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  • Work/Life Balance is Starting to Blend Together – and that might be alright

    02/21/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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    “Balance” is out. “Blend” is in.

    In recent years, technology has virtually erased the boundaries separating home and work. The same tools which have allowed employers to enhance workplace flexibility – things like email, mobile tech, videoconferencing and the Cloud – have also allowed employees’ work life to spill over into home life.

    Instead of completely disconnecting from work at days’ end, employees are remaining available to employers, clients and customers. In fact, this national, workplace-flexibility survey of 1,087 professionals by WorkplaceTrends and CareerArc shows that:

    • Roughly 20% employees spend an average of 20+ hours per week working outside the office on personal time.
    • 64% of HR professionals expect employees to be reachable outside the office on their personal time.

    The reality? The boundary between home and work life is dissolving. It’s time to stop helping employees strive for “balance” – and facilitate a healthy “blend,” instead. Here’s how:

    Encourage a new mindset.

    Give employees a broader range of what’s considered acceptable each day, as long as their overall goals are achieved:

    • Focus on target “ranges” instead of target “points.”
      Determine the ultimate goal, and then allow a little latitude to accommodate the realities of employees’ workflow. For example, if an employee is supposed to spend 10 hours per week on sales activities, permit them to break those 10 hours up as they see fit – instead of requiring two hours per day.
    • Take a longer-term view of progress.
      While it’s still imperative to track results daily, measure employees’ performance over a longer term to determine if targets are achieved. Giving employees just a bit of wiggle room alleviates persistent stress, accommodates natural swings of time and energy, and produces better long-term results.

    Permit “homing at work.”

    Research cited in this Inc. post shows that allowing employees to do personal chores (e.g., scheduling appointments, shopping online) at work actually boost productivity and reduces work/life stress.

    Be proactive about hiring needs.

    Candidate shortages are at critical levels in many industries and job functions, which is dramatically increasing time-to-hire. When positions often go unfilled, existing employees bear the extra burden until hires are made.

    To promote a sustainable work/life blend, proactively manage talent acquisition. Partner with a national employment agency like Exact Staff to develop a plan that stays ahead of hiring needs. You’ll help employees preserve a healthy work/life mix that ultimately promotes happiness, high performance and loyalty.

    Final Thoughts

    No matter how progressive your culture is, or how blurred the line between home and work becomes, all employees need time off. Make sure your business is prepared to handle short- and long-term absences with support from Exact Staff. Whether you require a single temporary for a day or an entire project team for a month, we provide a range of staffing and placement services to increase productivity, promote a healthy work/life blend and create a healthier bottom line.

     

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Become a Better Boss by Doing These Unique Things

11/25/16 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Engaging in active listening? Check.

Following through on commitments? Check.

Leading by example? Check.

If you’re like most bosses, you’ve already mastered management fundamentals like these. But if you really want to grow as a leader in the year ahead, you need to set the bar just a bit higher.

Becoming a truly exceptional manager requires you to do things that most others don’t – unexpected behaviors that make a huge impact on motivation and performance. What are they? Below, Exact Staff shares a few unique habits that set great bosses head-and-shoulders above the rest:

Reframing

Problems, obstacles, challenges…whatever you call them, they can easily derail your company’s progress. A great boss knows how to bring a fresh perspective to issues, transforming problems into opportunities – and reshaping others’ mindsets and actions in the process.

Sharing Information

Exceptional managers are secure in their abilities and aren’t threatened by others’ expertise. As a result, they don’t hoard information; they share it freely! Sharing information allows great bosses to delegate effectively, empower team members and contribute to employees’ professional growth.

Respecting Others’ Time

Amazing bosses place as much value on subordinates’ time as they do on their own. They show up on time for meetings. They allot adequate time for employees to complete work. They get to the point quickly. In short, they engage in behaviors the make the most of everyone’s time – not just their own.

Persuading

“Command and control” management may produce short-term gains, but great managers have a knack for positively influencing others’ behavior with messages that motivate, reassure and (when necessary) redirect. Instead of merely wielding their authority to get the job done, they inspire action by communicating passionately and persuasively.

Making Failure Acceptable

Exceptional bosses create a “psychological safety zone” in which employees know they can try and fail – without being punished or fired. And when their employees do make mistakes, great managers use those missteps as opportunities to learn.

Showing Gratitude

In some managers’ minds, giving employees a paycheck is showing thanks enough for the work they do. Great managers, however, realize that staff members invest a huge part of themselves in their jobs – so they make a habit of thanking employees for their effort, perseverance and success.

Be a Better Boss in 2017

Exact Staff can rapidly deliver exceptional people to build your core team. Improve productivity. And seamlessly flex your workforce to match changing demands. Whether your needs are local, regional or national, our staffing and recruiting experts are ready to help you excel.

What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today!

What to Do if a Conversation Turns Loud and Aggressive

04/15/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
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Is your workplace a hive of harmonious activity – or does it feel more like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen?

Whether they begin with policy disagreements, personality clashes or simple misunderstandings, workplace disagreements can quickly escalate into full-blown battles without proper management. And the results can be disastrous, including:

  • Lowered productivity and morale;

  • Employee turnover;

  • Even costly legal action which can sabotage profitability and your company’s reputation.

In all fairness, not every workplace conflict leads to such dire consequences. Often, squabbles and disagreements are short-lived, and a certain amount of conflict is healthy and normal.

Still, it’s better to be prepared to effectively resolve arguments you find yourself in – instead of allowing your loud and aggressive conversation devolve into something more dangerous. Here are a few actions to help you halt, or even turn around, a serious argument at work:

Acknowledge Your Role

It takes two to fight; if you find yourself embroiled in something more than a heated professional discussion, stop in your tracks. Take a deep breath. And authentically take responsibility for your role in the conversation’s derailment. Even if you’re not the one who provoked the argument, be the bigger person and apologize for compromising your work values.

State Your Intentions

Make it clear that you don’t want to argue, but that you’d like to find a mutually beneficial solution – even if you don’t know what that is at the moment. Demonstrating a sincere desire to resolve the conflict will instantly relieve the tension in the air and shift momentum in the right direction.

Define Rules of Engagement for Moving Forward

Once you’ve both regained your composure, set ground rules for civil discussion (even if you continue to disagree):

  • Use “I” instead of “you” statements to keep the discussion from turning back into an argument Avoid pointing fingers or placing blame.

  • Focus on work behaviors; skip personal attacks.

  • Use a professional, calm tone when speaking. Yelling, sarcasm or even disrespectful body language (e.g., eye rolling, defensively crossing arms) should not be tolerated.

  • Take periodic time-outs, if needed, to stay calm and in control of your behavior.

Focus on Agreement

Naturally, people who argue fixate on what they disagree about. You can profoundly transform a negative conversation, however, simply by shifting the focus to areas of common ground. Take a moment to calmly and sincerely list your points of agreement. Then, use those as the foundation for resolving your differences. The road to resolution may still be bumpy, but civility and a sincere desire to work things out will keep you on track.

Need Level-Headed Team Players for Your Organization?

Contact your local Exact Staff office. As a national employment agency, we deliver hard-working, professional individuals who will mesh with your culture, focus on results, and work well with the other members on your team.

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Driving Team Productivity Starts with the Right Software

03/7/16 9:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Do more. Do it faster. And accomplish it all with fewer resources.

Like it or not, this is the business credo of our post-recession economy. And the pressure is taking its toll. Everywhere you look, teams’ limits are being pushed – leading to burnout, turnover, critical mistakes and internal discord. Instead of functioning as high-performing units, strained teams are falling apart at the seams.

Around the world, software developers are taking note – and taking the productivity bull by the horns. In recent years, cloud-based apps and powerful project management software have been developed specifically to support your teams’ changing needs and super-charge their productivity.

Are you taking advantage of the right tools? Indiscriminate use of software applications won’t yield the productivity improvement you seek; in fact, it may have the opposite effect. Instead of coordinating efforts and maximizing team resources, the wrong software can increase communication channels and unnecessarily complicate tasks.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to help your employees work smarter, not harder. The right software can smooth operations, facilitate teamwork and improve effectiveness. Here’s how to choose the best options for your business:

  • Understand your current needs. Study your environment and work processes, taking into account the hardware and software you already use. Make a list of the biggest challenges your teams currently face (e.g., process bottlenecks; work that’s still accomplished manually or on paper; business intelligence gaps; work coordination impediments; etc.), as well as the goals they need to meet, to determine where software could be of benefit.
  • Analyze your future needs. Beyond considering what your business needs now, you must also predict what it will require one to five years down the road. To choose the right software, you must factor in its ability to evolve with your teams’ changing needs.
  • Investigate your options. The range of choices available today is truly dizzying. Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating your software options:
    • SaaS solutions. Web-based software is popular among small businesses looking for greater efficiency and mobile access. How and where will people use the software?
    • Hosted, on-site enterprise solutions. These typically come with a higher price tag, but they offer greater security and customization. Consider where and how your data should be housed, as well as how much tailoring you will require for a platform to be effective.
    • Features. What basic and advanced features does your team need?
    • Compatibility. How well will the software integrate with your existing systems? Will it reduce or eliminate the need for other software and/or communication channels?
    • Cost. How much money do you have to spend? Would a higher initial investment yield greater long-term benefits?
  • Adequately evaluate a number of vendors. Due diligence ensures you will choose a partner who’s invested in your success and has the resources to deliver on its promises.

Looking to improve the effectiveness of your work teams?

Exact Staff is here to support you. Providing a full complement of staffing and placement services, we can help your teams accomplish more:

  • Offload low-priority and administrative activities to free up more time for key priorities.
  • Supplement your core teams with temporary and contract staff, flexing your workforce to respond to changing demands.
  • Prevent burnout and overwork, both of which can undermine team productivity.

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