Exact Staff News
Tags: Daydreaming at the Office, Daydreaming in the Workplace, How to Improve Productivity in the Workplace, How to Increase Workplace Productivity, Improve Your Workplace Productivity, Improving Workplace Productivity, Workplace Daydreaming
You know that employee who’s zoned out?
He may hold the key to greater productivity for your organization.
Conventional wisdom dictates that managers should keep employees “focused” and “on-task” to maximize productivity. But recent research has shown that occasionally allowing employees to space out, goof off and daydream can actually benefit your business.
Yep, we said it.
And big employers like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn agree. They give their employees “goof off time” to experiment, zone out or pursue something they’re passionate about. All that “piddling around” has ultimately resulted in some of their most successful products, including Gmail and AdSense.
Maybe they’re onto something here.
So before you crack down on that employee who’s staring off into space, consider the following ways daydreaming can actually IMPROVE productivity, creativity and focus:
Daydreaming activates and engages the brain.
While the activity seems passive, the human brain is actually extremely active during a daydream. In fact, daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity, and it’s in this engaged state that employees may make sudden connections and have profound insights.
Daydreaming frees employees’ minds from “tunnel vision.”
When actively brainstorming solutions, the brain doesn’t have full access to memory banks where useful information resides. But when the mind is free to wander, research has shown that it can access memories and potential solutions that the conscious mind just can’t.
Mental vacations help employees recharge and refocus.
Ever hear of a microburst? It’s a brief “recovery period” that allows bodies (or brains) to rapidly restore a high level of function. A simple two-minute “mental vacation” – playing a quick round of Candy Crush or just staring out the window – provides employees with enough of a break to boost focus, attention and productivity
Microbursts and daydreams can be great productivity boosters, but sometimes they’re just not enough to help you accomplish everything you need to do. If you could use an extra hand, Exact Staff is ready to lend one!
As a leading national employment agency, we provide a range of staffing and placement services to save time. Increase focus. Eliminate busywork. And relieve administrative burdens. Give us a call to find out what we can do for you. Contact our premier team of recruiters today.
Did your office make Forbes’ 100 Best Companies to Work For?
If not, don’t despair! Yours can still be a great place to work, even without a fancy title or a massive budget. What separates the good from the great? Let’s take a look at some definitive ways to become an employer of choice – and a real magnet for top talent.
Recognize individual and group accomplishments.
Develop a formal plan to reward the people and work groups who contribute to your success. Celebrate the big wins – and the little ones, too.
Keep employees apprised of the “big picture.”
Make sure everyone in your company – at every level and in every department – knows how their job contributes to the greater good of your organization and the world at large.
Strengthen your corporate culture.
Not surprisingly, people want to work in a culture that aligns with their own preferences and priorities. Work with your employees to critically examine your work environment and brainstorm opportunities for improvement:
- Survey employees anonymously to determine what works in your culture and what doesn’t.
- Find out what individuals value most in the workplace.
- Ask employees for specific ideas on how to enhance teamwork, improve work conditions, and offer greater flexibility.
- Once you determine what you need to do to build a better culture, assign employees responsibility for implementing culture changes.
Prioritize career development.
Meet with employees individually to determine their interest in growth and learning opportunities. Help each individual to develop a three-to-five-year career development plan that provides the challenge and clear direction they need.
Live up to your commitments.
High performers want to work for employers that do what they say they’re going to do. Building an environment in which employees can really trust managers to honor promises fosters greater loyalty, pride in work, teamwork and productivity.
Keep your ears and your door open.
Your talented employees have great ideas. Make sure you have an established mechanism for sharing them – and then implementing their best suggestions! Likewise, create both formal and informal ways for your staff to communicate their concerns and frustrations (without fear of repercussion). Whenever they need to share, make sure you’re available to hear them out.
High performers choose Exact Staff to help them in their search for employment, because they know we’re a great place to work. Need one of our top candidates for an assignment or direct hire? Give our premier staffing agency a call. Contact the experienced team of recruiters at Exact Staff today.
“Millennials are narcissistic and entitled.”
“Boomers are on their way out.”
“Gen X has no vision.”
Heard comments like these before? They’re based on dangerous stereotypes – and when managers operate with this kind of mindset, it can limit productivity, teamwork and organizational success.
The truth is, each generation brings unique talents, perspectives, and skill sets to your organization. To get these diverse age groups to work cohesively, you must manage them differently.
So what works best?
Today, Exact Staff shares three tips for juggling the needs of a multigenerational workforce – and improving your organizational performance:
Baby Boomers value loyalty, recognition, top-down management and face-to-face communication. The Great Recession devastated pensions and retirement plans for this demographic, so many are now planning to stay in the workforce longer. To get the most out of Boomers, provide clear rules and expectations. Encourage in-person collaboration when they work with younger counterparts, and tap their knowledge by asking them to mentor less-experienced peers.
Managing Generation Xers.
Now assuming essential leadership roles, Gen X employees thrive on direct, constructive feedback. To leverage their full value, give them what they want most. According to Hartford’s 2014 Millennial Leadership Survey, those wants include: offering training and development (cited by 50% of survey participants), a clear career path (35%) and ongoing coaching and feedback (34%).
Also known as “Generation Y,” these individuals have developed a worldview shaped by mobile technology and the Great Recession. They value flexibility and are change-tolerant, expecting to make many job switches during their careers. Get the most from these employees by:
- Providing timely feedback
- Showing them how their work matters to the organization, the community and the world
- Focusing on productivity and results delivered – as opposed to hours logged in the office
Another great way to improve organizational performance?
Provide extra support when your employees need it most. When deadlines are tight and the stakes are high, Exact Staff, premier national staffing firm, can quickly deliver talented people to help you get your work done. Bring in our temporary employees to increase your capacity or perform non-essential activities. We’ll keep your team focused, productive and working effectively as a group.
Think “gratitude” is one of those overrated constructs that doesn’t really matter much in the workplace?
We get it! Most of us have been conditioned to believe that “nice people finish last,” so it’s not surprising that gratitude isn’t more highly valued in the world of work.
But we’ve also found some interesting data that proves the very real impact gratitude can have on workplace productivity.
Here are a few powerful facts from a Happier Human post – facts that aren’t just feel-good, but are supported by the results of over 40 research studies on gratitude.
Gratitude makes managers more effective.
Constructive criticism is certainly an essential skill in a manager’s arsenal, but so are praise and expressions of gratitude. If managers offer moderate, behavior-focused praise, gratitude has a tremendous positive impact on employee performance.
Gratitude enhances decision-making.
One study showed that gratitude motivated doctors to expend more energy, and therefore make more correct decisions, than doctors who received no expressions of gratitude. In situations requiring complex decision-making, gratitude can motivate individuals to work harder to make better choices.
Gratitude boosts productivity.
Insecurity at work can lead to trouble focusing. Instead of investing mental energy into doing a great job, workers who lack confidence tie up their mental resources (both conscious and subconscious) in worries. By contrast, research supports the idea that highly confident workers are more productive. Free from worry, their minds are able to focus wholly on their work. And what increases self-esteem and reduces insecurity at work? You guessed it – expressions of gratitude.
But despite these benefits, gratitude is tough to encourage in others – especially in the workplace. A study by the John Templeton Foundation showed that:
- People are less likely to show gratitude on the job than almost any other place.
- 74% of employees never or rarely express thanks to their boss.
How can you change things?
Lead by example.
The best way to get your employees to express more gratitude is by doing so yourself. Thank employees formally and informally, for things big and small. Express your appreciation to both groups and individuals, making sure to personalize expressions of gratitude whenever possible.
Another great way to express gratitude for employees’ hard work?
Provide the support they need. Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, Exact Staff provides a range of staffing and placement services to increase productivity and create a healthier bottom line.
Want to boost employees’ productivity?
Help them “feed their brains!”
Nutrition advice is everywhere. But quite honestly, your employees may not know how to make sense of complex (and sometimes conflicting) recommendations for a healthy diet. Furthermore, it can be tough for your team to prepare productivity-boosting foods under time crunches and financial constraints.
So today, Exact Staff is making things a bit easier for you and your employees. Here are four practical tips for a healthy diet that will boost your team’s focus and productivity:
Require employees to take a real break.
Make sure everybody has enough time to feed their brains each day. Taking a lunch break is a fantastic way to get away from the stressors of work for a small time, refuel your body with nutrients and also refocus your efforts for the second portion of the day.
Skip the last-minute pizza.
Offer healthy options when providing food for your staff. With just a little research, you can find restaurants that offer less processed foods which are high in protein and antioxidants.
Apply the same logic to the snacks you make available to employees. Chocolate and doughnuts are tasty, but employees will perform better if you treat them to performance-boosting foods like fruit, nuts and other sources of protein.
Share ideas for a healthy breakfast.
Mornings are crazy for most working individuals. Make it easier for your employees to get off to a great start by sharing quick, nutritious and portable breakfast recipes on your intranet, in the company newsletter or even on a bulletin board in the break room.
Invite a nutritionist in for a lunch seminar.
Ask him to review tips for preparing quick, healthy and tasty meals on a budget. Use the opportunity to provide a healthy lunch for your team, and then ask employees to pay attention to how they feel throughout the rest of the day. Once your staff makes the connection between food choices and work performance, they’ll be more likely to follow the advice a professional nutritionist offers.
Employees super busy?
Maximize their performance by helping them make better food choices, and by providing the support they need. Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, Exact Staff provides a range of staffing and placement services to increase productivity and create a healthier bottom line.
Here we go again.
Just a few years ago, HR and business leaders were challenged with creating effective BYOD policies to leverage the power and workplace flexibility that mobile technologies afford. Now, it’s wearable technology’s turn to change the game.
Whether it’s the Apple Watch, Google Glass or a Fitbit, more and more of your employees are becoming reliant on wearable tech. But while adoption rate predictions vary, it won’t be long before you see this technology playing an increasing role in your workplace.
So once again, your HR policy needs to stay ahead of the game. Use these tips to create a wearable technology policy that ensures productivity stays high, while keeping both your employees and your company safe:
Assemble key department leaders and the IT department to brainstorm the potential applications for wearable technology within your business. For example, a product like Google Glass might be able to help an employee view step-by-step instructions (for handling anything from a repair to a customer complaint) right in front of him, without needing to be in front of a computer.
Be mindful of security issues.
Along with all of the amazing ways wearable tech could improve your business, consider the potential pitfalls as well. Employees may, for instance, need to store sensitive documents or protected information on their wearable devices. When you need to terminate someone, how do you ensure that data isn’t compromised? Make sure your WYOD policy addresses these and other concerns related to any valuable intellectual property:
- Provide emergency plans, so employees know what to do if their equipment is lost, stolen, hacked or damaged.
- Proactively address issues related to the collection of electronically stored information. Be sure to include: restrictions on cloud-based storage; rules for collecting and storing personal information (such as images of other employees); and restrictions for syncing company-issued wearable devices with other devices in employees’ homes.
Include potential safety concerns.
What would happen if an employee wearing a company-issued wearable tech device became distracted and either caused an accident or injured himself? What would happen if a wearable produced adverse health effects in an employee? Be sure to:
- Provide comprehensive training to employees using wearables.
- Create policies that take into account the potential for accidents, injuries and other health issues.
As wearable tech adoption increases within your workplace, commit to regularly reviewing and updating your company policies. A proactive approach will help protect your organization, while still allowing you to leverage the productivity and performance advantages wearable technology offers.
Your workplace is changing. Exact Staff’s solutions keep pace.
Factors like technology, demographics and the economy continually transform HR’s role. Exact Staff is here to help you keep pace. Together, we can develop a staffing strategy to address your top priorities – and ensure flexible, cost-effective access to the talented people you need. Contact our staffing services today.
Words with Friends? Pinterest? Candy Crush?
They sure are fun, but they’ll do little to improve your – or your team’s – productivity.
Thankfully, there are a ton of apps that can! Check out these top Android and iOS apps, specifically designed to boost personal and workplace productivity. And then get ready to make some room on your device:
This multi-purpose, stylus-compatible app allows you to take notes, create to-do lists, scan business cards, and more. Everything you do is immediately backed up to the cloud, ensuring you never lose your ideas.
Our devices are amazing productivity tools – but they can also be a constant source of distraction. This Android app allows you to select apps to be locked out of for a period of time, while still allowing you to receive phone calls and check emails.
You probably already use Dropbox on your computer, but this app allows you to move content seamlessly between your computer and your mobile device. Amazingly, this app even loads your files in places with no internet connectivity.
Create and edit Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations on the go, directly from your mobile device. To make storing and accessing files easier, this app offers up to 15 GB free.
Finding it tough to keep in touch with prospects, clients and colleagues? Contractually’s mobile app allows you to put your contacts into “buckets,” and then decide how often you should follow up with the people in each group. The app:
- reminds you when it’s time to get in touch,
- displays the last time you spoke to each contact; and
- offers dynamic templates to make digital communication convenient (without losing the human touch).
If you give visual presentations as part of your job, you need this app. Using Dropbox’s cloud storage technology, this app automatically organizes photos and videos into user-friendly galleries that are perfect for presentations.
Worried that you or your team is spending too much time on unproductive activities? Rein things in with RescueTime. This productivity app runs in your device’s background, tracking time spent on specific websites, calls, apps and more – and issuing warnings when you’ve exceeded established limits.
Another great way to keep workplace productivity high?
Provide temporary support when your employees need it most. When heavy workloads and tight deadlines threaten to undermine your staff’s productivity, Exact Staff quickly delivers talented temporary employees to increase your capacity or perform non-core activities. We’ll keep your team productive and focused on their top priorities.
Looking for your next job? Want to move ahead in your career?
Then you better be careful what you Tweet.
- 93% of recruiters check candidates’ social media accounts pre-interview.1
- 43% of employers said they found something on social media that made them “deep-six” a candidate.2
- Search the internet. You’ll find hundreds of nationally publicized cases where employees lost their jobs because of inappropriate social media usage.
Twitter is a powerful (and underutilized) tool for career success – but only when used responsibly. Whether you’re on the job hunt or trying to move up the ladder within your existing organization, use these tips from Exact Staff for smart tweeting.
On the Job Hunt
Create a professional account that accurately reflects your personal brand. If you want to find a job with Twitter, get serious about how you use it:
- Choose a professional picture and username that stays consistent with your other social media profiles.
- Include a personal-branding statement that clearly explains your value to potential employers.
- Skip the impetuous tweets. Consider how every message may impact your employability.
Build your audience. Twitter allows you to import contacts from most webmail programs, or you can use the built-in search engine to find contacts. Move beyond your existing network by searching industry leaders, influencers and prospective employers. Follow them and interact by tweeting them directly or retweeting what they share.
Let people know you’re looking. Without appearing desperate, that is. Your goal is to build your brand and demonstrate your expertise, while simultaneously communicating the types of employment opportunities you’re looking for.
While Currently Employed
Think like your employer. Like it or not, your managers may exercise their right to monitor how employees use social media – scrutinizing your tweets, posts, pins and more. Remember that your tweets are easily searchable.
Exercise restraint. Had a rough day at work? Frustrated with your boss? Resist the temptation to blast that information on social media. Although Twitter is a laid-back, spur-of-the-moment platform, airing your grievances on it can damage your personal brand and jeopardize your employment. If you’re having difficulties at work, talk to human resources or deal directly with your source of frustration.
Never respond to job tweets directly. If you come across a promising job through Twitter, use an alternate route for contacting the employer. For example, consider setting up a Gmail account specifically for this purpose.
The bottom line? When it comes to managing your career, use common sense. If you don’t want your boss or prospective employer to read it, don’t tweet it!
Need help with your job search strategy?
Contact an Exact Staff Career Agent. We can help you identify your strengths, evaluate your career options, and find assignments and full-time positions that align with your goals.
Dreading that job fair?
We get it. A job fair is uncomfortable, stressful and a lot of hard work. But if you leverage it correctly, a career fair can help you broaden your network and may even lead to job interviews.
So don’t dread that job fair; embrace it – and prepare to succeed. Before you attend your next job fair, use Exact Staff’s tips to make the most out of it:
Create a strategy.
- Research potential employers. Employers are most impressed with candidates who have clearly done their homework. Before the event, spend some time researching target companies, so you can speak intelligently about them at the job fair.
- Set clear goals. What do you hope to achieve by attending the career fair? Set goals for yourself – whether it’s talking to an HR manager at a target company, learning more about a job function or landing an interview – and use them to guide your activity.
- Work your way up. Determine which employers you will visit and prioritize them. Plan to approach your top prospects after you’ve had a chance to “warm up” – but before you’re completely drained.
Assemble your arsenal.
- Develop multiple versions of your resume. What kind of employers will be at the job fair? What types of positions are you interested in? Consider the scope of target companies and jobs, and develop a few versions of your resume to accommodate the range.
- Gather supporting documents. Be ready for any situation – including an impromptu job interview – by bringing along: business cards (with links to your professional website and social media profiles); transcripts (for recent graduates); copies of your resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, and references (provide these only upon request); and work samples, if applicable.
- Pack a light snack and drink. Job fairs sap you mentally and physically. Bring a small, portable snack (skip the sugar and caffeine) to keep your energy and enthusiasm going.
Force yourself outside of your comfort zone. Even if you’re a self-proclaimed “social butterfly,” a career fair can be an intimidating experience. To make the most of the event:
- Expect discomfort. Realize that you’ll be approaching strangers and “in the hot seat.” Prepare yourself for the added stress.
- Dive in. Once there, don’t just stand in the corner. Remember your goals, and force yourself to start conversations with target employers. To help, plan a few conversation starters so you make a great first impression:
- “I saw on your company website that your organization recently (insert current company event/accomplishment)…”
- “What types of positions are you finding the most challenging to fill these days?”
- “What is your most essential requirement when hiring (insert type of position you want)?”
Follow up. While at the career fair, gather business cards from hiring managers and ask for the best way to follow up with them. Make a list of promising job contacts and jot down next steps while they’re fresh in your mind. After the fair, send “thank you” notes to key contacts and apply online to relevant jobs.
Find a job you love through Exact Staff.
Trust Exact Staff to make your search simpler and more effective. Throughout California – and across the country – our staffing agency has opportunities at every employment level and in a wide variety of fields:
- Search administrative jobs
- Search accounting / financial jobs
- Search legal jobs
- Search medical/dental jobs
- Search technical jobs
- Search sales jobs
- Search engineering jobs
That’s nearly five years of work!
Few of us have that much time to devote to mastering a new skill. Still, continuing to educate yourself is essential to advancing your career and staying relevant.
No matter what industry you’re in, technology is rapidly evolving. The rate of change is increasing. The value of old knowledge is decaying. So if you’re not continually building skills and re-educating yourself, you’re becoming obsolete.
On the flip side? Learning new job skills is one of the best ways to increase your pay, enhance your job security or even earn a promotion.
So take charge of your career and renew your commitment to educating yourself while on the job. Use these practical tips from Exact Staff to build your existing skills, learn new ones and continually educate yourself – without taking a five-year hiatus:
- Choose the right skills to learn. Do some research within your industry to determine which skills are most valuable to employers – and which command the greatest pay increases. Focus your learning efforts in one of these areas.
- Get over your learning anxiety. When you try something new, your incompetence and lack of knowledge may make you uncomfortable. Realize that this feeling is perfectly natural and push through it. After all, everybody has to start somewhere! With a little persistence, you’ll start seeing improvement and get past the initial anxiety.
- Forget mastery. “Mastery” of a skill may take 10,000 hours, but proficiency is often enough to get you where you need to be. Instead of trying to become an expert, focus on becoming good enough at something to get the outcome you want – whether it’s a raise, a promotion or a job interview.
- Find learning opportunities on the job. Share your desire for learning and growth with your employer. Ask for “stretch” projects, cross-training or a mentor to help you acquire new skills in your focus area.
- Leverage the value of informal education. Participating in professional association events and attending industry conferences may be less structured than traditional classroom learning, but they can be just as effective in helping you learn. Create educational goals for yourself before attending an event and participate fully while you’re there to learn everything you can.
Another great way to learn new job skills?
Consider the value of temporary jobs with Exact Staff. If you’re interested in changing fields, temporary assignments enable you to learn new skills quickly (often faster than you would if you worked in a direct position).
When you meet with your recruiter, explain your learning goals and the specific skills you want to develop. Your recruiter can help you select assignments based on the learning opportunities they offer, allowing you to tackle fresh challenges, experience new work environments and acquire new skills with each assignment.
Search jobs in your area or contact an Exact Staff recruiter to get started.