How to Keep Employees Focused When Their Personal Lives are Struggling

January 25th, 2016

When an employee’s personal life is upside down it can be all-encompassing. It’s difficult — if not impossible — for a person to focus on work when they’re dealing with a very serious problem at home. As the boss, you want to be sympathetic to their needs, but you also can’t stand by and let them dial it in while they sort the issue out.

How to Help Employees Focus When They’re Struggling at Home

Follow these three tips to help a distressed team member concentrate on their job when they’re working through tough times on the home front.

Confront the Problem

The last thing you want to do is pry into an employee’s personal life, but you have no choice if it’s impacting their work. Instead of avoiding the issue and hoping it works itself out, confront the person as soon as possible. When someone is this distracted, they may not even realize their performance has slipped. Simply having this conversation may be enough of a wake-up call to get them back on track.

Be Flexible

When a person’s mind is elsewhere, they’re unable to give 100% to their job. If possible, help your employee get their personal issues under control by allowing them to have flexible hours, work remotely or take paid — or unpaid — leave until they’ve worked everything out. For example, if a person has a sick family member they need to drive to doctor appointments twice a week, let them work from home on those days. It’s much easier for people to focus on work if you can be extra accommodating for a little while.

Refer them to Your Employee Assistance Program

Employee assistance programs are put in place to help workers address problems that are impacting their job. If your company has this type of benefit, refer your employee to it. Benefits offered by each EAP vary, but generally include a wide-variety of issues, such as managing stress, alcohol and substance abuse struggles, financial problems and family matters. This is a great way to get the person the help they need, without crossing boundaries and becoming too involved in the situation yourself.

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Don’t Sweat it! Rethink Your Interview to Calm Your Nerves

January 18th, 2016

It’s always exciting to get a call inviting you to interview for a job you’re really excited about. Of course, after you’re done celebrating, reality sets in and your nerves take over. The mere thought of going on a job interview can make even the most talented, experienced, self-assured candidates want to run away and hide. Learn how to stop panicking, so you can present your best self to the hiring manager.

4 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before a Job Interview

Take Plenty of Time to Prepare

It’s a lot easier to relax during an interview when you know you’re primed for any questions that come your way. In the days leading up to the big day, spend at least a few hours researching the company and its top competitors, learning more about the industry as a whole and preparing responses to common interview questions. There’s nothing to feel anxious about if you’ve done your homework.

Hold a Mock Interview

When you’re nervous, it’s only natural to get a little tongue-tied and stumble over your words. Practicing the responses you’ve spent so long preparing is a great way to ensure you clearly articulate your main points. Solicit the help of a friend or family member and get them to ask you a list of pre-prepared interview questions. Hearing yourself say these answers out loud in front of another person will allow you to work out any kinks and feel more confident.

Arrive Early

The day of a job interview is stressful enough without the added pressure of trying to find the office and make it there on time. If you’re not familiar with the physical location of the company, take a practice run a few days prior to figure it out. Allow more time than you think is necessary to make it there, as you never know when you’ll have car trouble or run into unexpected traffic. Arrive at the interview early so you can keep your focus on what matters most.

Remember that You’re Also Doing the Interviewing

The interviewer isn’t the only one determining your fate with the company — you also get to decide if it’s a place you want to work. It’s hard to feel too intimidated when you realize you have an equal part in the conversation. Decide what you’re looking for in an employer and come up with some great questions to ask that will help you see if the company is right for you.

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4 Ways to Stay Productive When You Become Overwhelmed

January 11th, 2016

When you’re completely slammed at the office, it’s hard to know which direction to look. It’s only natural to feel like giving up when you have more work than you could possibly ever handle at once on your agenda. Of course, you’re not the type of person to back down from a challenge, so you just have to find a way to stay productive when the going gets a little rough.

4 Ways to Stay Motivated When You’re Overwhelmed

Use these four tips to keep your productivity levels up when you’re inundated with work.

Prioritize Your Workload

Every assignment on your desk doesn’t have equal importance. Figure out which ones are most pressing and focus exclusively on those first. Trying to do everything at once isn’t necessary and it will only cause you to feel frantic. If necessary, push back on deadlines you think are unnecessarily aggressive to allow yourself more time to do your very best work.

Ask for Help

You’re only one person and you can’t do it all. If you’re one of those people that views asking for help as a weakness, it’s time to get over that ridiculous misconception and ask your team to assist. Delegate tasks to those you think are best suited to complete each assignment and prepare to be impressed. Your team is there to pitch in and help you out — not to stand by and watch you fail.

Take a Break

You probably think taking a break is the last thing you should do when you’re overwhelmed, but having even a few minutes to yourself can make a huge difference. If you only have 10 minutes, head outside for a quick walk or a cup of coffee to clear your mind and calm your nerves. If you can spare even 30 minutes, hit the gym to exercise all your frustrations out. When you step away from your work for a bit, you come back relaxed, refreshed and ready to tackle all challenges in your path.

Change Your Environment

When you’re working long hours under huge amounts of pressure, being cooped up in an office can really get to you. Often times, a change of scenery can make all the difference. Switch things up by taking your laptop to a coffee shop or even an empty conference room, where you can become re-inspired by new surroundings.

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Start Managing Your Employees More…By Overseeing Them Less

January 4th, 2016

Being a manager is a huge responsibility. Whether results are good or bad, you’re ultimately held accountable for the work produced by your team. Consequently, it’s only natural for this to make you incredibly nervous and to micromanage your staff, because you think this is the best way to keep things running smoothly.

The only problem is micromanaging doesn’t work. Even if you have the best of intentions, no one enjoys having their boss constantly watching over their shoulder. You hired great people to join your team, so now it’s time to step back and let them get to work.

Stop Micromanaging to Realize These 5 Benefits

Build Trust

Whether or not it’s intentional, when you constantly hover over your employees and only give them simple assignments, you make them feel like you don’t trust them. Give them challenging work and allow them to complete it on their own terms, to convey the message that you have complete faith in their abilities and know they’ll get the job done right.

Empower Your Team

When your staff thinks you don’t believe in them, they start to second-guess their own abilities. Consequently, they look to you for the final say on every decision, because they assume that’s what you want. Empower your employees by giving them the freedom to make their own decisions. Know that failure will happen, but as a result people will learn from their mistakes and become more confident.

Promote Employee Growth

Gaining exposure to new experiences and taking on additional responsibilities is the only way to learn and grow. If you refuse to give your staff anything but the same easy, mundane tasks, you’re keeping them from reaching their potential. Help them achieve their personal best by assigning tasks out of their comfort zone, so they can expand their horizons.

Get More Time Back in Your Day

As a manager, you have a tremendous amount of responsibility. In fact, you probably come into the office early and stay late most days to try to get everything done. Accomplish more each day and get your personal life back by delegating tasks to your team. They’ll be excited to take on new responsibilities and you’ll have more time to focus on your own priorities.

Improve Retention Rates

No one wants to work for a company that doesn’t appreciate them. If your retention rates are above average, it’s probably because your employees are bored with their lack of responsibility and tired of having you constantly look over their shoulder. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the lack of resignation letters you receive this year after loosening the reigns on your staff.

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