Archive for category Accounting

The Affect of Co-Workers on Your Productivity

productivityIt’s all about culture. Do you work in a culture of driven, hard-working producers? Then you, as well, are likely to be highly productive. Likewise, if you’re surrounded by slackers, your own productivity numbers may be lacking. Seems obvious; but what’s actually going on isn’t just a case of a low-producing department or company only being able to attract other low producers.

According to a recent survey by project management platform Taskworld, 50 percent of survey responders reported being frustrated by coworkers’ missed deadlines and 75 percent often must sit and wait for a coworker to complete his portion of a task before continuing on. Other studies report similar findings. Is this a case of the blame game (“It’s my co-worker’s fault things things don’t get done.”) or does it suggest productivity – and lack thereof – is contagious?

If it is indeed contagious, then that’s good news. Because you have the ability to inspire and motivate everyone around you simply through your daily work habits. You can directly contribute to your workplace culture, and help make it one of high achievement.

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Stop checking your email!

you've got mailDo you know how much time we waste, mindlessly clicking the refresh button on our email accounts throughout the day? If you’re serious about reclaiming that time, focus, and peace – then here’s how to really stick to it. By the way, some experts say it takes about 21 days to establish a habit. So give yourself three weeks and your obsession should be a thing of the past. (Same goes for Facebook and Google News, etc). 

  1. Set aside time each day (set a timer at first if you like) for checking email. You can set aside as much time as you need in one block, such as an hour, or disperse sessions throughout the day – but no more than three times per day.
  1. Disable push notifications. This is a given. Those constant dings make it impossible to not check your inbox.
  1. Delete your email account from your mobile phone. This is a last resort for the truly addicted, since many of us rely on our smart phones to make efficient use of our time during a commute (by bus or train of course, not while driving) by answering emails. Still, removing email access from your phone in turn makes you less addicted to your phone, which makes you more aware of the real world around you, instead of the virtual world on your screen.
  1. Don’t fall for the guilt trip. Many people will wonder why you’re not suddenly not available 24-7 via email. As long as you’re productive, you have every right not to be. Naturally, exceptions apply when you’re anticipating an important or time-sensitive email. But other times, if the matter is dire, he or she can always call.

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Jobs of the Future

dream job next exitA recent article in Fast Company discusses jobs of the future, and how to get them. Naturally, tech jobs are at the top of the list. But there are other, less obvious findings, too. Here are a few interesting points.

  • Construction and health care jobs will grow, as the economy rebounds and baby boomers age.
  • The fastest growing jobs are in business intelligence, UX design, and mobile development.
  • Middle management jobs are being phased out. The conclusion here being that being a highly paid professional no longer necessarily requires a fancy management title.
  • The new “career path” isn’t so straight and clear as before. As the demand for tech workers continues to grow, the range of backgrounds will also grow. For example, you won’t just see a graphic design major in a designer role; you may also see a psychology or other major in these roles, as long as that worker possesses important skills that translate to success at the job.

What do you think of these findings? Do you have any of your own predictions to add?

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How to Attract Top Tech Talent

This infographic paints a picture of what makes tech workers tick, and how to recruit them. From how they learn about jobs, to companies they most want to work for, to what’s most important to them when choosing a job. Do you agree with the findings presented in this infographic?

how to recruit tech workers infographic

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Things your employee won’t tell you, but that you need to hear.

good convo begins with good listeningAs a manager, your employee likely comes to you for answers and advice. But certain topics feel difficult, if not impossible, for your reports to approach with their manager. That’s when it’s your job to listen for the signs and address them effectively. 

What sort of things are they not telling you?

I need training. Not, I need an answer to this specific question. This is more of an “I feel a little under-skilled for the task I’ve been given.” No employee is going to feel 100% confident about every aspect of their job, if they’re in the right one (one that challenges them). But it’s still difficult to tell your boss that, in regards to this specific task, you kind of don’t know what you’re doing. So a good manager learns to listen for the clues that an employee is feeling uncertain. For example, the employee may try to pass the task off to another employee who he views as having “more experience” in that area. Or he may make comments out of frustration like, “I don’t even know where to start.” When you see these signs, rather than giving the project to someone else, show your confidence in your employee by providing some one-on-one coaching – provided he’s interested in learning.

I’m overworked. While some employees have no problem telling you they need a break, others will exhaust themselves before they tell you they’re stretched too thin. By that time, they’re burnt out. If you see an employee skipping lunch and working long hours on a regular basis, take notice. And listen for subtle complaints that don’t outright say, but suggest they’re overwhelmed, such as “Which of these items on my to-do list is of most/least importance, because I’m worried about being able to get them all done.”

I’m not being stimulated. It’s hard for an employee to tell her boss she’s bored, for fear she’ll insult someone or worse, lose her job. If she’s asking for more work, that’s a crystal clear sign she needs a project to challenge her!

I need you to step in to potentially avoid a crisis. Perhaps a project is being derailed or a client is at risk of being lost. Employees don’t want to seem incompetent to you, so it may be difficult for some of them to be blunt about the situation. But when the stakes are this high, as a leader you need to recognize the clues in time to remedy the problem. Ask for regular status updates and listen carefully to the tone of the answer. If it’s negative, such as, “The client is getting angry,” then it’s time to intervene. 

Sure, it’d be easier if your employees would always be upfront and direct. But the fact is, they often aren’t. Learning to listen will make you a more effective leader, your employees happier, and your company more successful.

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Hard skills got you the interview; these soft skills will get you the job.

job interview

Technical Workers, use these soft skills in your interviews as well as on the job. You’ll win over your interviewer, co-workers, boss, and customers.

Empathy.  Empathy is a skill that can be honed. If you understand how to incorporate empathy into your interview, you can form better connections with your interviewer. Not only that, but he or she will envision you as a team player, as well as capable of having insight about customers – both highly desirable traits. To be empathetic, simply take the time to tune in to your interviewer and the people around you. The added benefit is that when you take the focus off of yourself a little, you diminish any nerves about the interview.

Curiosity.  Curious people innovate, learn quickly, grow, and work well with others. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the interview, as you aren’t expected to know everything. Go into the interview hungry to learn about the person and organization you’re interviewing with.

Listening.  Before you give your spiel about why you’re the best candidate for the job, listen carefully to what the interview is asking of you. Pay attention to what the organization needs. Repeat to the interviewer what you heard, to make sure you’re on the same page. Then provide a truly thoughtful answer that comes across as honest and custom, rather than a prepared speech. Interviewers know that good listening skills translate well into the work environment.

Use these skills in your interviews to land the job; then use them on the job to succeed at it.

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Career Mistakes You Can Avoid

urlMistakes are part of the path to success. It’s just that simple. Still, the more you know, the more you can circumvent. So borrowing from the wisdom of others who’ve been down this path, let us save you a bit of trouble. Here are a few common career mistakes that you can avoid.

  1. Not continuing your skills training. Especially in the rapidly changing tech fields, you’ve got to stay current. Attend seminars or presentations from leaders in your industry. Convince your employer to invest in training. Take a class. Join a meet-up. Subscribe to an online publication. Or, if you’re self-motivated enough, browse the internet or the book store and teach yourself. If your specialization is on (even the early stages of) the path to irrelevancy, make sure you’re getting experience in other, upward trending areas.
  1. Following money. Never take a job solely for the money. If you’re following your passion, money will come. Take a job for money, and you may get stuck there while true opportunities to become great pass you by.
  1. Standing still for too long. It’s easy to become comfortable where you are. But there’s an opportunity cost to not being challenged. This is especially true for STEM careers.
  1. Losing sight of your dream. Each job can potentially take you off in a different direction, introducing you to new skills, people, and responsibilities you didn’t know existed. That’s part of the journey, and it’s important to remain open to new possibilities. However, if you’re getting swept up instead of steering the course, you may end up far from where you intended. So enjoy the ride, all the while keeping your eye on your long-term goals.

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