Archives for posts with tag: work

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s workers spend an average of 4.6 years in each job position. If you’re between the ages of 25-34, you may only be in your current role for three years. With so much of the workforce exploring new opportunities as this trend continues, how can you make yourself stand out? It’s actually easier than you think.

Get to work on time

Get to work early

We have all heard the phrase “the early bird catches the worm.” There is still some truth to that. You may not need to be early, but getting to work on time is a great way to demonstrate work ethic. Of course, we all have mornings where everything seems to go awry and we end up strolling in a few minutes late. But don’t make a habit of it. The small act of getting to work on time can boost your character and shows you are dependable, responsible, and professional – qualities that go a long way when you’re trying to move up in your career.

Look the part

Dress how you want to be addressed

Speaking of professionalism, be sure your appearance reflects your work. Come to work rested and put together. Not adhering to your company’s dress code or just making unprofessional wardrobe choices could be giving your colleagues the wrong impressions of you. My best advice is this – if you have to ask “does this look okay?”, the answer is probably no. You can also take it a step further and dress for the position you want and not the position you have. If you want to move up, look at what people in that position are wearing and follow their lead. This simple trick can have you looking ready for the next career move.

Be a team player

Be a Team Player

Many of us (me included) are guilty of thinking we can control everything. But if you are looking to make a good impression, adopt a “we” mentality. Some small, simple things can help you be a team player and network with coworkers. Ask those around you about their weekend or current projects. Next, give credit where credit is due. If someone helped you on a project, be sure to share the credit. Also, give out thanks and compliments when deserved. You don’t have to compliment everyone on every little thing, but when hard work was put forth, acknowledge it. If someone helped you out or supported your successes, let him know he is appreciated.

Ask questions

Ask Questions

Finally, if you want to stand out, start asking questions.

  • Ask for clarification when needed but, more importantly, be sure to ask questions to understand the larger organizational reasons behind why a particular task or project is important. Taking this initiative shows that you’re engaged.
  • Also, ask questions to help you gain more responsibility. In what ways can you assist on another project? Is there any follow up that can be completed? Are there future projects you could get a head start on, if time permits?
  • Ask questions to expand your experiences. Is there a seminar or conference you could attend? A skill set you could work on? Many companies provide classes or other learning opportunities, so ask if you can participate. Even if you anticipate the answer to be “no”, it’s worth asking because it shows you are taking action to improve yourself and your work. Just asking the question can change someone’s thoughts of you and put you ahead of the pack for the next position.

What are your tips for getting ahead?

How do you “get good” at your job?

As a HON sales member, I get my share of windshield time and take advantage of it by listening to some good audible books.

I recently finished Cal Newport’s latest book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work you Love.

The book starts off with the premise that “follow your passion” is not necessarily enough to create long term work you love.

Here’s what I learned in order to develop a fulfilling, meaningful career and be “so good you can’t be ignored”:

  1. Build and master rare and valuable skills.
  2. Deliberately practice your craft.
    • Stretch yourself every day to achieve beyond what you’ve previously accomplished.  As a viola player in my youth, that meant practicing the same musical scale until it became muscle memory.  The diligence it took to get to this point was often strenuous and not necessarily enjoyable.  However, this deliberate practice was necessary to master advanced music playing.  Think of Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, “WAX ON, WAX OFF”.
  3. Apply deliberate practice and a craftsman mindset as knowledge workers.
    1. You don’t get to call yourself a craftsman without putting in time and focus.  Newport references the 10,000 hour rule, the concept that until you put 10,000 hours (or roughly 5 years) into developing a skill, you have not yet mastered the skill.

I apply these lessons in my career.  Deliberate practice and a craftsman mindset are essential to becoming so good you can’t be ignored.  If you’re in field sales like me, you may find this difficult to implement.  After all, you don’t get to repeat the same sales call every day, as every conversation is a new opportunity.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek incremental improvement. Here is what deliberate practice can look like in sales:

  • What am I going to do on this sales call that helps me improve compared to my last sales call?
  • How am I going to communicate the information more effectively to get the response I want?
  • This time, I’m only going to focus on ‘X’.

Consistently finding ways to improve the day-to-day tasks adds up and will eventually differentiate you from your competitors.  Whether you’re in sales or practicing a different craft, what are some ways you implement deliberate practice in your field?

customer-support-superhero

I can barely contain my excitement – it’s almost here. When we round out September, we’ll plunge headfirst into a fiesta of food, a plethora of prizes, and a sea of shenanigans. What do I speak of, you may ask? Why, it’s National Customer Support Week of course!

The widely celebrated (and much adored) National Customer Support Week is typically the first full week of October. This year, it falls on the Week of October 6th. As is customary, HON has embraced the festivities and we’re planning on celebrating in style with our ‘Superheroes’ theme.

Thinking of what you can do for your own band of caped crusaders? Here are a few tips on celebrating your own Customer Support Week:

  • Fiesta of Food – Anyone hungering for Shawarma? Avengers jokes aside, we’re serious about our food days. Throughout the week, we’ll have an array of Superhero Sandwiches, a Power-Up Your Popcorn bar, and even green ‘kryptonite’ (rock candy). At the end of the week, our members will be designing their own smorgasbord inspired by their Superhero region (i.e. – Metropolis, Gotham City, etc). To reward your own heroes, you may consider doing a snack or a lunch, even if it’s not tied to a theme. Hungry for a bit more? Consider having a potluck where everyone brings in their favorite dish.
  • Plethora of Prizes – While our prizes do not include a princess, a rare gem, or the key to a city, they’re worthy of our – some might say – heroic members. We’ll have contests and games each day where our members can play to win any number of HON branded prizes, punctuated by our fabulous daily giveaways (can you guess what they’ll receive?). In years past, we’ve noticed that everyone enjoys receiving giveaways – whether that be a colorful notepad or even a water bottle. If it’s something they can use outside of the office, that allows a little more freedom.
  • Sea of Shenanigans – Though our ‘shenanigans’ would dismay the Joker, we’ve got quite the lineup scheduled! Capes in tow, our members will experience a gauntlet of games, from identifying the cityscape, to matching which Superhero or Villain said what. We’ll be decorating our rows according to which Superhero they’ll represent (hopefully no one in our Spiderman row has arachnophobia) and holding various contests between them during the week. Though we won’t be playing ‘Pin the Jail Bars on the Villain’, we will celebrate our members’ accolades by posting them throughout the office. You could start by adding your own themed décor, or playing games throughout the week. If your members are answering calls, consider playing a game through email, like bingo.

As always, our members are ‘heroic’ enough to handle having fun while maintaining our excellent customer support.  If you do happen to call in to HON Customer Support during National Customer Support Week, you may hear a random cheer, hoot, or (otherwise atypical) exclamation. Don’t worry; it’s all a part of our master plan to take over the world – er – Office Furniture world. Make sure to buff your boots, Batman, and have a happy Customer Support Week!

1. Be Early

Nothing creates stress like falling behind. If you wake up late, your whole day will be thrown off as you rush around. Set your alarm for a few minutes early so you have plenty of time to tackle unexpected road blocks head on.

2. Plan Ahead

Do as much as you can ahead of time. I set my coffee pot the night before to start making coffee before I’m even awake! I like to pack my lunch and even plan my outfit the night before. You won’t have to stress over these small decisions in the morning.

3. Prioritize Tasks

If you know you have a big project to conquer, get it done first thing in the morning. Move it to the top of your list and you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when it’s done. Letting it hang over your head all day (hello, procrastination!) only makes for more stress over the course of your day.

4. Take A Break

Hit a wall with your project? Go for a quick walk around the block. The fresh air and exercise will give you energy and clear your stress. You may even get a great idea while you’re out and about.

5. Reward Yourself

Treat yourself! Allow yourself a reward for working hard. I like to grab a fun coffee or have lunch with a friend to celebrate accomplishments. It’s a nice reminder that working hard pays off.

What do you do to get rid of morning stress?

Team Meeting In Creative Office

At times, finding an open window of time to meet with an entire project group can be difficult. How can you make the most of your time? Let’s look at a few ways to keep meetings on task and more efficient.

Share Expectations
In the meeting invitation, include an agenda and attendee expectations. The agenda gives the attendees an idea of what will be discussed.  This allows them to have their thoughts together so they can join into the conversation. Letting attendees know if they need to have anything prepared will make sure everyone is ready to share ideas and keep the meeting rolling.

Set Your Space
In preparation for the meeting, ensure the room you reserve meets all of your space requirements. Determine if there is enough seating for all those attending the meeting so you aren’t searching for an extra chair when the meeting should be starting. Make sure the meeting space offers the equipment you need, whether this is a screen and projector or flip chart.  Having your space prepared for success will keep the meeting running smoothly.

Get Started
Start on time. The attendees know what time the meeting was scheduled to start. Therefore, it’s important to be respectful of their time, especially if it is just a short window of availability. Begin the meeting at the start time and immediately start covering items on the agenda.

Offer Support Materials
Bring handouts for all attendees if necessary. And if you will be handing something out, make sure you have enough for each attendee. Handouts can be helpful if a large amount of information is presented in a short time to allow the attendees to have a hard copy to review.

Close the Loop
Recap the meeting and the follow-up activities. If there are action items coming out of the meeting, it is good practice to send out a follow-up communication summarizing those items.  Be sure to include what tasks will be completed by the next meeting and/or specific deadlines.

What tactics do you use to keep your meetings productive?

A few years ago I came across an Inc article that sang praises for the benefits of bringing your dog to work. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, workers who brought their dogs with them to work “experienced lower stress levels throughout the work day, reported higher levels of job satisfaction, and had a more positive perception of their employer.” How can you argue with that?!

Below are a few examples of some of our favorite 4-legged friends busy at work.  Who else has canines as co-workers? We would love to see your pics!

Even Maslow can’t help but Migrate to Flock.

Even Maslow can’t help but Migrate to Flock.

Bones showing his immense admiration for the unmatched comfort of Nucleus.

Bones showing his immense admiration for the unmatched comfort of Nucleus.

Lollipop taking a spin on Purpose.

Lollipop taking a spin on Purpose.

Ceres seating makes a 'ruff' day at the office much more enjoyable.

Ceres seating makes a ‘ruff’ day at the office much more enjoyable.

Steve giving Voi his official seal of approval.

Steve giving Voi his official seal of approval.

Rambo chilling out on Flock.

Rambo chilling out on Flock.

How many of you have a coworker that talks about their favorite football team every Monday during the fall? What about the person who tends to talk loud on their phone?  Do you feel like you are constantly being distracted?  According to the well-known architect and design firm, Gensler, the answer is probably yes.

Last year, Gensler redistributed their 2008 Workplace Survey to analyze differences in the results and identify shifts in workplace trends.   Think back to 2008 for a moment.  The world was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.  Employment rates were at an all time low. Facebook and Twitter had hardly taken over the social sphere and the iPhone hadn’t even been on the market a full year.  Just as connectivity and communication has changed dramatically in those five years, so did the survey results.gensler figure 2

You can see from the bar chart that the amount of the day spent on focus work increased significantly.  It’s important that the space planning of a workplace allows people to concentrate during their focus work time.  At HON Headquarters, there are many small rooms where people can go to focus on their tasks at hand and nearby collaborative spaces where members can have quick conversations.  If members are at their desk working, many use headphones to mask the sounds of conversations going on around them. Focus work that falls vulnerable to interruptions and distractions can greatly decrease a person’s productivity.  Here are some statistics:

gensler figure 3

What percentage of your day is spent on focus work? What are some distractions you hear or feel in your workplace? And, how exactly do you overcome the distractions?

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