‘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.
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
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.
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).
Posted by Susannah Hunt on 16 July 2019
More Remote Working (RTÉ The Business- Radio Interview)
More Remote Working (RTÉ The Business- Radio Interview)
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer has urged everyone who can work from home, to continue to do so. But do people want to continue to work remotely? Sigmar CCO Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig talks to Richard Curran on RTE Radio, The Business. Listen back: https://www.rte.ie/radio/podcasts/22018390-more-remote-working/
SURVEY: Just one third of Workers to Return to the Office Full-time Post-Covid
SURVEY: Just one third of Workers to Return to the Office Full-time Post-Covid
According to the Sigmar/AON Pulse Report on the future of work post-Covid, just 34% of workers will be returning to the office on a full-time basis once Covid restrictions are permanently lifted. 22% of employees are expected to work full-time remotely with the remaining 44% to work hybrid between home and the office. Of this hybrid cohort, 92% will spend three days or less in the office. The Sigmar/AON survey polled 253 companies in Ireland to get insight into the future of work practices post-Covid. Commenting on the findings Talent Summit founder and Sigmar chief commercial officer Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “Recent speculation about the future of work has seen a division in thought between commentators and experts regarding the role the office will play in working practices post-Covid. With this poll, we have real insight into how employers are planning for the world of work once restrictions are lifted. The reality is that two thirds of Ireland’s workforce will see permanent changes in their work practices. That is a massive shift that affects the majority of us.” Remote Working to Spark a Global War for Talent The Sigmar/ AON survey finds that 22% of employees will work full-time remotely. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: “Remote work is the emerging front of a world war for talent, being fought virtually and our remote workers the spoils of this war. “Ireland is globally recognised as an epicentre of highly skilled and educated workers, making this cohort of employees an attractive proposition for employers from around the world. “There is now global competition for local talent, requiring an arsenal of new methods and systems to compete, as it’s more about hearts and minds than before. “International competition of this cohort of workers will be fierce, effectively opening up a whole world in which 22% of our workforce can work.” The Future is Hybrid 44% of Ireland’s workforce will work hybrid between office and home. 92% will work three or less days in the office. The reality is that many of us will work hybrid between the office and home. Last year we were challenged by the forced dislocation of the workforce from the workplace. This year, however, we will choose how, by whom and where work gets done, which requires deep consideration as we re-architect work over the coming months. This is a critical moment in time for the next generation of work. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: “ “According to this survey the future is hybrid.”
IT Jobs Market 2021
IT Jobs Market 2021
2020 was an interesting year for Ireland’s IT jobs market with the initial impact of Covid causing some companies to reassess their recruitment practices - either pausing or freezing completely. However, most sectors have bounced back since March and we even saw some companies take advantage of a less competitive market and increased their hiring plans. In 2021, we expect to see a release of this “pent-up demand” for candidates as businesses begin to move back towards BAU models. Digital Transformation Digital transformation projects that typically would have taken years to plan happened practically overnight or over a few weeks as COVID-19 restrictions forced companies to speed up their digital adaptions in what became an “adapt or die” environment. 2021 will see a further increase in demand for individuals with digital transformation experience as companies accelerate further the digitisation of their customer and supply chain interactions and of their internal operations. Companies who failed to innovate or tweak their processes to suit the demand of the market felt a larger impact than companies who remained agile and changed quickly depending on the market demands. Consumers have moved dramatically toward online channels during the pandemic, so companies are having to create digital or digitally enhanced offerings in response. Cybersecurity Unsurprisingly with the adoption of remote work and the planning for transition to the next “normal”, we have seen huge demand for infrastructure and security professionals which we foresee continuing in 2021. As organisations pivoted to work from home models, security engineers rushed to establish secure connections and prevent network threats that targeted remote workers. At the same time, with the surge in online shopping and e-commerce transactions, they had to bolster their organisation’s e-commerce platforms. 2021 will see organisations continue to increase their spend on cybersecurity as companies look to how they will operate in a post-pandemic world. With many organisations such as Google planning for a “Hybrid” work-from-home model, i.e. employees working a few days in the office and a few at home, network security will be a priority. MedTech, Life Sciences and Healthcare Given how health has never been more in focus than it has been in the past year, it is perhaps no surprise that there has been a huge demand for IT professionals in the wider health industry. MedTech and Life Sciences companies are continually developing new and innovative treatments and consequentially developing technologies to enable this. We have seen an increase in demand of more “hybrid roles” such as IT professionals with experience working specifically within class 1 medical devices fields. Biotech and digital transformation within gene cell therapy in particular is set to be a large growth area for 2021. Connected health is set to be a large growth area for 2021 also, as medical practices are forced to digitize and with telehealth being forecast to grow exponentially. Candidate-led Market Despite the initial dip in March 2020, the market very much remains candidate driven. Particularly now as candidates are no longer bound to jobs within commuting distance of the office. Regional talent pools have flourished as candidates who would have worked in major cities, now have the opportunity to work remotely meaning they can move to their preferred location and still do the same job on the same salary as before. Regional companies also benefited as they are now able to tap into larger talent pools due to remote working practices. Perhaps what has been most surprising about 2020, is that salaries have stayed relatively stable, but candidates have been seeking increases in their packages over base. With the increase in remote working opportunities, candidates are no longer distracted by “bells and whistles” (free food, ping pong tables etc.) and instead are more interested in actual projects, technologies being used and career growth and progression. Therefore, our advice to employers is consider how you are marketing your positions. Contractors We saw in our 2020 Q3 survey findings that many businesses looked to Contractors to fill gaps in their teams while coping with the uncertainty in the market due to COVID-19. From recent discussions with our clients this trend is likely to continue in 2021. We particularly foresee an increase in demand of contract roles for Frontend/Fullstack Developers, DevOps Engineers and Data Analysts. As a result of the increase in demand, contract rates have been on the rise. With many large and SME organisations reverting to remote work this has opened the market up to all areas of Ireland. A big trend is seeing Contractors based in the regions now being able to work for the large organisations in the cities and receive the same rates of those based in the cities. Therefore, rates in the regional areas of Ireland have increased due to the remote access of new roles in the industry. All-in-all, we are optimistic about the IT jobs market in 2021 with plentiful opportunities across digital transformation, cybersecurity, MedTech, pharma etc. The roll-out of the vaccine should increase confidence and create further opportunities as the year progresses. Download our IT Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF)
Salary Guide 2021
Salary Guide 2021
Download - Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF) Executive Summary From Adie McGennis, CEO We thought we had seen it all! If someone said in January; that most of us would fundamentally change the way we work (possibly forever), that some markets would be down over 80%, that we’d all feel awkward when not wearing a mask, that we couldn’t meet any clients or candidates for most of the year, that international travel would be nearly impossible, and that in Ireland record levels of employment would turn to record levels of unemployment in a few weeks; you would probably expect a more volatile salary comparison guide at the end of 2020. Indeed, the personal and health toll for many puts business considerations in context, so we wish everyone well, good health and wellbeing. Obviously, some areas suffered more than others and many areas even thrived, but overall, the stability in professional salaries may be the remarkable aspect of 2020! Generally, in volatile times temporary and contract work increases and this was very much the case in 2020. Many companies had to deal with a rapidly changing landscape in terms of their market, remote work, government supports and varying degrees of lockdown. Progressive companies hired professionals on a temporary or contract basis, and even on a remote basis, so demand and rates did increase for contractors in areas such as IT. We see this continuing even as the rate of change is slowing and hopefully stabilising. For some years now, we have been talking about career plans being fluid and dynamic, and flexibility and contracting increasing. This definitely took a leap forward in 2020. Sector wise, life sciences, including pharmaceutical got increasingly busy throughout the year and from R&D to manufacturing to distribution, this looks set to continue growing for the next few years. Financial Services was more challenging, as their market and way of work changed so quickly. Certainly, towards the end of the year it seems to be stabilising. At the end of 2020 Brexit is again looming and Dublin’s and London’s financial services will experience change and opportunity as well as challenges, for at least the next few years. Construction really slowed in 2020, but again steadily picking up in last few months, as general demand returns but also the way construction sites work has evolved. As a group generally SMEs in Ireland handled the craziness really well. Agility, pivoting and bootstrapping seemed like management school concepts until out of necessity, many businesses changed their model, their cost base, their strategy, and their mentality very quickly to go from Survive to Thrive in a few months. So many inspirational stories. They deserve the opportunities that we hope an improving landscape will present. So, our outlook for Ireland in 2021 is positive. There will be more challenges in coming months, but we are optimistic that the general picture will improve. From a national perspective the short-term funding required will necessitate strong budget management in coming years to enable businesses to grow back. Ireland still carries a lot of debt and politically there may be pressure to increase public expenditure beyond sustainable rates. But as long as we get this right, we have every reason to be optimistic and put 2020 down to learning experience. Download Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF) Salary Guide 2021 by department Accountancy & Finance Construction & Property Services Financial Services HR Insurance IT Legal & Compliance Life Sciences Manufacturing & Engineering Marketing Multilingual Office Support Sales Supply Chain