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Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance

 

Work-life balance is your prioritization of the time and energy committed to your professional and personal responsibilities. How you divide your time depends on what best fits your needs on a given day.

Work-life balance typically does not mean an equal balance of your responsibilities. As your priorities change, how you balance your commitments typically changes as well.

Your ability to achieve the work-life balance that is right for you helps increase your motivation, engagement, and productivity. The better able you are to find a healthy balance between your professional and personal life, the happier and healthier you should be.

The maintenance of work-life balance is especially important if your work arrangement is remote or hybrid. It can be challenging to enforce set work hours when your teammates and manager are not present to encourage you not to work during the early morning or late-night hours. This is why you must enforce boundaries for your work hours. The rest of your time needs to be spent on yourself and your family members.

Implement these tips to better manage your work-life balance.


Limit Nonessential Activities

Maintain a schedule of your most productive tasks as much as possible. The prioritization of the tasks that need to be finished increases the odds that they get done when planned.

Spend a small amount of time on your less important activities. These typically include checking your personal email, browsing social media, and surfing the internet. You can make time for these activities during your non-work hours.

Learn to Say No

Turn down the projects and activities you do not have time for. This may include social requests such as coworker parties that you have little interest in.

If you agree to take on everything that is asked of you, you likely will begin to feel overwhelmed. Your increasing workload and social activities can take away time from your core responsibilities or the personal activities that mean the most. This can result in increased stress and decreased productivity.

When asked to take on additional work, check whether there is room for it in your schedule. If not, explain to your manager why you cannot help out. Be sure to thank them for considering you.

Manage Your Stress

Schedule time to participate in activities that reduce stress. This may include yoga, meditation, running, reading, or working out.

Participation in activities you enjoy helps take your mind off work. It also can improve your mood and health. The better you manage your stress, the more engaged and productive you likely will be.

Regularly eat healthy foods. This helps strengthen your immune system and reduce your blood pressure.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs time to mentally and physically rest. You should wake up energized and productive.

Find a New Job

If you need a new IT job that offers better work-life balance, let RightStone help with your search. Visit our job board today.


4 Ways to Advance Your Career by Embracing Your CIO’s Strategy

 

As an IT professional, advancement along your career path is important. One way to move forward is by helping the CIO attain their strategic goals for the company. Understanding the CIO’s overall mission and the role of technology to increase company performance demonstrates your own strategic thinking abilities. You can talk about your experiences in future interviews to set yourself apart from other candidates and potentially land a new job.

Helping the CIO reach any of the following four priorities this year can aid in your career progression.


1. Data Analysis

Use your data literacy to address business needs and outcomes. This helps you transform the company to better carry out its mission. Understanding the analysis process, analytical tools, and how to work with data lets you collaborate with non-technical users and fill business needs through data and technology. This helps the organization become more inclusive, an issue that all stakeholders should be focused on.

2. Movement of Data to the Cloud

Most companies are moving their data to the cloud, adopting a software as a service (SaaS) solution, and increasing their cybersecurity. You can use your documentation, task delegation, and knowledge-sharing skills to facilitate and support these updates. Promotion of growth makes you a positive change agent in the organization.

3. Expansion of Self-Service Technologies

Many companies are looking for scalable, secure, and effective self-service solutions. This is because the pandemic continues to impact the way basic services are delivered to consumers. Demonstration of your knowledge and skills involving self-service technologies makes you an important team player. You can create practical roadmaps for adoption, transparency, and related issues.

4. Navigation of a Cultural Shift

Company culture is difficult to feel and maintain during times of significant change. This includes shifting from in-person work to remote or hybrid work and back again. Because working in silos is ineffective, you can break down the barriers by becoming a culture contributor. You can make it a goal to collaborate on projects to drive successful outcomes. This may include welcoming, training, and mentoring new team members, sharing knowledge and ideas, or boosting morale. Doing your part to contribute to a positive work environment and culture can lead to new opportunities within the organization.

Advance Your Career

Find a job with more responsibility with help from RightStone. Visit our job board today.


How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

 

You are likely to come across a difficult coworker at some point in your IT career. This can happen to anyone at any company. How you deal with the coworker depends on your personality and the support you receive from colleagues, coworkers, and leaders. The sooner you take action to handle the issue, the sooner you may start experiencing results.

Choose among these suggestions to help you effectively deal with a difficult coworker.


Focus on Yourself

Make sure your coworker truly is causing a problem and you are not simply overreacting. Perhaps you commonly experience a similar issue with the same type of person or behavior. Or, maybe you see a pattern in your interactions with coworkers. This may mean you have a hot button that easily is pushed.

Talk with a Colleague

Find out whether a trusted colleague is noticing or experiencing similar issues with the coworker. Ask for an objective observation about the issue. If your colleague agrees that the problem exists, discuss some ways to professionally address it.

Meet with the Coworker

Discuss the issue with the coworker who is creating it. Use “I” messages to focus on your experiences of the situation. Explain the impact their actions have on you. Remain pleasant and agreeable during the discussion. Try to reach an agreement about one or two positive actions to engage in going forward.

The coworker may not be aware of their actions or how you feel about them. They might agree to consider changing their pattern of interacting in the way you described. Or, the coworker could decide not to do anything differently.

Point Out the Coworker’s Behavior

If you do not feel comfortable talking privately with the coworker, use humor to publicly address their behavior. Perhaps you can salute your coworker after an interaction. Or, you might place your hand over your heart to show that their words wounded you. Then, ask the coworker to consider using more positive words or behavior going forward.

Follow Up

Focus on whether the coworker’s behavior gets better, worsens, or does not change going forward. Determine whether a follow-up talk may make a difference. Focus on how badly you want to make peace with the coworker and keep your job.

Talk with a Manager

Determine whether you want to discuss the coworker’s behavior with your manager or the coworker’s manager. Be sure to write down notes clarifying the issue and how it impacts your productivity. Plan to participate in follow-up discussions as well.

Limit Your Interactions

Spend as little time as possible in situations that may involve interacting with the coworker. Avoid working with them on projects, voluntary committees, and other circumstances whenever you can. Transfer to another role within the organization if possible.

Find a New Job

If the coworker decides not to change, work with RightStone to find a new job. Here is a link to our job board.


Preventing Burnout with Employee Recognition Programs

 

Burnout is a sign of a bad fit between an employee and their work. It is a chronic problem that builds over time. Common symptoms include cynicism, loss of concentration and productivity, sadness, anger, irritability, headaches, and insomnia. Typical causes of employee burnout include inadequate rewards, misalignment with company values, and feelings of unfairness or isolation. Fortunately, as a manager, you can begin resolving these issues today by creating an employee recognition program.

Discover four ways an employee recognition program can help prevent burnout.


1. Opportunities for Rewards

Your employees need to be recognized for their contributions and results. This increases their motivation to perform their best each day. A handwritten thank-you note, verbal praise during a team meeting, or recognition on your company’s social media accounts would be appreciated. Clarify what the employee did, what the results were, and how it benefitted the organization. Include a bonus, raise, or promotion when appropriate. Helping your employees feel valued and respected reduces their odds of experiencing burnout.

2. Alignment with Core Values

Your employees need to experience alignment with your company’s values through the interactions they experience at work. This helps provide meaning for their work and carrying out your company mission. You can give out awards when you see your employees behaving in line with your company values. This promotes feelings of importance and belonging, reducing the odds of experiencing burnout.

3. Fair Practices

Your employees deserve to be given equal opportunities. This includes verbal recognition, financial incentives, and promotions for the value they add to the organization. Your employees are likely to remain motivated, engaged, and productive throughout the day. This contributes to a positive work environment, job satisfaction, and employee retention. Your employees are less likely to experience burnout under these circumstances.

4. Feelings of Connection

Your employees need to feel supported when they go through difficult times. This helps them navigate stressful situations until they are resolved. Providing recognition celebrates your employees’ efforts and achievements. This helps them feel seen and heard. It also encourages your employees to see and hear each other. As a result, they should build relationships that include reaching out to each other in times of need. Having this sense of connection helps prevent burnout.

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How to Combat Work Stress

 

Stress at work can have a number of sources. Some of the most common include increased workloads, the pressure to perform well, longer work hours, downsizing, and issues with coworkers. Increased stress levels can lead to disengagement, reduced productivity, and greater absences. Bigger issues include sickness, depression, and problems at home. As a result, you want to monitor your stress level each day and take steps to combat potential issues before they get out of hand.

Use any of the following methods to decrease your stress level at work.


Time Management

Make a list of the personal and professional tasks you want to accomplish for the day or week. Your goal is to create a balance between work and family time and social and solo activities each day. Then, distinguish between the activities you need to do and the activities you should do. Place your required activities at the start of each day and the activities you should do later in the day. Allow enough time to finish one activity before beginning another. Also, schedule 10- to 15-minute breaks throughout each day and an hour for lunch. You need time to get up from your desk, take a walk, eat healthy foods, and clear your head.

Daily Exercise

Engage in aerobic activity every day. Increasing your heart rate for at least 30 minutes helps elevate your mood, energy level, and focus. Your body and mind are better able to relax then. Breaking up your exercise into three 10-minute intervals can be just as effective as exercising for a half hour all at once.

Healthy Eating

Consume just enough food and beverages to provide the energy needed to stay productive. If you eat too little and experience low blood sugar, you may become anxious and irritable. Or, if you eat too much, you may feel lethargic. Instead, try consuming small meals throughout the day. This can even out your blood sugar level, maintain energy, and keep you focused.

Adequate Sleep

Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. This reduces your vulnerability to anxiety and insomnia. You are better able to maintain emotional balance when you are well-rested. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day can promote rest at night. Disengaging from mobile devices an hour before bedtime can help as well.

Looking for a New Job?

RightStone can set you up with opportunities to advance your IT career. See which jobs interest you today.


4 Work Goals You Can Accomplish This Year

 

Like many employees, you may be used to going to work, finishing your tasks, going home, and repeating the process the next day. Of course, putting in your best effort and fulfilling your responsibilities is important. However, you also should be focused on moving forward in your career. Taking steps each day to reach your professional goals helps you accomplish more of what you set out to do. The greater your achievements, the higher you can set your future goals.

The following are four professional goals you may want to achieve in 2022.


1. Improve Your Time Management

The better you manage your time, the more you can accomplish each day. As you begin to be more productive each week, you can take on more responsibilities that can result in a leadership position.

You may want to try time blocking. Make a list of each task you want to accomplish throughout the day or week. Then, schedule a time to complete each activity. You should plan your most complex tasks during the times when you are most productive, such as early in the morning or right after lunch. Be sure to allow flexibility for unexpected events that may alter your plans. If you do not accomplish a task, add it to the next day’s schedule.

2. Participate in a Course

Take part in an online course to promote your career advancement. This may include developing your coding skills through an online coding boot camp. Or, you might want to learn a new programming language through Codecademy. Make sure the course is the right fit for you and that the instructor/organizer has valuable information to share. Also, celebrate as you successfully complete each assignment and when you finish the course.

3. Increase Your Network

Make it a point to meet more professionals in your company and industry. This may occur in the breakroom, at a conference, or through a professional organization. The more connections you add to your network, the more opportunities you have to advance in your career path. The members of your network can alert you to job openings, introduce you to hiring managers and other IT professionals in their company, or serve as referrals or references during your job search. Be sure you offer to help your connections as well.

4. Find a New Job

Secure a better IT role with a different employer. You can meet more professionals and develop new skills that keep you engaged in your work. You also can gain more experience and increase your qualifications to take on higher leadership positions within the organization. This increases your career options both now and in the future.

Partner with a Staffing Firm

Work with a recruiter from RightStone to find your next IT role. Visit our job board today.


How to Focus on Diversity & Inclusion in Your Recruiting Efforts

 

The more diverse and inclusive your company is, the more competitive it is. The blending of team members from different cultures, genders, and backgrounds provides greater innovation, problem-solving, and goal attainment than working with more homogenous team members. Your diverse team is better equipped to provide different viewpoints and develop unique ideas than a homogenous team. This elevates collaboration, engagement, morale, and retention. These are reasons why diversity and inclusion need to be priorities within your organization.

Implement these tips to make your recruitment process more diverse and inclusive.


Focus on Your Leadership Demographics

Analyze the leaders occupying the top roles in your organization. Determine whether they reflect the demographics of the communities you serve. Include what your leaders’ succession planning pipeline looks like. Think about whether this involves women and people of color. You want to hire and promote employees in these two groups to line roles and executive positions as much as possible.

The more women and people of color you have in revenue-generating and decision-making roles, the more your company will attract and retain diverse candidates. Offering employee resource programs and other sources of support for these groups increases your level of inclusivity.

Reduce Unconscious Biases

Train everyone involved in your hiring process to uncover and modify their hidden aversions to specific types of candidates. These biases mostly are shaped by individual experiences and typically result in wrong assumptions.

For instance, use gender-neutral language in your job descriptions. This includes the omission of words such as “supportive” or “aggressive.” The former tends to attract more female candidates, whereas the latter tends to attract more male candidates. Avoiding gendered words typically attracts a more balanced number of female and male applicants to your job openings.

Include in your job description only the necessary skills and qualifications for the role. Whereas women typically apply for a position they feel 100% qualified for, men typically apply for a job they feel 70% qualified for. Listing only the most important skills and qualifications increases the balance of female and male applicants for your position.

Eliminate the names, schools attended, and other personally identifying information on the resumes you receive. This causes your hiring team to focus on the skills, experience, and qualifications of your applicants when deciding who to interview. Women and people of color are more likely to be contacted and potentially hired by your organization, which increases diversity.

Emphasize Your Employee Resource Groups

Include throughout your recruitment process information about the resources you provide to support your employees. Details about your employee resource groups (ERGs) and other inclusivity programs show you care about your team members from all backgrounds. Knowing that all employees are valued members of your organization helps attract and retain diverse talent.

Want More Diverse IT Candidates?

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Easy Ways to Boost Motivation in the Workplace

 

Like anyone else, your employees will have days where they lack the motivation to complete their tasks. Although this is completely normal, it can become a problem if they consistently become disengaged. You need your team to remain as productive as possible to continue to reach company goals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to encourage your team members to remain engaged and continue to perform their best.

Implement these simple tips to maintain motivation and productivity among your team.


Maintain a Positive Work Environment

It is easier for your team members to stay productive when they feel happy. Maintaining a positive work environment promotes a better work experience and stronger relationships. These are significant factors in employee motivation, engagement, productivity, and success.

Create Employee Goals

Work with your team members to establish short-term goals. Include attainable objectives and clear measurements for success. This helps your employees stay on track, see the progress they make, and understand how their efforts impact the company. Be sure to celebrate each team member’s achievements along the way.

Recognize Employee Contributions

Your team members need to know their efforts and results are being noticed. This encourages them to continue to perform their best. Recognition also improves employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention. Be sure you publicly and privately point out specific actions each employee took, what they accomplished, and how it benefitted the organization. Also, provide bonuses, raises, or promotions when appropriate.

Encourage Regular Breaks

Your team members need time to rest throughout the workday. Remind them to step away from their desks to stretch, meditate, or talk with coworkers who are on break. Also, emphasize the importance of taking a full hour for lunch. Promote healthy eating, walking, reading, and other relaxing habits. Taking time to disengage increases focus, concentration, and engagement in tasks. This helps your employees come back refreshed and ready to produce.

Promote Paid Time Off

Remind your team members how important it is to use all of their vacation days every year. Spending time away from the office promotes physical and mental wellness. Your employees need to create memories by engaging in enjoyable activities with their families and friends. The more time your employees take for rest and relaxation, the less likely they are to experience burnout.

Enforce Staying Home When Ill

Encourage your team members to stay home when they are sick. Your employees cannot perform their best when they do not feel well. Also, coming to the office and spreading germs is not beneficial for anyone. Ask that your team members finish the tasks they can from home while getting plenty of rest. The sooner they fully recover, the sooner they can return to the office and resume their duties.

In Need of IT Talent?

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A Guide to On-the-Job Training Programs

 

When you want to change jobs or careers, you might not have the time or money to pursue ongoing education or a degree. Although having additional education can benefit your job search, taking classes is not your only option to fulfill this objective. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, many employers are modifying their educational requirements and implementing paid training systems to recruit motivated talent. This means you may be able to take advantage of on-the-job training to move forward on your professional path.

Learn how on-the-job training can lead you to your next career opportunity.


Defining On-the-Job Training

Experience in a role typically is not required for one that offers on-the-job training. Instead, you get paid to learn while working in the position. You also might receive mentoring, classroom learning, and/or assistance to earn licensing or certification. Examples of these setups include internships, co-ops, apprenticeships, certificate programs, short-term training programs, and company training programs. These types of training are especially common for jobs that are hard to fill because they require specialized skills.

Determining the Options That Fit Your Interests

Knowledge of which fields offer on-the-job training helps you narrow your job search. You can use your transferrable skills and interests to further determine which path to move forward on. Or, you might want to take a career test, choose a job that fits your needs, and determine the types of training you might have access to.

Find Employers Who Provide On-the-Job Training

You may want to search job boards to find companies that are hiring trainees for immediate openings. For instance, you can search the top job sites using keywords like “on-the-job training,” “experience not required,” or “no experience” to find openings that fit your interests. You also can visit your state job bank and use keywords such as “training” or “apprenticeship” to find available roles. Plus, you can partner with a local staffing agency that specializes in the field you want to work in to see which jobs you can be matched with.

Prepare Your Application

When you find the job, apprenticeship, or training program that interests you, learn all you can about what you need to do to apply. For instance, double-check your eligibility so you know whether you fit the qualifications. Then, prepare your application materials. Even if you do not need a cover letter and resume, you should have your education, work experience, contact information, and other relevant details ready. Additionally, gather two to three professional references who can attest to your skills and qualifications. The application process should go smoothly when you have all of the information available.

Get Help with Your Job Search

Involve RightStone in your search for a role with on-the-job training. Visit our job board today.


Bad Work Habits to Stop This Year

 

Like most employees, you likely have developed bad work habits over the years. Although you may have tried making big plans to change your habits, you might continue to slip into old patterns of behavior. Fortunately, you can take smaller steps to effectively change your actions and get more desirable results.

Discover some ways to break six of the top bad work habits this year.


1. Staying Disorganized

Organization helps reduce your stress levels and allows you to accomplish more each day. Make sure you create a to-do list for the next day at the end of each workday. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and when saves you time throughout the day. Be sure to stick with your plan as much as possible. Allow flexibility for unexpected tasks as well.

2. Being Unproductive

Trying to force yourself to work when you do not feel like it typically is ineffective. To help yourself get motivated, work on a small task that requires little effort. Then, move to another simple task. Use your forward movement to work up to bigger tasks. Or, get up from your desk to take a quick walk or run an errand. Changing your focus can help you come back focused and ready to work.

3. Procrastinating

The longer you put off the tasks you do not want to handle, the more your stress level will increase. Instead, tackle your most challenging activities when you begin work in the morning. You should have enough energy and focus to finish at least some of your tasks. You can work on the activities you want to after that. This sense of accomplishment can provide motivation to finish more of your tasks the next day. You should feel much better when everything is done.

4. Skipping Breaks

Regularly taking breaks is important for your physical and mental health. You need time to rest so you come back refreshed and productive. You also need to step away from your desk for a healthy lunch, snacks, and exercise. Taking walks, meditating, or reading a book give your brain time to disengage and unwind. This increases your energy level, focus, and problem-solving ability when you return to your work.

5. Working While Sick

You should be resting rather than working when you are sick. You also should not be exposing your coworkers to germs by going to the office when ill. Instead, either call in sick or finish what you can from home. Your top priority should be getting better so you can resume your regular work duties.

6. Staying in an Unfulfilling Job

Since you spend more time at work than anywhere else, you need to enjoy your job. If you are dissatisfied with your current role, then it is time to find a new one. You need to stay engaged, productive, and learning in order to attain your career goals.

Want Help with Your Job Search?

Partner with RightStone to find a position that matches your skills and interests. Visit our job board today.


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