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  • A Simple Trick to Dramatically Boost Workplace Creativity

    02/18/19 11:17 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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    Employees struggling to get the creative juices flowing?

    Encourage them to fantasize more (stay with us on this one for a minute before jumping to conclusions!). 

    Research presented in this Ladders.com post points to some promising links between breaking a sweat and coming up with breakthrough ideas. In fact, fifty-three percent of Americans surveyed use workout time to fantasize or daydream – thinking about books they’d like to write, devices they plan to invent, or even behavior they want to model.

    Cardio and Creativity Just Go Together

    Although a cardio workout engages your body, your brain is free to wander. And often, to escape the discomfort your body is suffering, your brain distracts itself by focusing on more pleasant, novel thoughts.

    Research shows that acute, strenuous physical exercise activates mechanisms in the brain which facilitate information processing. In other words, working out promotes better cognitive function.

    As we mentioned in this earlier post, “How Daydreaming Can Improve Productivity,” daydreaming engages the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity, and it’s in this engaged state that you may make sudden connections and have profound insights. Since cardiovascular exercise primes your brain for this type of activity, it’s an ideal time to problem-solve and innovate.

    How Can You Apply this Concept to Boost Creativity?

    Admittedly it takes a little creativity to combine work, exercise and intentional fantasizing, but here are two suggestions to get your team moving – and your creativity flowing:

    Have Walking Meetings

    Take a walk outside to discuss an idea with a team member, instead of shutting yourself in a conference room. Build in quiet periods during your walk, so you can each let your thoughts wander.

    Try a Workout Brainstorming Session

    If it works for the size and culture of your company, head to the gym to develop potential solutions to a business problem. Since employees may be at different fitness levels, make sure the physical activities you choose are safe, appropriate and inclusive.

    Looking for More Creative Approaches to Help You Solve Tough Problems?

    Our national staffing and placement agency provides a full complement of solutions, across a wide range of disciplines, to help you get the most from your team and your career.

Feeling Overwhelmed? These Tips Will Help Change That

02/23/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone:

  • A Families and Work Institute study cited in this ABC News article showed that more than half of U.S. employees feel overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time.
  • Research compiled by The American Institute of Stress show that job stress has escalated progressively over the past few decades – contributing to increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.

And we pay a big price for that stress – over $300 billion annually for U.S. businesses – due to accidents, absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, workers’ compensation awards and more.

As a nation, we’re stressed out. Burned out. And feeling generally overwhelmed by the lives we lead.

Where did things go so wrong? And more importantly, what can you do to alleviate that awful feeling that you’re being crushed by the weight of your work?

There’s no “quick fix,” but small changes can have a big impact on your ability to relax, focus and cope more effectively. Here are a few ideas to try:

Don’t Believe the Hype

“I’m soooo busy.” “I’m buried.” “I have too many plates spinning.” You probably hear phrases like this all the time at work, right? Have you ever considered why? As a society, we’ve been programmed to associate busyness with success. In a weird way, stress has become a status symbol: If you’re busy (or present yourself as such), people assume you’re smart, competent and worthy of admiration.

Don’t buy into it! Change your self-talk, as well as how you speak to others about your workload. Unless you relinquish the notion that overwhelmed = successful, you’ll never be able to make the changes you need.

Record and Prioritize

Get all your to-do’s out of your head – and onto some form of list, whether you choose a cloud-based organization tool or a low-tech notebook. Writing down everything that’s on your mind instantly reduces your worry and is the first step in getting organized.

Then, get ruthless. Accept the fact that you probably won’t accomplish everything on that list, today, without help. Decide what’s most important, what can wait and what you need to delegate. Resolve to tackle your highest priority items first.

Adopt Better Productivity Habits

Boosting productivity is essential to achieving work goals. And when you check more things off your list, you’ll be less overwhelmed (no surprise there, right?). In this post, our team shares 5 productivity hacks that will give you a little more breathing room each day.

Improve the Way You Start and End Each Work Day

If your office looks like a bomb hit it when you leave in the evening, guess what? You’re going to walk into that same whirling vortex of entropy the next morning. If you’re looking for tips to make your day more sane and productive, bookend it with the habits we share in this earlier post, “How Successful People Begin and End Their Workdays.”

Make Time for Yourself

One of the best ways to combat feeling overwhelmed is by carving out time to do things that you truly enjoy – whatever those may be. And when you schedule time for yourself, make it non-negotiable. Do what you must to feed your spirit and take care of yourself.

Are you or your staff members overwhelmed at work?

Adequate staffing levels can alleviate feelings of being overwhelmed, improving focus, productivity and engagement throughout your organization.

Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, Exact Staff delivers exceptional talent to meet your local or national requirements. What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

Surprising Things Incredibly Productive People Do

01/16/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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Daydreaming? Ignoring emails? Staring at pictures of puppies?

They may sound like a recipe for disaster at work – but they can boost your performance.

Over the years, we’ve been programmed to equate success with working relentlessly at breakneck speed. In reality? High performance comes from working smarter, not harder.

So, before you automatically discount these unusual productivity hacks, hear us out:

Daydream

Conventional wisdom dictates that you must stay “focused” and “on-task” to be productive. But recent research has shown that occasionally allowing yourself to zone out, goof off and daydream can actually boost performance.

Daydreaming engages the brain, freeing your mind from “tunnel vision” that prevents you from fully accessing your memory and tapping into your creativity. And research shows that brief mental vacations provide a needed boost your focus, attention and productivity. Want to learn more? Check out this earlier post we published on the value of daydreaming.

Take a “Cuteness Break”

Looking at pictures of adorable baby animals may sound like a complete waste of time, but a study conducted at Japan’s Hiroshima University found that this simple practice can help your mind to focus better. In fact, the effect is so dramatic that this increased ability to focus lingers even after you move on to less “adorable” activities.

Ignore Your Email

Email is an essential communication tool, but incessant notifications can really interrupt your thinking and derail your productivity. Instead of dropping everything the instant an email arrives, process it in batches at pre-determined intervals throughout the day. And if quick response is critical for certain people, setup alerts for those senders – so you’re only interrupted when you must be.

Get into a “Vegetative” State

Plants and other types of greenery provide a micro-restorative burst according to psychologists Steve and Rachel Kaplan’s (University of Michigan) “attention restoration theory.” The pair has shown how the presence of plants increases our ability to recall greater quantities of information. Plants also enhance productivity. A study cited in this Entrepreneur.com article concluded that an office ornamented with plants can increase employee productivity by 15 percent.

Eat Frogs First

The metaphorical kind, mind you. When you have something tough or unpleasant to do, tackle it first. The logic makes sense: When you reach one of your toughest goals in the morning, it creates momentum, a positive mindset and more time to do things that excite and inspire you.

These unconventional ideas 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.

 

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Dramatically Improve Your Performance: Drop These Habits!

09/21/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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Ever wonder why:

  • You’re being passed over for promotions?
  • Your team members aren’t more receptive to your ideas?
  • You’re not asked to join special project teams or to spearhead new initiatives at work?

Maybe your bad habits are holding you back.

Nobody’s perfect, and we all have idiosyncrasies that occasionally make us challenging to work with. But if you feel like something is holding you back in your career – and you can’t quite put your finger on what it is – make sure you’re not sabotaging your success with bad habits like these:

Negative Talk

When faced with a challenge at work, what’s your default response? Phrases like “That’s not going to work because,” and “We can’t do that,” are inherently negative, focusing exclusively on the problem – instead of potential solutions.

Your direct reports, coworkers and higher-ups all pay close attention to how you approach work situations. So, if you habitually complain or exhibit a defeatist attitude, you’re undermining your career. Need proof? Results from this survey show that more than 6 in 10 (62%) of employers are less likely to promote employees who have a negative attitude.

Portraying Yourself as an Expert – at Everything

You are undoubtedly talented at what you do, but no one is great at everything. And quite frankly, acting like an expert when others can clearly tell you’re not just irritates them – and makes you look foolish.

Contribute when you have something valuable to share, but don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t have all the answers. Owning your weaknesses builds authenticity, strengthens relationships and sets the stage for joint problem-solving – all of which are great for your career.

Being Condescending

When attempting to establish your authority, do you wind up sounding judgmental or patronizing? Even if your language is neutral, signals like crossed arms, heavy sighs and eye rolls can eclipse your ostensible desire to be an effective leader. If you want others to follow your direction and take your advice at work, don’t talk down to them. Make sure your tone, posture and word choices are consistently respectful, and that your criticism is always constructive.

Related Posts:

Prevent Negativity from Creeping into Your Workplace

Habits to Dramatically Improve Your Life

Habits of Happy People

Another Habit Which Could be Holding You Back? Trying to Do it All Yourself.

Successful professionals start each day by examining their “to dos,” prioritizing their responsibilities, and then delegating non-critical activities. If you want to make delegation a habit, but don’t have the internal resources, give Exact Staff a call. We’ll help you get non-critical activities off your plate – and dramatically improve your performance.

 

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3 Ways to Improve Your Overall Workplace Productivity

09/11/15 1:49 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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Feel like you can’t gain traction at work?

Overwhelmed by continual interruptions?

Struggling to focus?

We get it. Honestly, most of us deal with productivity issues at least occasionally. But while the world around you won’t stop so you can catch your breath (and catch up), there ARE things you and your team can do to improve your focus and overall workplace productivity. Here are three fresh ideas from Exact Staff:

Turn “can’t” into “can.”

Hear a lot of great excuses for why employees can’t get things done? Prone to procrastinating yourself? Find ways to eliminate excuses, and you’ll all get more done:

  • When employees offer excuses, ask good questions to get to the root of the problem. Determine if they really “can’t” get something done, or if it’s possible to remove roadblocks, resource constraints or other external factors on which they place blame.
  • Make sure everyone has the tools, time, training and support needed to accomplish objectives.
  • Discuss projects and timelines candidly before “can’ts” arise. Proactively managing expectations helps employees adopt a high-performance mentality which will improve their productivity.

Put time constraints on daily tasks.

According to Parkinson’s law, work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, if you give an employee an hour to complete a task, he’ll get it done in an hour. And if you give him an hour and a half, he’ll take the full hour and a half to complete the exact same task.

The lesson here? A little structure can go a long way toward improving productivity. Assemble a team to analyze processes, procedures and everyday tasks throughout your organization. Develop realistic estimates for how long each should take, and then set time budgets for their completion moving forward. This doesn’t make you a “task master”; it makes you a smart business professional. By putting realistic time constraints on common tasks, you encourage employees to get down to business quickly – and waste less time.

Access others who can help you.

When work piles up, it can be tough to focus on accomplishing your highest priorities. An experienced staffing partner like Exact Staff can serve as a valuable ally in driving your productivity:

  • Offload low-priority and administrative activities to free up more time for key priorities.
  • Meet tight deadlines.
  • Cost-effectively flex your workforce to keep your business running smoothly when things get busy.
  • Prevent burnout and overwork, both of which can undermine workplace productivity.

Looking to improve overall productivity in your workplace?

Exact Staff is here to support you. Whether you’re up against a deadline, need to staff up for a big project, or want to build your core team, our national employment agency provides a full complement of staffing and placement services to help you get the most from your workforce.

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How Can Daydreaming IMPROVE Productivity?

05/29/15 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice, Job Seekers, News | Leave a Comment
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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.

Data Behind the Impact Gratitude can Have on Workplace Productivity

05/15/15 3:31 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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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.

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