There are several types of stamp with different names, eg Stamp 0, Stamp 1, etc. Each one indicates a type of permission, including the activities you can and cannot do in Ireland and the time period you are allowed to stay. You must be familiar with your stamp and the conditions that apply to it. If you break these conditions, you may have to leave the country. The time you accumulate on certain stamps may be used to calculate your 'reckonable residence' (subject to conditions) if you apply for citizenship by naturalisation. Stamp 0 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a temporary period, subject to conditions. Summary of conditions You must be of independent means, ie fully financially self-sufficient. Alternatively, your sponsor in Ireland must be of independent means and can support you fully. You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, eg be treated at a public hospital. You must have private medical insurance. You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 0 if you have permission to: Retire to or live in Ireland as a person of independent means Be a visiting academic at an Irish university or college Live in Ireland as the elderly, dependent relative of a non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen Extend a short term visit here due to exceptional humanitarian circumstances Work here for an overseas company to carry out a specific task for a limited time Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 0 Stamp 1 indicates permission to work or operate a business in Ireland, subject to conditions. Stamp 1 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You must not start a job or enter employment unless you or your employer has obtained an employment permit for you. If you do not have an employment permit you must not engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 1 if you have permission to: Work here based on an employment permit Operate a business here Work here based on a Working Holiday Authorisation Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 1 The Immigration Rules for non-EEA Stamp 1A Trainee Accountants of 1 June 2017 are currently under review. Until this review is completed the following conditions apply in order to qualify for a Stamp 1A. Stamp 1A description Stamp 1A indicates permission in full time, paid accountancy training (with a named organisation such as CPA Ireland, ICAI or regulated by the IAASA and with a training contract with a company based in Ireland) for a specified period, subject to conditions. Summary of conditions You must not engage in any other business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 1A if you have permission to: Study accountancy as a trainee & be employed as a trainee accountant Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 1A 1) Graduate Student who currently holds a Stamp 2 or 2A permission Stamp 1G indicates you have finished your studies in Ireland and have permission to look for employment here under the Third Level Graduate Programme, subject to conditions. Summary of employment conditions for graduates You can work for a maximum of 40 hours per week. If you wish to continue working after Stamp 1G expires, you must find a job that requires an employment permit and then follow the usual application process. While on a Stamp 1G, your other permissions and conditions remain the same as for Stamp 2/2A. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 1G if you have permission to: Look for work as part of the Third Level Graduate Programme 2) Spouse/de facto partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or a Spouse/de facto partner of Researchers in the State on Hosting Agreements From the 6 March 2019 the Stamp 1G will also provide for the change in policy to both visa and non-visa required non-EEA nationals, who are Spouses and de facto partners of persons who are currently resident in this State, on Stamp 3 conditions, as the family member of a person resident in the State on the basis of a Critical Skills Employment Permit or a Researcher in the State on a Hosting Agreement. The requirement to obtain a DPSEP has been removed for this group by DBEI. INIS will grant eligible de facto partners of CSEP holders and researchers on a Hosting Agreement permission, to reside in this State on Stamp 1G Conditions without the need to obtain a DPSEP from DBEI. This will allow access to the labour market without an Employment Permit. Summary of employment conditions for spouses and de facto partners of CSEP holders and researchers on a Hosting Agreement permission Permitted to work in the State without the requirement to obtain a work permit Not permitted to establish or operate a Business Not permitted to be Self- Employed Renewal of the Stamp 1G registration should be applied for annually, and after 5years on a Stamp 1G, you may apply for a Stamp 4 Periods spent on Stamp 1G are considered as reckonable residence for the purpose of making an application for Citizenship/Naturalisation Stamp 2 indicates permission to study a full time course on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP) for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 2 is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services (e.g. public hospitals) unless you have an entitlement via other means. You can work in casual employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during school term and 40 hours per week during holidays. You must not engage in any other business or trade. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 2 if you have permission to study the following: English language Higher national diploma Degree (undergraduate) Master's degree (postgraduate) PhD Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 2 Stamp 2A indicates permission for full time study in Ireland for a course that is not on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP), for a specified period. Stamp 2A is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, eg public hospitals. You must have private medical insurance. You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 2A in the following circumstances: Semester abroad (ie at an Irish university/college) Study at a private secondary school in Ireland Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 2A Stamp 3 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 3 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions Recently revised to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/revised-immigration-arrangements-for-the-spouses-and-de-facto-partners-of-critical-skills-employment-permit-holders If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 3 if you have permission to: Volunteer, eg with a charity or non-profit Be a minister of religion Join your non-EEA/EU/Swiss spouse/civil partner or family member who is here based on a work permit Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 3 Stamp 4 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 4 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You can take up employment and are not required to hold an Employment Permit. You can work in a profession, subject to conditions of the relevant professional or other bodies. You can establish and operate a business. You may access state funds and services as determined by Government departments or agencies. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 4 if you have had permission to work in Ireland: With a valid Critical Skills employment permit for 2 years With a valid employment permit for 5 years As a researcher (ie with a valid Hosting Agreement) for 2 years You may be given Stamp 4 if you are granted permission: To join your Irish spouse, civil partner or de-facto partner To join your EU/EEA or Swiss family member based on EU Treaty Rights To join a family member who has immigration permission based on Stamp 4EUFAM (ie EU Treaty Rights) To join your family member who is a recognised refugee or has been granted subsidiary protection To remain with your child who is an Irish citizen Under the Investor and Entrepreneur Programme (including spouse/partner & family) For Long Term Residence As a convention or programme refugee, or based on subsidiary protection Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 4 Stamp 5 indicates permission to stay in Ireland without limits on the time you can remain here, subject to other conditions. Stamp 5 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. The stamp will be valid up to the expiry date on your passport. You may be given Stamp 5 if you have permission to: Remain in Ireland 'Without condition as to time' (WCATT) Stamp 6 indicates you are an Irish citizen with dual-citizenship. You may be given Stamp 6 in your non-Irish passport if you have applied for permission to: Remain in Ireland 'Without condition'
Are you feeling disappointed about your Leaving Cert results or do you know someone who wasn't happy with the points they got? Don't worry! A lot of people aren't happy when they receive their results, including our staff. We asked around, and it turns out loads of us in Sigmar weren't pleased with the results they received. We decided to do a video series asking 5 members of staff what advice they would give to anyone feeling disappointed about your Leaving Cert results. Video 1: Adam Dunne, Marketing Executive Adam didn't get his first, second, third, fourth or fifth choice in his CAO form. He got his very last choice. As you can imagine, he was devastated especially competing with his twin brother who got what he was looking for. It all worked out in the end though and his course ended up giving him the best experiences of his life. Video 2: Ryan Tobin, Apprentice Recruitment Consultant Ryan started in Sigmar this Summer after completing his leaving cert without needing any points. This is the advice he would like to give to those who got their results with him in August Video 3: Dee Sweeney, Recruitment & Development Manager This is what Dee had to say to leaving cert students who weren't happy with the points they received. Sometimes work experience can be more valuble than exam results. Video 4: Fiona Halliday, Receptionist & Office Administrator Fiona is passionate about following her dreams. She has changed her career a number of times and her advice to any leaving cert students who weren't happy about their results is you can make a success of yourself no matter what! Video 5: Tom Deane, Team Account Manager Much like many Leaving Cert students, Tom was disappointed with his results, but it all worked out in the end. This is the advice he would like to share with leaving cert students who weren't happy with their results Photo Credit: The Irish Times
While the future is uncertain, what is certain is that by 2025, Irish workers and enterprises will be operating in a completely changed economy. Technology continues to herald new ways of doing business and new economic opportunities. This will present us with challenges, but also new possibilities. Lots of job roles will disappear or be redefined and emerging job roles will require new and different skillsets. In this blog we look at the sectors that hold the best chances for economic and job growth in the near future. Broadly the global economic performance and Ireland’s position are positive for the foreseeable future. With unemployment now at 4.8% and decreasing quarterly, all signals point towards continued, sustainable improvement. ICT Sector Ireland has become the global technology hub of choice when it comes to attracting the strategic business activities of ICT companies. This has earned Ireland the reputation for being the heart of ICT in Europe. The industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually. With Ireland being the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. With a highly creative and talented workforce, an open economy and a competitive corporate tax environment, Ireland has successfully attracted eight of the top 10 global information technology companies to establish a significant presence here. Some facts about the ICT sector: Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. Global leaders such as Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple have long-established operations in Ireland. They have been joined by newer leading-edge giants such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and Twitter. Dublin is Europe's leading hub of innovative games companies with Big Fish, EA, Havok, DemonWare, PopCap, Zynga, Riot Games and Jolt all having a significant presence here. Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry “Ireland is now operating in the same ballpark as major science-funding countries around the world” - Professor Mark Ferguson, SFI Director Already one of Ireland’s best performing industries, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is set to grow even further in the future. With a growing and ageing population worldwide, the number and degree of health-related issues is continuously on the rise. People will always need medical care ensuring a continued demand for research, development and production of new drugs. There are now over 30,000 people employed in the industry. This trend looks set to continue into 2020 with major expansions of many of the big pharma players across the country. The IDA reports the biopharmaceutical industry has made a capital investment of approximately €10 billion in new facilities in Ireland, in the last 10 years. This represents one of the largest investments in new biotech facilities anywhere in the world. As a result of the growth in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical device industries in Ireland, it is very likely that a student about to graduate with a third level qualification in science will find interesting employment in one of the following areas; research, manufacturing, regulation or sales and marketing. Some relevant facts about pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector: No. 10 of the top 10 world's pharmaceutical companies 7th largest exporter of medical and pharmaceutical products in the world in 2014 €39 billion in annual exports of pharma, bio and chemistry produce 75 pharmaceutical companies operate in Ireland 40 FDA approved pharma and biopharma plants Financial Sector The financial services jobs market for accountancy and finance professionals continued its upwards growth trend last year. Even without the added benefit of companies relocating to Ireland post Brexit, the confidence of both employer and employee alike has produced a healthy landscape with more opportunity for those who wish to change jobs. There is no doubt Brexit has been a major contributor to the growth in the financial services jobs market. We have seen major international companies relocate operations to Dublin and others who already have a presence here have laid out plans to significantly increase their headcount. This is all positive news for students studying in this area. Not only does this create opportunities that would not have existed without Brexit, it also increases churn in the market involving more established financial services companies in Ireland who subsequently end up with more vacancies themselves. Particularly for accountants, regulatory reporting accountants and in funds if you specialised in fund accounting, risk & control, depository, compliance and AML you will find interesting and worthwhile employment when you graduate. 42,000 people employed in the Financial Services Sector in Ireland 4th Largest Exporter of Financial Services in EU No. 1 location worldwide for Alternative Investment Funds All stats referneced from Future Jobs Ireland2019 Goverenment Doc and IDA.ie
Not happy with your leaving cert results? Don’t worry, have a look at these famous people who received some painful rejections before they accomplished some amazing things. Walt Disney The man whose cartoon characters have given so much to generations of students and are still a huge part of peoples’ lives today. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”, according to his editor. And his bad luck didn’t end there, when he finally managed to get his own production company he had to file for bankruptcy because he couldn’t manage his money correctly. Luckily, he didn’t give up, moved to Hollywood and went on to become one of the greatest animators in the world. His creations have gone on to touch the lives of many and as well as being a successful production company, Disney also operates theme parks, a streaming service and stores worldwide. JK Rowling People know JK Rowling as one of the most successful female authors in the world. What people aren’t aware of, is the tremendous struggles she faced before Harry Potter was published. In 1990, Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter but that same year her mother passed away and writing was put on hold. In 1992 she moved to Portugal to teach English where she met her husband and had a daughter. Sadly, in 1993 her marriage ended and she moved to Scotland to be close to her sister. At this time Rowling saw herself as a failure, she was divorced, jobless and broke. Rowling then began to focus her attention on Harry Potter. When her manuscript was completed, she sent it to 12 publishers and was rejected by all 12 before it was accepted by a small publishing company, Bloomsbury and the rest as they say is history. Photo: Daniel Ogren Flickr Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey had an extremely difficult start in life, she was raised in rough conditions and was the victim of sexual abuse from the age of 9. When she was 14 however, she was given the opportunity to live with her father who encouraged her to pursue her education and later she went on to university to study communications. Her difficulty didn’t stop there, as after gaining a job as an evening news reporter, she was fired because she couldn’t sever her emotions from her stories. Her boss told her she was “unfit for television news”. Oprah laughs about this now and even admits she wasn’t cut out for news reporting because she became too emotionally invested in the people and the stories. She was then given a talk show slot on the same television network and the rest is history. Photo: Ian Evenstar Flickr Katy Perry Most people know the name Katy Perry but few know of the struggle she went through to be the success she is today. In 2001, Katy Perry who was then Katy Hudson released an unsuccessful Christian album that only sold 200 copies and was subsequently dropped from her label. She then went on to sign with Island Def Jam in 2003 where she was also dropped. Then she was set to be the front woman of a band called The Matrix and that contract was also terminated before they released any music. It wasn’t until she signed with Capitol Music Group and released, I Kissed a Girl that her music career really took off. Photo: Joella Marano Stephen King One of the world’s most famous authors, Stephen King has written over 50 novels and has had many of his novels produced as films. However, King didn’t always have it easy. In fact, before his first novel Carrie was published, he threw it in the bin. It had been rejected 30 times and King decided he’d had enough. It was his wife that retrieved it from the trash and told him to keep trying, which is a good thing considering how successful that book became and his other books to follow. Photo: Rogelio A. Galaviz C.
Over 58,000 students sat their leaving certificate this year. Whilst many are happy with their results, there will also be many who aren’t so happy. If you’re feeling disappointed with your results, don’t worry we have some advice to get you through. 1. Don’t Panic! Give yourself time to come to terms with your results before you start thinking about the long-term implications. Remember, you are not the first person to be disappointed with your exam results. Some of the world most successful business men didn’t do well in school exams such as Bill Cullen, Alan Sugar, Richard Branson. via GIPHY 2. Research Possible Career Routes Think carefully about the career you would like to pursue and research thoroughly all of the possible routes to get there. Just because you think you’ve missed out on your ideal course, doesn’t mean there’s not another route to your end goal. Maybe you’re just shy of a few points, but you have enough for a similar course in a different college? If you don’t know what you want to do, look for a general course which will give you plenty of options. There are even careers out there that don’t have academic requirements that could be suited to you. via GIPHY 3. Consider Repeating While it’s a big decision to repeat 6th year, if you’re sure of the course you want and you’re confident you will get enough points second time around, then repeating could be the best thing for you. Before you consider repeating take the time to consider that while you had your heart set on a certain course, was it really for you? Really think about what your passion is and what you would really love to do. When you decide what it is you want exactly, you can then commit to another academic year in school. via GIPHY 4. Gain Work Experience (Get a job) This is an excellent opportunity for you experience the working world and develop new skills. Not everyone goes to college straight after their Leaving Cert. Many people take time out to work and save money for college. If you’re unsure of what to do, working for a few years could be perfect for you. It will give you valuable experience and it means you can go to college in a few years as a mature student. via GIPHY 5. Don’t Let Friends Influence You It’s important to discuss your options with people you trust, but only you know what you should do. Make your decision on self-assessment and not because of what others are telling you. It can be hard to not be swayed because of others. Especially when not going to a certain college means you don’t get to join your friends or repeating your leaving cert will result in being in back in school with a completely new group of people. Don’t let the thought of being separated from your pals stop you from pursuing the career you want. via GIPHY
You've just got the best news ever! You've been offered the job of your dreams. There's just one problem, you have to quit your current role and you have no idea how. You've had a good run in your current job but it's time for a change. How do you say goodbye without causing offence and ruining the good relationship you have with your boss. Below we’ve listed 5 steps to handing in your notice to help you resign from your job with ease. Know What You’re Going To Do After You Leave This is the number one step before you even dream of leaving. If you're leaving for another job, make sure you have accepted your new job offer and signed a contract. The reason you're leaving needs to be locked down before you resign from your current role. The last thing you want is to end up jobless. Act Professional Regardless of whether you have a good relationship with your boss or not, you need to be professional when you tell them you are leaving. Ask to speak to them privately at their earliest convenience. When you meet them, thank them for the time you have spent working for their company and explain that you have decided to pursue another opportunity. During this conversation you should ask them to give you a reference if ever you need one. It’s important to get this confirmed now rather than contact them again months/years later. After you have said what you needed to, it’s best to leave it there. Your boss may take this news as a shock and will probably have over a million thoughts running through their head. Chances are, they thought things were going well and didn't expect this new. Give them time to process and come back to you in few days. It’s also important to remind yourself that if you want this reference, you need to take your notice period seriously. It’s not an opportunity to slack off. Get things done and finalised before you leave and be sure to write a detailed handover document. You will also be asked to return all work items, laptop, phone, keys to company car etc. If you work to the best of your ability in the most professional manor in your last weeks, it will help you to get a glowing reference and also show your employer that you still care and have no bad feelings. Prepare For A Counter Offer When you hand in your notice your boss may approach you with a counter offer. It may be in the moment of giving your notice or it could be in the days you’re carrying out your notice. In a previous Sigmar blog, 3 Reasons Counter Offers Are A Bad Idea we explain the negative repercussions of accepting a counter offer. If your boss tries to persuade you to stay you need to remember the reasons you wanted to leave and stick with them. Never Bad Mouth No matter your reasons for leaving, you should never speak ill of your employer or the company you are leaving. No matter your feelings, you don't want to burn your bridges. You never know when you may have to work with that company again so bad mouthing them will only make things awkward for you in the future. You may also be asked to take part in an exit interview before you finish. This is a good time to engage in constructive feedback about your role and the company. It is not an opportunity to criticise and be negative. Try to be as positive as you can and if you need to say something negative be honest and polite. Your colleagues and future colleagues may also ask what your reasons are for leaving but you should keep things professional. Your negative opinion may reflect negatively on the company, but it’ll probably reflect worse on you. Say Thank You You’ve spent 40 hours a week with your colleagues for the last number of months/years so it’s definitely a good idea to say goodbye and thank you. You could do this in an email or ask your colleagues out to lunch/coffee on your last day. I always love seeing people writing goodbye posts on their LinkedIn to share their positive experience of a company. It’s always a nice touch to let people know they meant a lot to you. Handing in your notice can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you have spent a long time with the company. Once you remain respectful and carry out your notice with a positive attitude everything will be fine. It’ll also ensure you keep the door open for any future engagement with those colleagues of the company. Photo Credit: KatyRaeDesigns
Your working environment can have a huge impact on your state of mind. In fact, the majority of millennials are thought to actually prioritise a strong company culture and a great work/life balance over a high salary. As Ireland (and Europe in general) experiences the lowest unemployment rates in decades, there is strong evidence to suggest that employers are going to retain the best staff by making their offices inspiring, comfortable places to work. Looking for some inspiration as to how you could do the same? Here are our favourite workspaces from all around the world. 10. Apple Park Headquarters – Cupertino, CA Natural light, open-plan workspaces, minimalist décor and 360 views, the Apple Park in Cupertino, California, certainly looks like something out of this world. However, the new layout has rankled some Apple employees, with many threatening to quit if they are forced to work in shared spaces. While Apple’s intention may be to encourage a spirit of creativity and collaboration, research shows that workers operate best when able to control their environment – by choosing to work in private or open spaces, for example. Images: Apple 9. Beats by Dr Dre Headquarters – Los Angeles, CA Beats’ swanky new LA headquarters are full of communal spaces, bright colours and evocative artwork, as well as a healthy bit of greenery. Employees are free to sit and work wherever they please. This workplace certainly upholds Beats’ ethos of generating ‘energy and excitement’ through their product. Images: Bestor Architecture 8. Red Bull HQ - Fuschl-am-See, Austria The producer of the world’s most-consumed energy drink commissioned native sculptor Jos Pirkner to design this artistic and stunning headquarters. A building of such great character is ideal for the creative minds at Red Bull. If red bull gives you wings I know I’ll be flying straight to Austria. 7. Etsy Headquarters – Brooklyn, NY The cosy chairs, arts and crafts stations and natural wood represent the personal touch Etsy products are renowned for in this beautiful New York office space. The solar powered complex is decorated exclusively with products designed and manufactured Etsy sellers, and employees are encouraged to socialise over a twice-weekly communal meal, nicknamed ‘Eatsy’. Images: Etsy 6. Corus Entertainment, Corus Quay – Toronto, Canada The headquarters of this Canadian entertainment and broadcast company are world famous for the atrium, dominated by a helter-skelter and stunning views of the Toronto waterfront. The leafy walls and spacious interior are conducive to creative thinking and unrestricted freedom to let the mind wander. Images: Corus Entertainment 5. Pionen’s White Mountain Office – Stockholm, Sweden It seems somewhat ironic that Pionen, an internet service provider, should choose to base themselves in the centre of a mountain – not exactly a location compatible with connectivity. Allegedly inspired by villains’ lairs in James Bond movies, the workspace combines all four elements – earth, wind, fire and water – to ‘bring the outside in’ for workers, according to the architects. Images: Archie Expo 4. Zynga Headquarters – San Francisco, CA Social gaming service Zynga embraces its strengths in their Silicon Valley HQ. All 1,700 employees are encouraged to shoot zombies, play ping pong and sketch in the designated areas around the enormous office complex. As of May 2019, Zynga are looking to sell their premises for a whopping $600m. Perhaps the zombies are included? Images: Office Snapshots 3. Airbnb – San Francisco Airbnb’s San Francisco base is inspired entirely by the site’s listings. Workspaces include house boats, tents, shepherd huts and beach cabins – all in the interior of the Airbnb building. By giving employees the opportunity to work in almost any environment, the management are allowing staff the opportunity to be their most productive self, all within the comfort of their ‘own home.’ Images: Gensler 2. Google - Everywhere Google’s offices around the world are famous for their creative décor, intended to inspire their workers. From hanging work cubicles in the Zurich office, to the swings and cars featured in the Mexican base, Google employees are never short of interesting visual stimuli to keep their brain cogs whirring. Images: Interior Architects 1. Inventionland Design HQ – Pittsburgh, PA We’ve seen some pretty inventive offices, but Inventionland Design’s Pittsburgh-based HQ takes the biscuit. It’s unsurprising, really, as they are a creative invention designer. Employees can choose to work in caverns, huts, on board pirate ships or in a tree house, and dip their toes into the man-made lagoon in their spare time. The office layout is so mind-blowingly imaginative that Inventionland Design run tours around the premises. Images: Office Snapshots So, there you have it! Our top 10 incredible workspaces from around the world. What all of these spaces have in common are considerable amounts of natural light, rooms that reflect the company’s unique brand and the opportunity for workers to collaborate, but also find space for privacy. Which office is your favourite?
The tiny Irish island of Arranmore hit headlines a few weeks agoo with the announcement that they are seeking remote workers to telecommute from the island, in an attempt to boost the population. Arranmore boasts 469 inhabitants, only 22% of which are currently employed. The island council has written an open letter to Australian and US workers, citing the high-speed broadband, Guinness on tap and idyllic beaches as reasons to consider the move. While life on Arranmore would certainly put the ‘remote’ in ‘remote working’, such a call demonstrates an awareness of the future of the workplace beyond that shown by many large corporations in mainland Ireland. In a time where the workforce is seeking greater flexibility and better work/life balance, employers will find it difficult to attract and retain top quality talent without providing any remote working options, making it an imperative that proactive business leaders consider the advantages and disadvantages of employing remote staff. The Pros Larger Talent Pool The most significant advantage of hiring remote workers is the access employers now have to a vast, international talent pool. When a job posting is not restricted to workers within commuting distance, thousands of potential superstar employees suddenly become ripe for the taking. Cut Down on Costs There are two key ways in which hiring remote workers can significantly reduce company costs. Firstly, in not requiring employees to work from a central office location, businesses are removing the need to pay for renting/buying a workspace, the internet, electricity, cleaning, computers and broadband – the list goes on. Secondly, remote workers are often considerably better value that office-based workers. If an employer does not require their staff to physically turn up to work each day, they can hire from any area – including ones with a lower cost of living than where the company’s headquarters are based, such as rural zones. On sites such as UpWork, for example, remote workers’ prices range from $4/hr to $70+/hr, hailing from all over the world. Additionally, there has been research to suggest that remote workers are more likely to accept lower pay, work longer hours and forgo company-provided health insurance if it meant they were permitted to work from the comfort of their own home. Higher Retention Rate A study by Staples Advantage found that 76% of remote workers considered themselves more loyal to their company after being offered the option to telecommute, and that 39% have turned down a job, a promotion or outright quit because the company did not offer flexible working options. Many traditionally office-based workers are finding that remote working is an increasingly attractive alternative model to consider, as they have children or gain other responsibilities outside of their professional lives. More and more employers are offering remote working options to their staff to prevent competitors, who are similarly wising up to the advantages of this system, from poaching their most experienced employees…perhaps snapping up a few of their own along the way! Increased Productivity Levels ‘Work smarter, not longer’ is fast becoming the mantra of the modern workforce. If an employee is able to tailor their working day to their own personal preferences, in an environment of their choosing, they’re considerably more likely to be productive and engaged throughout the day. That being said, remote workers are 53% more likely to work over 40 hours a week, according to recent studies, increasing organisational productivity as a result. The Cons Potential Security Risks The Blueface Business Communications Technology Insight Report 2018 found that 57% of organisations with 200+ employees had experienced a cyber incident, such as hacking or phishing. When employees are permitted to use their own computer equipment in a non-secure environment, they are considerably more vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks, potentially compromising company data security. However, there are numerous steps employers can take to overcome these odds, such as recommending workers avoid using public WiFi networks and providing stringent security guidelines upon hiring new staff. Loss of Company Culture While remote working options are statistically proven to actually increase employee engagement, such a work arrangement company-wide can somewhat dilute the sense of culture that has been so integral to successful modern business models until now. Employees are less likely to develop a genuine rapport online, let alone arrange to socialise out of hours or organically collaborate on a new idea. That being said, there are some great ways employers can promote a positive culture for their remote workers, such as the ones explored in this Forbes article. Issues with Communication Inevitably, if managers are only communicating with staff during brief windows of time each day, there is ample opportunity for the misinterpretation of instructions, or a lack of clarity in the project objective. It’s more of a commitment for an employee to pick up the phone and call their supervisor to clear something up than to pop their heads round a door, or to pass someone in a corridor. However, if employers rise to the challenge and adapt their communication practices to suit a remote workforce, there’s no reason why communication should hinder the productivity of the company. Investing in an instant messaging app for employees and ensuring managers are in constant contact with their team throughout the day will eliminate most potential issues before they have a chance to cause problems. Face-to-face interactions, such as video conferencing, are a further valuable tool for managers to ensure that they are getting the most out of their staff. Our workforce is evolving in a way that may feel scary or uncontrollable to some employers. However, the benefits to remote working are hard to be argued with – there are many great reasons companies should consider moving with the times and expanding their talent pool beyond their immediate geographical location. Arranmore is on the right track – you should be too!
‘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).