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7 Ways to Create the Perfect Home Office

7 Ways to Create the Perfect Home Office

As millennials in or entering the work force, we value a healthy work-life balance. Flexibility and time are seen as some of the most important benefits of a job—even over health insurance.

Part of this flexibility includes the option to work from home—something that over 92 percent of millennials would prefer. Whether you are an entrepreneur launching a business from home, a parent working part time, or a full-time remote employee, you need to create an appropriate home office space to increase productivity.

How do you create the perfect work space that will facilitate concentration and hard work? These tips and tricks can help the young working professional create the perfect home office space.

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1. Figure Out What Works for You

The beauty of working from home is that you get to create your own personal work space and a routine that is suited to your needs, style, and schedule. No more cubicle seating or required clock-in times. But before you begin revamping your home office, ask yourself this question:

What type of environment works for me?

You know yourself better than anyone else, so it only makes sense to design an office space that works for YOU. When decorating, determine if you’d like to use a standing desk or prefer to work from the kitchen table. Decide if you’d like to position your desk to face the window’s open views or if you’d rather face the wall and avoid outside distractions. Consider whether you work better while listening to music or if ambient noise is a better fit. Ask yourself what increases your productivity and energy and design your space according to those needs.

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2. Create an Action Plan for Distractions

While working from home has many perks, it’s often easy to get sidetracked. Create an action plan to deal with distractions and stay organized when working from home. Set boundaries and let people know your dedicated office hours. Additionally, consider establishing cues for your roommate, spouse, or other family members. Maybe a closed door means “do not disturb” or certain hours are quiet hours in the home. Whatever your plan is, communicate it to others to make your home office the perfect working space.

3. Paint the Walls a Color You Love

Color is an easy and effective way to boost your mood and productivity. As you will spend at least 40 hours a week in your office, take the time to choose a color that excites you each day. Colors can impact the way you think, behave, and perform, and the right color could have subtle effects on the overall success of your work.

4. Write with Nice Pens

While a Bic will get the job done, a nice pen makes taking notes a little bit better. While you can’t control the office supply purchasing at a brick-and-mortar office, you can control which supplies you stock in your home office. It’s your office, and you get to choose what products you use.

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5. Install Automated Lighting

With a growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use, millennials are increasingly connected to everything on their smart phone or tablet. Use smart technology in your new office by installing smart lights. If you connect these lights to your smartphone, you can change the hue and brightness of your lights while seated at your desk. Home automation features in your home office give you a better range of control over your workspace, ultimately leading to more productivity and progress at the end of the day.

6. Get a Delicious-smelling Candle

Purchase a candle with an aroma you can’t resist. A fresh scent is a great way to feel relaxed and focused throughout the day.  Because smell is associated with experience, you can choose a smell that reminds you of a have a happy time in order to boost your mood. While it’s a simple idea, a nice smell could make you more inclined to enjoy your work.

7. Install an Indoor Camera

Do you ever wonder how much time you spend working on legitimate projects versus how much time you spend surfing the internet each day? Consider installing an indoor camera in your home office. At the end of the business day, check the recorded feed and see how you actually spent your time. From the recordings, you can learn when you are most productive, what triggers sidetrack you, and how to avoid distractions in the future. An indoor camera can also come in handy if you want to check in on children or pets throughout the day without having to leave your office.

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Creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing home-office will help you increase productivity in your work day and career. Whether you remodel your entire office or add a few small fixtures to your desk, updating your home-office space is the perfect way to stay up-to-date with the other working millennial women.

Featured photo credit: Gabriel Beaudry via unsplash.com

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Sage Singleton

Outreach Strategist

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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