How to be productive when working from home

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Walt Disney

Flexible working has not only become a top priority for employers, it is also a desirable for job candidates. As a result, working from home is continuing to grow in popularity, from saving money on your daily commute and no office interruptions, it can be a really effective way to handle those admin or project days.

It does however come with some challenges and the main concern from employers when allowing their employees to work from home is measuring how productive working from home can be, so there is a big emphasis upon trust on both sides of the employment relationship.

If like me, working from home is something you are able to do on occasion, it can be difficult to keep focused, so here are some easy ways that you can be your most productive self at home:

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A perfectly imperfect year

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As I write this blog post, instead of sitting in my usual spot, the office at home, I thought I would continue the festive mood by sitting by the Christmas tree with it’s beautiful twinkling lights whilst drinking a cup of tea and a mince pie. You cannot get more festive than this!

Christmas is a time of year conjures up a mixture of thoughts and feelings, it is also a season of familiarity, full of traditions and not to mention an endless to do list. Whilst most soak up the atmosphere of the festive season, one thing that people think of, yet often forget to do is reflect upon the year that we are about to leave behind; sometimes we just need to take stock amongst the overflowing preparations to organise ourselves for the fresh year that awaits.

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Work hard, but not too hard… how trying too hard can actually damage your career

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Many people believe that the harder you work, the quicker you’ll climb the career ladder quicker, resulting in more money and a greater sense of achievement. WRONG!

Researchers from City University have collected information from over 500,000 people in 30 different European countries, and considered the effects of long working hours hours, verses the effort put into an individual’s job against measures of wellbeing, and have linked this to career outcomes.

The research is a painful read, especially for those who put in the hours in a bid to increase their prospects.  The study revealed a connection between an increased work volumes and reduced wellbeing. The results also highlight the negative effects of working too hard such as increased stress levels and increased risk of burnout, this is shown to outweigh the reward for demonstrating commitment and going the extra mile.

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What a true HR leader looks like, according to HR

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After another fantastic HR Hour on Twitter this week, we explored what qualities we would look for in a HR leader.

As you can imagine, this really generated a constructive conversation and it appears that many HR professionals like to see the same qualities in a leader, albeit in different ways. In this post I’ve picked some of my favourite tweets from the evening, so a huge thank you to the contributors who made the session so informative, we learn something new every week!

Having been fortunate throughout my career, I have worked with a couple of inspirational and positive HR leaders, but many involved in this week’s HR hour were convinced that a HR leader honing these desirable qualities is hard to find.

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Back to work blues? Blame the bosses…

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 “A bad boss can take a great workforce and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation”

After all the festivities, it’s time to head back to the office and it’s no surprise that January is notoriously known for being the most depressing month of the year (yikes, tough crowd you’ve got here January!).

However, despite the dark days, dark nights and miserable weather, January is a month of opportunity and a perfect time for organisations to review their working practices to make improvements for the future.

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Tis the season to be (not so) jolly: Mental health at Christmas

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Christmas can be a magical time of the year, but for some people it can be an emotionally challenging time and with pressure increasing year on year, it’s a time that can play havoc with our mental health.

Among the chaos of shopping, retail adverts, festive lattes and that image of a “perfect” Christmas; for some people, this time of year can conjure up feelings of dread, loneliness and sadness. Whilst Christmas is unavoidable, it is important to highlight that when it comes to festivities in the workplace, there are employees who struggle for various reasons, and the problem with this is that it is not always obvious as employees are often reluctant to talk about it which can make it difficult to offer relevant support.

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Living and working with Autism

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“Think of it: a disability is usually defined in terms of what is missing. … But autism … is as much about what is abundant as what is missing, an over-expression of the very traits that make our species unique,”

Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism

A few weeks ago, I received a text message from my husband Mark, who insisted that we watch a programme on the telly that evening. He rarely does this so when I asked him about the programme and why he wanted to watch it, all he had to tell me was the title and I instantly understood why; the programme was Chris Packham: Asperger’s and me.

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