Adulting · Work

How to Make Managing Your Employees More Straightforward

You might have begun your business as a one-person operation, but once success comes your way, you’ll soon find that it can be highly beneficial to bring other people on board to your team. However, it’s not as if this is just a matter of hiring a person to do a job, and letting them get on with it. As soon as you bring your first employee on board, you’ll find yourself in the role of ‘manager,’ and that’s not always as straightforward as newcomers to the game would like it to be. By the time you have a team of employees, you’ll need to work hard to ensure that things run smoothly. Below, we take a look at a few useful tips that’ll make managing your team more straightforward.

How to Make Managing Your Employees More StraightforwardPexels – CC0 Licence

Hire Competent People

You’ll find it infinitely easier to manage your team of employees if they’re high-quality to begin with. It’s like cooking: you’ll make a much nicer meal if you’re using fresh, quality ingredients, rather than whatever has been left on the shelf. So before you do anything, take a look at your hiring process, and see how set up it is to bring excellent staff on board. Many new employers end up hurting themselves by writing job descriptions that only appeal to the bottom of the barrel candidates. Improve your hiring process, hire better staff, and make things easier for yourself.

And People You Like

You’ll fundamentally have a professional relationship with your staff, but it is important that you get along with them, and especially so if you’re a small team. That’s why it’s important to look beyond the CV, and think about how you will click with the other person. You’re going to be working closely with them each day; it’ll help considerably if you don’t have to overlook their personality just to get your job done. Of course, this doesn’t mean figuring out if you have the capacity to be best friends with them — it’s just about listening to any instincts that tell you that you might find them annoying.

Software Tools

You’ll soon find that managing involves much more than just telling your team members what to do, and then basking in all their hard work. Having employees means taking on a lot of additional tasks, such as payroll, scheduling, and so on. Running a business means juggling so many different tasks, not forgetting the HR department, which is why many business owners turn to outsourcing this via companies like Gusto (click here for gusto pricing). You can make handling these tasks much more straightforward by getting the right software tools. For example, there is software that allows you to easily track employee hours, which can help considerably when it comes to payroll processing. Downloading the tools that you need will take some of the stress out of managing a team, and also free up your time, so you can focus on the tasks that’ll help to push your business forward.

Team Building

Studies have shown that productivity goes up when people like their work colleagues and their office environment. But really, this is something that you could have guessed without a study saying that it’s the case. You can just feel that there’s a good atmosphere in the office when colleagues like each other. Plus, if people are friendly with one another, there’ll be reduced risk of disagreements and arguments from occurring. If you’ve hired well, then you should have a team of staff who are ready to be friends — but it won’t happen automatically. You’ll need to create the settings that allow people to get to know one another. One option is to host afterwork drinks on Friday evenings, or you could organise a team building trip somewhere fun (such as paintballing or go-karting).

Keep Things Tight

It’s important to remember that it’s not as if you need to hire for every task that has to be taken care of. Indeed, it’s recommended that you don’t do this, since the more staff you bring on board, the more complicated things will become. It’ll be much better if you only hire for the absolute essential tasks, and then outsource the ones that you only require essentially. For example, you probably don’t need a full-time marketing employee, so instead, you can outsource the task to a third-party company.

Give and Receive

Finally, remember that you can make things more straightforward by simply being fair with your staff. You can ask for the world from your employees if you’re also willing to give them the world. This will help prevent resentment from creeping in, which can have a hugely detrimental impact on the overall atmosphere and productivity in the office.

Business · Work

Work and Home – Five Ways to Keep Them Separate

How to Separate Home and Work Life
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

As someone who works from home, I’d be the first to say that there are a lot of pros to the arrangement. I get to work in a familiar environment, Maureen the Pup doesn’t have to be left by herself and I get to dictate my own hours (and eat lunch whenever I want!). However, there are also downsides, and it can be difficult to create separation between home and work life – I say this as I sit here typing on a Sunday afternoon, between cooking dinner and doing loads of laundry!

There are, however, ways to ensure that work and home don’t bleed together – here are a few of them:

Invest in Office Space

This might seem counterproductive if you want the freedom of self-employment, but there are lots of small office spaces where you can work, distraction free, which don’t cost a fortune. Click Offices London guide can help you to find serviced office space in the City, which will fit your budget and help you to look more professional to your clients.

Set Work Hours

I’m very guilty of taking work at a moments notice, which means working at times when I should be with family. Set yourself hours in which you’ll accept work and don’t do anything outside of this. You could even set yourself an out of hours notification for your emails so that clients won’t expect to hear back from you until the next day. It can be daunting, thinking about losing work, but setting parameters like this is good for everyone.

Ditch the Work Phone

For those of us with work phones, consider implementing a ‘no phone’ policy at home. There’s nothing worse than a fun time with the family being spoilt by a call from work about something that could wait till Monday. Of course, there are some exceptions to this but in most cases, the job can wait till you’re on the clock.

Delegate as Much Work as Possible.

If you have others that work with or for you, make sure to assign a reasonable amount of tasks to them, instead of trying to do everything yourself. Give your assistant or team members tasks that are lower on your priority list, but that you can trust them to accomplish. You may also think about assigning tasks or activities that will build and enhance their skills.

Keep Your Social Media Separate

If you’d like to separate your work relationships from your personal ones, it’s a good idea to keep them separate online as well. The easiest way to avoid overlap is to use different social networking sites for different purposes. For example, Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent tools for developing your professional network, whereas Facebook is often better suited to sharing photos and news with your family and close friends. If your business page is linked to your profile, there’s temptation to answer questions doing downtime, but you should try to keep notifications off at weekends, at the very least.

Business · Work

How to Make Your Home Office Feel Secure

Feel Safe in a Secure HomeWorking from home has many advantages, but it can be difficult to separate home from business. If you have an office in your home, you might worry about security, especially if you keep documents containing sensitive information, cash or payment details. With new GDPR rules in place, it’s even more important to protect your client’s information, or you could land yourself a hefty fine. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about some ways to make your home office feel more secure:

Barriers

Having barriers from Barriers Direct across your driveway might not stop people from coming onto your property, but they’ll give a clear sign that security is on your mind and that you want to keep a line between yourself and the outside world. They also stop people using your driveway as a turning circle, which can be very annoying if you live on a busy main road.

Lights

Exterior lights are proven to be a deterrent to people coming onto your property for nefarious reasons late at night, but they also give you an extra feeling of safety if you come and go when it’s dark. Use a selection of carefully placed lights to give you illumination in all of the areas you’re likely to use, once the sun goes down, for the ultimate feeling of safety, but be mindful of lights which might shine into your bedroom if a cat wanders past!

Get a Dog

While I’m not suggesting you have a team of German Shepherds patrolling your perimeter, dogs can really help to make you feel secure in your home office. When Sausage was a baby, Husband worked nights and having Chuck there made me feel so much safer as he’d let me know if someone so much as breathed in the direction of our home!

Camera ACTION

You’ve probably seen headlines about burglars being foiled by security camera footage. This is one home office security solution that works as both a deterrent and a means to get justice. You can get security cameras that are part of a complete home office security system, or you can use cameras that work on their own. Whichever way you go, we recommend using a security camera with a mobile app, so you can see footage in real time and store it if you ever need to go to the police.

Get a Safe

If you’ve got things in your house which are of serious worth, installing a safe might be a good way to feel more secure about your belongings. Safes can be good for keeping company records and payment information safe, too. If anyone does manage to break into your home office, it will be a lot more difficult for them to steal anything of value, and in a lot of cases, having a safe can make your contents insurance premiums go down. Make sure they’re installed by a reputable company and think about going for a safe which has two separate locking mechanisms for an added layer of security.

What do you do to ensure you feel safe and secure in your home office? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Work

Are You Being Treated Poorly At Work?

Unfortunately, this is a situation that many people find themselves in every day. What’s more, it doesn’t really look as though it is an experience which is in any way abating at all, and in fact it is only going to continue to be a problem as long as the culture doesn’t change. In the meantime, the best thing we can do is to try and ensure that we know what to do as individuals when we are at the hands of mistreatment at work. Part of the problem is not knowing how to respond, because there are just so many kinds of mistreatment that you can’t easily give advice for all situations. However, there are some general rules which are worth following, and which could help you to get out of that situation much more smoothly and easily.

Source – CCO Licence

Report It

The most important thing you can do is to make sure that you report the experience. Whether it happens once or many times, you need to make sure that it is known that it happened. This is something which can be extremely difficult in itself and even, depending on the situation at hand, frightening to do. But if you keep quiet, then it is much less likely that the situation will be resolved, and that the perpetrator will be punished in any way. You need to make sure that you are reporting your mistreatment to the right people, of course, which will depend on the nature of it. Look around for the specifics of your situation and who to go to to report it. This is a vital thing which you can’t overlook.

Claim Compensation

On many occasions, you will be able to claim compensation for what occurs, and that is something that you will definitely want to consider in order to ensure that you are getting what you deserve from the whole scenario. Let’s say that you have been injured, for instance. In that case, you are well within your rights to go to lawyers like Hupy & Abraham and see if you can get some kind of compensation for the experience, and in all likelihood you will be able to. This is not about the money, so much as it is about receiving some kind of apology for what happened at the hands of somebody else. It’s really important that you get what you deserve as best and as soon as you possibly can.

Source – CCO Licence

Encourage Openness

Finally, remember that each individual can do something to make the workplace a little better by being open and honest, and confronting one another about poor behaviour. This is something that you should make a part of your daily interactions with people as best as you can, and if you do that you will find that it really does lead to a considerable change in atmosphere. That in itself will probably mean that fewer people suffer, so it is certainly worth it for that reason.

Work

The Benefits of Co-Working

co-workingNow that both girls are at school, I’ve been thinking a lot about my working arrangements. I love being freelance because of the freedom and flexibility it gives me, but I do miss some of the elements of working in an office. I recently went to a Christmas party thrown by a friend I do some freelance work for and I remembered how much I used to love this time of year, when I worked. It sounds mad, but I always felt more festive when I worked with other people, so I’ve been thinking about looking into co-working spaces.

If you’re not aware, co-working is basically where you rent space in a flexible office where you get all the perks of working in a larger space (i.e. not one end of my living room couch…) without having to rent a whole building.

The benefits of co-working are innumerable – as well as having company during the day, with other professional, focused people, you also have networking opportunities around you, which I doubt you get at home. Many co-working spaces also have conference rooms which you’re allowed to use, making any business meetings you might want to take look SO much more professional.

Something that appeals to me is the fact that in a dedicated office space, I’d have far fewer distractions and would also be able to set proper office hours. If I turn up at nine and leave at five, like most normal working people, it would be a lot easier for me to focus during work hours and disconnect when it’s home time.

Many different co-working options exist, like in these offices to rent Liverpool – just a basic membership will offer free tea and coffee, cleaning, high speed internet, a postal service and the opportunity to use a prestigious business address, rather than your home address. I’ll be honest, the thought of high-speed internet access is enough to make it appeal to me!

I’ll be honest, as much as I like my own company and relish the opportunity to have me-time, I’m also a little bit prone to isolating myself and that’s not always a good thing. Sure, being able to come home after dropping the girls off and work in my slippers with Maureen the Pup next to me might sound great, but it makes it a lot harder to get into a professional mindset and isolation also isn’t great for me when I’m feeling down.

There are SO many benefits to co-working and it’s definitely something I’m going to look further into in the new year. Are you a co-working fan? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear about your experiences.