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Staying Focused at Work….

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.

-Robert Frost

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13 Ways to Beat Distractions and Stay Focused at Work

  • Pinpoint the problem. What causes you to lose focus? Is it fatigue, hunger or a Twitter addition? Figuring out the issue is the first step toward trying to fix it.
  • Plan ahead. Envision what the workday will look like before it happens. Write down what things need to get done or what you want to accomplish. Setting goals can help people stay on track.
  • Eat a good breakfast. A bowl of oatmeal may do more than jump start metabolism. Studies have found that eating breakfast can improve attention and concentration, too. Here’s what the experts say you should eat in the morning.
  • Meditate. Scientists have discovered that meditation may enhance certainbrain functions linked to attention. It can’t hurt to try shutting everything off to get more done in the long run.
  • Work offline. One survey found nearly 60% of disruptions at work come from email, social networks and cell phones. So for tasks that don’t involve the Internet, try using old-fashioned paper and pen — perfect for brainstorming! Put your phone on silent and check email only occasionally (try once every hour). Limit time on social media too. You can “like” your friend’s picture of his dog later.
  • Do smaller tasks. Some psychologists suggest that our brain works way too hard to process incredible amounts of information. So working on one large project can be overwhelming — like trying to plan a whole event at work in one afternoon. Split up projects into individual tasks so they’re easier to accomplish.
  • Time box. Work on one project for a specific amount of time, rather than working until something is finished. (Write emails until 2 p.m., instead of stopping at inbox zero.) This way we know we can work hard until a certain time, and then be able to take a break.
  • Clean up. Anything from Post-Its to pretzels and family photos can become a distraction. Clear off the workspace and have out only what’s needed (laptop, notebook, water-bottle — check!) to help stay in the zone.
  • Try an app. Discard anydistractions with a little help from technology. Certain apps can block websites (so long, Pinterest) or black out computer screen backgrounds so only one program is in view at a time. There are web tools that can calculate how much time is spent on websites, too. (Now that could be scary.)
  • Reward yourself. A little motivation can go a long way. Say, “After I finish this page, I’ll go buy a cookie!” (Try these vegan delicacies.) Watch that to-do list vanish in no time.
  • Take little breaks. Getting to the office early, working through lunch and staying late doesn’t necessarily mean getting more stuff done. Short bursts of hard work followed by quick breaks can be more beneficial than never taking a breather, since the brain may just burn out.
  • Wear headphones. At Greatist we practice the “headphone rule”: no one’s allowed to talk to someone who’s wearing ear gear. It’s a great way to show you’re working on something important and don’t have time to chat. (Sometimes I don’t even have music playing — my secret!)
  • Try caffeine. Coffee or tea may help people feel more alert and able to concentrate in the cubicle. If iced coffee isn’t your cup of…coffeetry chewing gum, which may help increase alertness too.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/23/13-ways-to-beat-distractions-and-stay-focused-at-work/#ixzz2IdCsgOf9

It’s Employee Appreciation Day!

So often employees rate their performance on whether or not they are given a pay raise or a promotion. While an employer handing out pay raises and promotions does in fact indicate that the employee is doing a good job, employers must not forget that employees need to be recognized more often than a raise or promotion can be given. To be recognized and rewarded is to value your employees, to realize that they are human beings, and to provide them with appreciation by listening to what they really need. Putting aside the wanting of a raise or a higher title, here are five things your employees need:

  1. A pleasant work environment.
    • A hostile work environment is just not healthy. If co-workers aren’t being respected, no one is going to feel of value. HR Strategies provides the HR consulting that is often needed to balance complex professional working relationships.
  2. Recognition
    • How about an employee of the month award? Or a company-wide email about the latest accomplishment of your employee?
  3. Perks
    • Do you have discounts that your employees can utilize? All worksite employees of HR Strategies have access to perks program discounts for a variety of establishments including the GA Aquarium, Six Flags, the Braves, Stone Mountain Park, and many more.
  4. Help/Personal Assistance
    • Is your company culture that of genuine sincerity for a co-worker/employees personal problems? An employee’s life outside of the office can greatly affect their productivity on the job. All HR Strategies worksite employees have access to our EAP program, which provides a variety of services to help ensure their overall wellbeing.
  5. Mentoring
    • Do managers listen to their employee’s professional goals, and give them the coaching they need to move toward those goals? Thus showing the employee value? Do you provide your employees the training they need to accomplish their work tasks?

Employees are not just a time clock badge ID number. They are human and have emotional needs to be met. Taking the time to provide for these needs you may find that they become more productive and better representatives of your business.

The First 3 Months… Tips to Help Get Them Right

3 Months, or 90 Days, is the typical length of time for a new employee to integrate into a new organization. Below are some tips and guidelines to help your new employees make that integration successful.

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Before Their First Day…

  • They’ve been hired, but haven’t started yet; start their working relationship off on a positive note by sending a Welcome Letter, or leaving a welcome note on their work station to find on their first day.
  • Make sure the employee has their entire new hire packet to be filled out and turned in on the first day of employment. Pay special attention to the I-9 and provide the list of acceptable I-9 documents. Bonus points if you are using HR Strategies electronic on-boarding, they can access it online!
  • Be sure to set up their office/workstation so that they are ready to go the first day they arrive. Make sure any technology is set for them; this includes computer access and phones; but it also includes all online accounts having access, user IDs, etc.

Their First Day….

  • Make sure the receptionist or your office manager knows they will be starting, and who will be assisting the new employee.
  • Give the employee a tour of the workplace. Be sure to include not only where they can find other employees who will be vital to their job, but also restrooms, breakrooms, supplies, and other essentials.
  • Provide the new employee not only with a handbook, but also a telephone directory for the company and a user guide for the phone system.
  • Everyone likes gifts, and this is the perfect time to welcome your new hire with some office “swag”. Having some new items with the company logo will help the employee feel a part of the organization, and it’s a marketing bonus for our company when they show their swag to others outside of the organization!
  • No one likes to be alone on their first day, arrange to have their supervisor take them to lunch. You may want to even have a few other employees from their department join the lunch. Maybe even plan a lunch at the office/work area and order pizza for the employees so they can better get to know the new hire.

Week Two…

  • They should now be familiar with their department, and their co-workers within their department. Two weeks into their employment is a great time to make sure that they are meeting employees from other departments.
  • Have them begin to set goals with their manager, and when those goals should be reached.

After Week Two…

  • Supervisors should be sure to check in with the employee to see how they are progressing.
  • The new employee and their supervisor should have a conversation regarding any concerns the employee is having, and for the supervisor to get a feel of how the employee is beginning to transition into their role. Any concerns that the employee has, should be addressed and a plan of resolution put in place following this meeting.

One Month…

  • Ask the employee for their input on the new hire process and how you may improve it.
  • Discuss with the employee their performance progress.  Address questions, give feedback on overall performance and your observations of their work.  Address any concerns as coaching is given and set expectations of future performance review process and adjust behaviors as needed.
  • Now is the time to start getting the employee involved in short term projects.

Month and a Half….

  • Be sure to check with the employee and their supervisor on any outstanding concerns the employee may have regarding their employment/work.
  • Assess the employees understanding of their role.

3 Months…

  • At 3 months into employment the employee should be fully engaged in the company and their role.
  • Now is the time to do a first review; give additional feedback on their performance, address any concerns, and set strategic goals for them.
  • Make sure that you ask if there is any reason why they would want to leave the company’s employment.

For questions regarding On-Boarding, New Hires, or any other part of the Employee Life Cycle contact HR Strategies at 770-339-0000 or http://www.hr-strategies.com.

 

Personal & Economic Patriotism

As we come to an end of our patriotic themed posts, having taken a look at the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and voting rights; we would like to leave you with some thoughts to encourage you take remain patriotic (not only your daily personal life, but also in your business) throughout the year, not just on the 4th of July…

  • “Economic Patriotism is doing what is right for American businesses, for American workers, for American consumers, and for America. Each of these entities is dependent upon each other doing the right thing for the other. It is not possible for one entity to abandon another without harm resulting to all entities. The American worker and the American consumer are tightly related, and often one in the same. It is simply not possible to adversely affect the American worker without also adversely affecting the American consumer.” http:www.americanreformation.org/AJCoalition/EconomicPatriotism.htm
  • Veterans having served in our National Forces continue to look for work. Don’t we, at the very least, owe them the opportunity to work when they return from serving their country? “Veterans are a very strong talent pool. They possess skills and qualities that are immeasurable – such as leadership, pride, teamwork, and dedication,”- recruiter Danielle Micek.
  • “Whenever a Guardsman or Reservist leaves for training, they are coming back to their companies with better skills, better training, and they are an asset to a company every time they leave.” – Barbara O’Reilly, Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Don’t just feel patriotic watching the fireworks on the 4th of July, when you hear the Star Spangled Banner at a ballgame, or when you enter the voting booth. Carry your patriotism and pride in America throughout the year. Americans took a risk on July 4th, 1776, and we are reaping the benefits every day.

May Day or Law Day?

A little known fact, on May 1st of each year, the United States officially recognizes Law Day. According to Wikipedia, “It is meant to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and to recognize its importance for society. Implemented as a Cold War stunt to combat communism, as the rest of the world recognizes May Day as International Workers’ Day, Law Day is not commonly recognized by the American public.”

According to LawDay.org, “President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law.” At HR Strategies, we follow employment laws very closely. We advise our clients on the aspects and intricacies of many different laws and regulatory compliance issues.

Call us today to learn how we can help keep your business free of the fines and penalties issued when employers fail to fully understand and implement practices dictated by employment laws. Click here to request a Free Needs Analysis.

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Beware the Ides of March

On this day in history:

Gaius Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome, is stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by 60 conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

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Read more here.

Unrest in your workplace? Here at HR Strategies, we will take care of your company’s disciplinary actions and terminations for you. We can function anywhere from simply being your HR Consultant, all the way to acting as your business’ complete HR department. Let us know how you want us to customize our services to fit your needs today! Submit your Request for a Free Needs Analysis on our website and we’ll be in touch with you soon!

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