energy into these tasks, while also ticking items off your list. These are just 10 ways you can increase productivity in the workplace. While these are useful tips you can enact in your everyday working life, it’s important to remember that productivity is primarily a state of mind. If you love your job and find your daily workload rewarding, you’ll likely be considerably more productive than someone who does not. If you’re struggling to maintain productivity across the working week, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and assess whether this position is really the right one for you, or perhaps consider that you are suffering from Burnout (just this week classified as a diagnosable illness by WHO).
10 Types Of Leadership Styles
10 Types Of Leadership Styles
1. Autocratic An autocratic leader is one who dictates all policies and procedures. Employees and team members have no say whatsoever in how things are done and are expected to follow the command and control of the leader. 2. Coaching This leadership style is about helping others to improve themselves and achieve their goals. They are there to provide guidance and counsel. This leadership style can only work if the follower is open to being advised. 3. Charismatic A charismatic leader is one often adored by their followers. Their undoubtable charisma and personality may lead people to follow their every word. They can be sometimes viewed as manipulative because their intentions may be often self-focused. 4. Transformational Transformational leadership is where a leader works with teams to identify a change that is needed, creates a vision and then guides their followers by inspiring them. A transformational leader won’t only assign tasks and goals but allow teams/ direct reports to decide their own goals to align with the overall company objectives. 5. Laissez-Faire This leadership style gives employees complete free reign with little or no supervision. This can lead to low productivity among staff. 6. Affiliative An affiliative leader promotes harmony among his or her followers and helps to resolve any conflict. This type of leader will also build teams and ensure their followers feel connected to one other. 7. Visionary This type of leader inspires others and really drives progression. They would be well respected among their peers and colleagues and they strive to encourage confidence in their direct reports and other colleagues. 8. Bureaucratic The bureaucratic leadership style was first described by Max Weber in 1947. The bureaucratic style is based on following normative rules and adhering to lines of authority. Bureaucratic leaders are similar to autocratic leaders in that they expect their team members to follow the rules and procedures precisely as instructed. 9. Transactional This form of leadership would be seen in a sales environment. Leaders will incentivise goals and give teams targets to achieve in order to gain reward. The incentive will usually be in the form of monetary and will be granted to staff if tasks are completed or if they reach the top 10 performers. 10. Democratic Leadership This type of leader is one that takes on board what other people have to say. A democratic leader allows and even encourages others to participate in decision making. Do you see any similarities in these leadership styles and the one in your company? Or do you recognise yourself as one of these leaders? Understanding these styles of leadership is a great way to realise what works and what doesn't in your company. It helps you to know the outcomes you want to achieve. Each leadership style encourages different types of performances so it’s good to know what one works best for you.
5 Things to Avoid When Writing Your CV
5 Things to Avoid When Writing Your CV
Our Recruitment Consultants look at so many CV’s every day and they know exactly what makes a good CV and even more so, what makes a bad CV. If you want to impress a recruiter/hiring manager with your CV, avoid these very common mistakes. Don’t Forget to Include Contact Details You may just assume that sending your CV via email is enough for an employer to contact you, but often CVs get forwarded around and saved on hard drives/desktops so the original email you sent could get lost along with your contact email address. Always put your email address and contact number on your CV. via GIPHY Don’t Use Personal Details It’s good to show your personality through your CV and give the hiring manager a sense of who you are, but some personal details are too personal for your CV. Avoid putting your relationship status on your CV e.g. married, divorced. It’s irrelevant information and it could affect you negatively. All a hiring manger wants to know at first is if you are suitable for the job, leave the personal stuff until you are in the job and getting to know the people you are working with. via GIPHY Don't Be Vague About Important Details Too often job seekers will state a percentage like “Increased social media engagement 100%” with no additional details or context. This leaves the hiring manager to assume the worst about your accomplishment. If you can't be specifc or give detail about a statistic, it's best to just leave it out. via GIPHY Don’t Leave Gaps Time frames are so important on CVs. Dates on your CV should be reflected by month to month time frames, as opposed to year to year. Often people will avoid putting dates on a CV or will try to be vague about the dates in order to hide unemployment gaps. This can look suspicious to employers. It’s better to be honest and give reasons for any gaps instead of trying to hide them. via GIPHY Don’t Include Graphics Leave out fancy graphics, complicated formatting and decorative pictures where possible. They tend to make it more difficult for employers to read. Keep things simple, clear and detailed. If you work in Graphic Design or Marketing a more creative CV could be what makes you stand out to an employer, but avoid making it over complicated. A CV is supposed to outline your experience and skills and the last thing you want is an over complicated design diluting your message. If you want to showcase your work, you could send a ZIP file with a few examples, if you feel it's relevant. via GIPHY
The Pros and Cons of Working for a Start-Up Company
The Pros and Cons of Working for a Start-Up Company
Job security, salary and benefits, regular hours and a sensible work-life balance are what most jobseekers look for in any new employment opportunity. Working at a start-up firm can throw these factors into uncertainty - it’s not all bean bags and avocado toast. However, with Ireland recently being ranked number three in Europe for start-ups, have you considered the possibility that the excitement, reward potential and personal development that are intrinsic to start-up culture could be exactly what you’re looking for? Here are some pros and cons of working for a start-up company to shed some light on the reality of the situation. THE PROS Room for Growth The clue is in the name, but start-ups really are just starting out. That means that, as an early employee, you will be a key part of the company’s development and later success. You’ll be working side by side with the founders from the get-go, learning directly from your bosses and gaining invaluable experience in areas outside of your job remit. As everyone at a start-up is involved in the fight for the survival of the company, you’ll often be expected to take on responsibilities that push you out of your comfort zone and force you to expand your skill set fairly rapidly. As the company grows, so will your responsibilities, and soon you could find yourself in a senior leadership position at a successful firm. Freedom ‘Freedom’ is evident in two ways in start-up culture. Firstly, in the flexibility of working hours: employees are frequently permitted to choose their own working hours and to work from home, since so much business is conducted over the phone and online. Secondly, start-ups are associated with huge levels of innovative freedom. Start-ups are under huge amounts of pressure to keep up in the fast lane or fail, and so grant their employees a considerable creative license to break boundaries and completely reimagine ways to capture consumer engagement. If dynamic, forward thinking in a collaborative, close-knit team is your forte, working in a start-up could be the ideal working environment for you! Purpose When you join a start-up, you know that you will never be simply a ‘cog in a machine.’ As part of a small team driven by collaboration, the company’s mission will be at the forefront of your job description and decision-making process. In a regular office environment, middle management and sheer size of personnel can mean you often feel undervalued and perhaps unconnected with the bigger picture of what the company is trying to achieve. There’s no such issue in start-ups! In an intense, focused environment, you will see the impact of your work first hand and have a significant role in shaping the success of the company, giving you a sense of job satisfaction unlike much other. THE CONS You will Work…Hard More responsibility means a heavier workload and while, in the long term, you may walk away with dozens of great new skills, learning on the job while likely being a single-person department is a tough undertaking. You might find yourself working long hours for little compensation, with only yours and your colleagues’ faith in the company’s mission to keep the candle burning. Work-life balance would likely be called into the mix (what balance?) as you are compelled to take your work home with you – who else will do what needs to be done? Lack of Security Harvard Business School estimates the start-up failure rate to be an enormous 90-95%. That’s an incredible (and terrifying) statistic. Tech start-ups are at particularly high risk, as there’s always the chance that a competitor could sweep the market with a brand-new development, cutting the legs from under competing companies. Leaving a comfortable corporate job with a steady salary, dependable benefits and little risk of redundancy in exchange for a high-risk, unstable work environment that could go bust at any moment is not a gamble one should take lightly. Furthermore, while start-up founders may be excellent pitchers and have garnered piles of seed money from investors, that is no evidence of their leadership ability. With less rigid corporate structure and more direct interaction with the company bosses, you could find yourself working in close proximity to underqualified leaders that will not inspire you to commit wholeheartedly to a venture which requires your unadulterated passion to succeed. Not Much Financial Reward To begin with, at least. Start-up employees notoriously earn significantly reduced salaries until the company begins to achieve real success. After all, it is in investors’ interests not to allow their ventures’ employees to get too comfortable. Spurring your team on with the promise of eventual riches is intended to be a large motivator for hard work and innovation within the company, although you may never end up reaping these promised benefits if the start-up crashes out, like so many do. That being said, modern-age start-ups are ridiculed and envied in equal measure for providing their employees with perks such as free lunches (kombucha, anyone?) and wellbeing sessions. For example, personal finance company Credit Karma offers an on-site spa for employees, as well as nap nooks and music jam rooms, and Airbnb gives their employees a $2,000 stipend for annual holiday expenses. There you have it – the good and the bad about working in a start-up. The stakes are high but, if you make your move wisely, the rewards could well outweigh the struggle you experience at the start. In an exclusive interview with David Dempsey, Senior Vice President of Salesforce, he told us that leaving his job in a well-known tech company was ‘the biggest risk’ he’s ever taken, leaving his stable job for a three-man start-up in 2000. Now, Salesforce employs thousands of people across Europe and America and is one of the world’s most renowned SaaS companies. It just goes to show – taking a plunge and embracing start-up culture could be your ticket to success too.