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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.


Communication Strategies to Improve Team Collaboration

 

Effective communication and collaboration skills are important for your team. Your team members need to share, develop, and implement their ideas in order to solve problems and complete projects. This is why it is important for you to provide the appropriate tools and support to facilitate communication and collaboration among your team. The following examples can help reach this goal.

These four strategies can promote communication and collaboration among your IT team.


1. Provide an Agile Collaboration Tool

An agile collaboration tool facilitates team communication and incremental steps to finish projects. It lets your team members assign and prioritize tasks. This lets your team know what needs to done right away and what can wait. It also keeps them informed about individual and team objectives, due dates, and milestones. It also keeps your team on track and working toward the same goal.

Your team members can share information, see their progress, and determine whether there are any issues to resolve. They also can provide feedback and measure performance. Because the project is delivered in increments, there should be faster movement and more flexibility for planning and responding to change.

2. Use a Messaging Hub

A messaging hub collects your company’s digital messages and stores them in a cloud database. This includes emails, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone calls, Tweets, and more.

Your team can access the information from anywhere without having to streamline their operating systems or devices. They also can more easily navigate their emails to determine which messages to pay attention to and which messages can wait. Plus, your team can search for the information or files they need and determine whether multiple messages are related. This helps reduce information overload, especially when your team is remote or hybrid.

3. Encourage Instant Messaging

Your team can use instant messaging for casual conversations. This helps your team members get to know each other and find common interests. They can stay current on the latest events in others’ lives and share what is going on in their own life. These interactions promote trust, camaraderie, and cohesion. They also make it easier for your team to have serious or difficult conversations centered around work.

4. Set Limits for Your Meetings

Invite to your meetings only the team members who truly need to attend. Keep the number of topics on the agenda to a minimum as well. These actions help keep the conversation focused.

Encourage the attendees to collaborate on the agenda. This helps them understand their part in sharing relevant information or leading discussion topics. Hold the attendees accountable for delivering their materials or insights to keep the agenda moving forward. These actions help improve collaboration.

Want Help with Hiring?

RightStone can provide the skilled IT candidates you need to reach business goals. Find out more today.


Successful Professionals: How to Improve Your Work Discipline

Self-discipline is what helps you complete tasks when you do not feel like doing them. This is important whether you work remotely or at the office. The more self-discipline you develop, the greater your long-term career success will be.

Follow these guidelines to increase your self-discipline while working.

Set Your Work Hours

If you have flexibility, determine which work hours best fit your schedule and lifestyle. Include the time during which you are most productive. Try to keep the schedule as much as possible. Be sure to allow time to run errands and take care of personal responsibilities when needed.

Begin with Small Exercises

Choose something easy you can use self-discipline to improve on and consistently do. Or, use self-discipline to break bad habits and form good ones. For instance, choose a task you dislike, such as checking your inbox each morning. Perform the task first thing each day. Then, reward yourself with something else you like, such as a cup of coffee. After a few weeks, you should have a new habit.

Schedule Breaks

Taking regular breaks helps you maintain self-discipline. This helps you stay focused for significant periods and motivated to continue working. Be sure to leave your desk for each break. Go for a quick walk, listen to music, or do something else to relax. You will come back rested and ready to work.

Break Up Large Tasks into Smaller Tasks

Tackling a significant assignment can feel overwhelming. This can lead to procrastination and lack of achievement. To combat the issue, break up the complex task into more manageable tasks. Begin with the first assignment, then move to the next. Continue until the entire task is finished. This increases your motivation to complete the assignment on time and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Prepare for the Next Day

Finish each day by getting ready for the next one. For instance, think about what you accomplished throughout the day. Then, consider what needs to be done tomorrow morning. Next, write down the tasks you need to finish the next day. This gives you a plan to work from tomorrow.

Looking for a New IT Job?

When the time comes to find a new IT job, include RightStone in your search. Here is a link to our job board. Or, send us your resume to learn about future opportunities.


3 Tips for Working in a Different Time Zone Than Your Co-Workers

Remote work became the theme of 2020, but it’s not a fleeting idea. According to one survey, 74% of workers expect remote work to transition from a contingency plan to a standard form of practice.

As people find more opportunities for remote work, they will continue to spread out between timezones. And those changes can present opportunities as well as challenges.

Are you joining an organization that operates across timezones? Here are three tips for maintaining those relationships.

Be Mindful with Meeting Times

Working between Central and Eastern time can be done with a bit of consideration and extra effort. But the difference between Eastern and Pacific? It’s a different story.

Do your best to keep meetings within normal working hours. When that’s not possible, make sure you don’t consistently burden one party with the unsocial hour. For example, if you work on EST and you have a colleague in Australia, you can take turns with anti-social meeting hours so that one party doesn’t consistently find themselves online at 8 PM or 6 AM.

Use Calendars to Set and Share Schedules

Encouraging calendar sharing is the simplest way to set deadlines, schedule meetings, and manage expectations.

For example, if you want to schedule a Zoom call, you can send out an invitation and hope it works for everyone. However, when you share calendars, you can go into the organization calendar and look for a time when you’re free.

You may also find it helpful for people to schedule out-of-office events, deep work hours, or hours generally out-of-bounds for video or phone calls. Then, you’ll schedule mutually agreeable meetings and avoid rescheduling.

Keep Cultural Norms in Mind

American work culture insists that 7:30 AM meetings are part of life. In Britain, setting a 7:30 AM meeting makes you a tyrant.

Cultural norms impact working hours and days as well as pace, workflows, and collaboration. Being understanding of how others use their work time will go a long way in ironing out issues before they become contentious.

 

Are you looking for your next role and hoping to land a remote option? Visit RightStone’s job board to find a new opportunity to work with coworkers across the United States and beyond.


Managing a Remote Workforce- Leading at a Distance

In 2019 and early 2020, articles about remote work were still in the ‘what if’ phase. Back then, 55% of businesses worldwide allowed for remote work in some shape or form — and only 4.7 million people were already working at home. 

If you find yourself leading from a distance, or are looking for a new leadership role in this climate, use these tips to help settle in and support your team as you all adjust to this new style of work.

Express Yourself Visually

What says “good job” more effectively? A short email that simply says, “good work” or a funny GIF or emoji? Very often, animations communicate feedback better than text because they pick up on the non-verbal communication you miss out on when you work remotely.

So, use emoji replies on Slack, send GIFs in an email, and do it consistently.

And don’t forget to reiterate your praise on video calls. It means more than you think.

Build in Time for Conversation

When you’re all at home, it seems prudent to hop on a call, talk about what needs to happen, and then get back to what you were doing. Running a meeting or call this way makes it very transactional, and that’s not good for your team.

You need to build relationships with your team members as people, so build time for chatting into your meetings. It will help you get to know your team, build rapport, and indicate what issues your team are having before they become problems.

Trust Your Team

If you don’t trust a member of your team, then you shouldn’t have hired them. But since they’re here, you should know you can rely on them.

You don’t need to rely on blind trust. Instead, set your expectations early and make them clear. Then, everyone is on the same page, and no one is left waiting for a deliverable.

Focus on Goals Rather Than Activity

A big problem managers face when leading remote teams is their emphasis on activity. They think: what if they aren’t working for eight hours? How can I tell?

The truth is that your on-site employees aren’t engaging in work activity for every minute they’re at the office either. The only difference is that you can drop in on them.

Rather than getting hung up on minutes worked, focus on goals. Is the work getting done? Is it on time? Is it of the quality you outlined in your expectations? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you have a productive team.

Get Ready to Lead Remotely

Today, everyone who can is by-and-large working from home, and leaders are leading from home. Learning to manage a remote workforce is very different from getting to grips with telecommuting tools. You need a whole new style that accounts for the lack of literal facetime.

Are you looking for your next leader, or needing to hire for a remote team? Get in touch to learn about our fine-tuned process for placing skilled IT professionals.


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