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When Coworkers Leave, How Do You Handle a Heavier Workload?

 

The loss of a teammate often means an increased workload for you. This can be a significant source of stress.

You may be asked to take on additional tasks and responsibilities. Due to an already heavy workload, the additional activities can seem endless.

Figuring out where to start can feel intimidating. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to plan your work and accomplish everything by the deadline.

Here are some strategies to handle the increased workload caused by the loss of a teammate.


Plan Your Work

Make a list of the tasks you want to accomplish for the week. Then, break down the list into the tasks you want to finish each day.

You may want to focus on the purpose of each task, the deadline, the desired results, the key performance indicators, and the potential challenges to determine which tasks to complete at a certain time. This helps provide clarity for the tasks, deliverables, and desired results. It also helps you understand your priorities and timelines.

Block out on your schedule the required amount of time to complete each task. Be sure to include time to take breaks and to handle unexpected events.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Determine which of your tasks are priorities and which are not. You may want to use an Eisenhower Matrix to separate your tasks into four categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important.

Your urgent and important tasks should be scheduled for completion right away. Your important but not urgent tasks should be scheduled for later. Delegate your urgent but not important tasks to a teammate. Eliminate your tasks that are not urgent or important.

Take Breaks

Walk away from your desk at regular intervals. This gives your brain time to rest and recuperate. It also helps your body stay energized and your mind focused.

Take a walk, meditate, stretch, listen to music, or read a book during your breaks. Be sure to eat healthy foods during your lunch hour. This helps maintain engagement and productivity and reduces feelings of stress.

Consider Finding a New Job

If you regularly find yourself with an increased workload, it may be time to find a new IT job. Be sure to involve RightStone in your search. Here is a link to our job board.


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.


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?

Connect with RightStone to help fill your IT hiring needs. Reach out to us 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.


Happy Employees Are More Productive

 

As a manager, are you aware of the link between your employees’ happiness and their productivity levels? Studies show that happy employees work harder, collaborate better, and accomplish more in less time than unhappy employees. As a result, you should do what you can to encourage high levels of happiness among your team.

Learn how employee happiness levels impact productivity and what you can do to increase both.


Elevated Performance

The University of Warwick conducted a study where participants were given either 10-minute comedy videos to watch or drinks and snacks to consume to help them feel happy. The control group received nothing. The participants then were given tasks to complete.

The results of the study showed that the happier participants were 12% more productive than the control group. The participants who increased their happiness levels before completing the tasks performed at a higher, more accurate level than the participants who did not.

These results demonstrate that having a positive frame of mind elevates work performance. Happier employees are more likely to show up each day and give their best efforts. They also are less likely to experience high levels of stress or burnout.

Increased Efficiency

The University of Oxford conducted a study that tracked call-to-sale conversions, attendance, and customer satisfaction for call center employees at a British multinational telecommunications firm over a 6-month period. The employees self-reported their level of happiness each week.

The results showed that the happy employees were proven to be 13% more productive than the unhappy employees. The happy employees worked faster, made more call-to-sale conversions per hour worked, and more closely adhered to their workflow schedule than the unhappy employees.

These results demonstrate that employees with a positive emotional state can finish more work in the same amount of time than employees with a negative emotional state. This means you should do what you can to promote happiness among your employees.

Steps to Increase Happiness

You can take action to increase the levels of happiness among your team members. For instance, model professional behavior at all times. The more you interact with others in a respectful manner, the more likely your team members are to follow your example. Also, provide fair compensation. Your team members deserve to be rewarded for their contributions and results. Additionally, give constructive feedback in real-time. Your team members need to know what they are doing well, which areas they need to do better in, and specific ways to improve their performance. Plus, acknowledge your team members’ accomplishments with bonuses, raises, and promotions. This motivates them to continue to perform their best and accomplish business goals.

Need to Increase Your Team’s Productivity?

Talk with RightStone about adding a member to your team. Get in touch today.


Successful Professionals: How to Improve Your Organizational Skills

 

Whether you work onsite or remotely, your organizational skills are important. Your ability to focus on tasks, remain productive, and meet deadlines plays a role in your career progression. As a result, you need to complete as much work as possible to the best of your ability each day.

Use these tips to improve your organizational skills at work.


Create a Routine

Establish habits that give structure to your day. This helps things go more smoothly so you can accomplish more. The longer you spend streamlining your habits, the more efficiently you can reach your goals.

Schedule Time for Email

Determine the times of day to check your email. This prevents you from reading new messages as they enter your inbox. When the time comes, respond to your priority email first. Star any messages you need to get to later. Organize your read email into folders. This helps you stay focused on your tasks while minimizing disruptions.

Time Block Your Days

Plan blocks of time to finish specific tasks. Include your most though-intensive activities during the times you are most productive. This helps you maintain focus and minimize disruptions. Be sure to allow for flexibility when things that need your attention come up. Remember to adjust your schedule accordingly.

Complete One Task at a Time

Focus on finishing one activity at a time. This helps prevent mistakes, lowers stress, and helps meet deadlines. You should get more done in less time with fewer distractions. You also can use your momentum to start the next activity on your list.

Take Regular Breaks

Walk away from your desk at regular intervals. Take a quick walk, talk with a coworker on break, or listen to music. Or, read a book, meditate, or listen to a podcast. You should come back focused and ready to accomplish more.

Establish Checklists

Develop checklists for recurring tasks and projects to standardize your work processes. Streamlining the steps ensures you fulfill all of the requirements. This reduces the number of errors and time spent redoing tasks.

Develop a Filing System

Establish a digital or physical system to file documents. You may want folders for invoices, contracts, or other important papers. Or, you could set up email folders by project, sender, or other categories. This ensures you save important correspondence without keeping unnecessary messages or documents.

Clean Up Your Workspace

Put away everything you do not need at the end of each day. Having a clean workspace when you start work the next day helps you stay motivated, focused, and productive. It also lets you find the documents you need when you need them.

Looking for a New IT Position?

Stay organized during your next IT job search by working with a recruiter from RightStone. Here is a link to our job board.


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.


Why a Work-Life Balance Is Important

 

Like many employees, you might have difficulty separating your personal and professional time. This may be especially true if you work from home and have a family. The desire to spend more time completing work or being with your loved ones means having less time for other activities. As a result, maintaining sufficient time to fulfill your most important work responsibilities each day while participating in family activities is important. This helps you feel personally and professionally engaged and fulfilled.

Apply these strategies to help maintain a work-life balance that is right for you.

Set Limits

Because there are only 24 hours in each day, carefully plan how you want to spend them. For instance, schedule a realistic amount of time for the tasks you have to get done. This may include checking email only three times throughout the day. Cut or delegate the activities you do not like or cannot handle. Also, put family events on a weekly calendar. Include these activities in your daily action plan. Additionally, learn to say “no” to requests that do not fit your schedule or interests. You need to maintain time for what matters most to you. Plus, take breaks throughout the day. The brain needs rest in order to retain information and function. Further, leave your work at work. Your personal time is for family activities.

Prioritize Self-Care

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps you reduce your stress level and accomplish more. For instance, focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats when planning your meals. These foods help you retain knowledge and build stamina. Also, set aside time each day for yoga, hiking, meditation, dancing, reading, or other activities you enjoy. Plus, make sure you get enough sleep at night. Put away personal electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime to avoid interference with your melatonin level that stimulates sleep. Additionally, schedule time to volunteer with a local charity once per month. This can increase your emotional and social well-being. Further, partner with colleagues to cover for each other’s work absences. Ask family and friends to help with childcare and household responsibilities when you work overtime or travel.

Find a Job Encouraging Work-Life Balance

Work with a recruiter from RightStone to find an IT job that promotes work-life balance. Start by visiting our job board today.


Can Taking a Break During Work Actually Make You More Productive?

How often do you sit down at the computer and not look up again until it gets dark?

It happens to everyone, and even if you feel focused, you may not be as productive as you think you were.

The human brain needs a break every once in a while, and if you don’t actively provide it, then, your brain will do it for you. Taking a break isn’t a sign of weakness: it’s the best way to stay productive.

Here’s why you should take more breaks — both long and short.

Reduce Stress Levels

You can feel stress even at a job you enjoy. Finding yourself facing an intractable problem, feeling frustrated about a lack of resources, or even waking up on the wrong side of the bed can leave you with hunched shoulders.

Breaks are one way to deal with a high workload without sending stress hormones flying through your body. A clinical study found that even five-minute breaks every half hour can help surgeons significantly reduce psychological stress.

Imagine what it can do for those of us whose daily tasks don’t involve surgery!

Increase Your Attention Span

Are you struggling to concentrate? Finding yourself easily distracted? There’s a temptation to push through and try harder. But sometimes what your brain really needs is a good old-fashioned break.

In a study of assembly workers, workers who enjoyed a short break were able to increase their attention span significantly in the period after their break.

The lesson: if you can’t concentrate, stop trying. Get up, walk away, and return to your desk when you’re ready. You’ll not only be able to focus but you will have an improved focus.

Feel More Engaged

Taking breaks can improve your overall job performance and increase your chances for a promotion. Why? Because workers who take breaks are more engaged than those who don’t.

Research found that daily micro-breaks leave employees feeling rejuvenated, even in work they didn’t enjoy. However, you have to take a proper break and relax: a quick break for a snack won’t do the trick. Take five to ten minutes and do something else or just switch off. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it works.

Looking for more great career advice? Visit our blog or get in touch to learn more about our RightStone 360 service for placing consultants like you with their dream clients.


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