Category Archives: Work Life balance

Working From Home Will Establish a Different Kind of Business Landscape.

home working
working from home

London, Frankfurt, Paris, New York,  each of these huge global cities are related in that they are major nerve centres of creativity. These cities started to buzz for a reason: vital business meetings of national importance were taking place, Business owners and idea makers were putting their heads together to invent exciting new technologies, and go-getters met over flaming sambuca’s and expresso coffees to discuss startup ideas.  Now we all seem to be working from home in social isolation.

The physical setting really did matter; the bricks and mortar of a downtown office block and the in-person interaction that comes with that. Yet, in a step toward making distant work a lasting future, Facebook and Google, for example, told their staffs that they can work from home until July 2021. We know that the nature of jobs has changed into ‘digital by default’ so this is the result we might reasonably expect.

Indeed, a study by Google on distance workers found “no difference in the effectiveness, productivity ratings or promotions for individuals and teams whose work requires teamwork with coworkers around the world versus ‘Googlers’ who spend the majority of their daily collaborating with colleagues in the same office.”.

Nevertheless, some people might justifiably claim that staff working from home could potentially hinder product development and innovation. Tyler Cowen writing in Bloomberg said that “Even as tech companies grow more essential, the geographic distribution of company activity will also make them less unique. They’ll start to resemble a typical cross-section of the workforce, with all of the routines and bureaucracy that most other companies experience. They’ll have less fire in the belly to disrupt and overturn previous institutions.”

This is not a completely new trend. IBM, the pioneer of teleworking, eliminated nearly all of its office work years ago, and then released a report entitled “Challenging the modern myths of remote working, the evidence for the upside of teleworking.” Back in 2014, they boasted about their innovative modern business model with over 45 per cent of their employees working from home. But one also has to consider that WFH on a large scale can destroy the innovation hubs that have popped up in places like silicon valley or Shoreditch in East London.

silicon valley

Offices have been discarded for Discord Servers, Zoom, Slack Channels and the like. Over the last few months, multiple news sources have confirmed that people are forsaking from cities towards urban and rural areas. Could this Covid-19 pandemic really decentralize tech opportunities out of just a few hotspots, such as London and New York?.

These developments have huge ramifications for the global innovation landscape as a whole.  Here at hold Everything we see the future being mapped out before our eyes.  Large office suites are being rationalised into more compact meeting areas with employees working out from their homes.  The sprawling office of the past has turned into an agile set of services, call answering, mail forwarding and meeting rooms by the hour.

Nevertheless, to say that working from home will mark the end of innovation is an exaggeration. As per Raconteur and Professor Bernd Irlenbusch, who co-led a study titled Innovation and communication media in virtual teams: an experimental study, by the University of Cologne and Leibniz University Hannover, “Previous research has shown that creative performance is significantly lower when there is no face-to-face communication. However, the current lockdown has fostered the adoption of new technologies to conduct collaborative tasks when team members work from home. Video conferencing can mitigate the gap in creative performance.”.

virtual work

We will work remotely but human contact is part of our human makeup and we will need to set up new routines with augmented reality (such as social online meetings) that can be put in place to foster collaboration and more human-like meetings instead of solely relying on cold, unemotional Zoom meetings.

The most important takeaway that emerges is that working from home means that a new species of entrepreneur has emerged, and those who adapt quickest will be best-suited moving forward.  Hold Everything will be there to help with our fully serviced, totally agile, virtual office.

 

Working From Home With Kids – Survival Tips.

working from home with kids

 

In the course of our working week we speak to many clients who are adjusting to working at home with kids around.  What has become apparent is that most of them set the bar way too high.  I can assure you from having spoke to so many homeworkers that you need to be realistic in how you organise your time and your parenting.

It’s All About Survival

Now is the time to embrace what work-from-home parents discovered long ago– it’s not about winning the gold; it’s about aiming for the bronze. This is a perfect moment to finally recognise just how much you’ve been coached to perform parenting. To occupy those little minds with creative and imaginative games.  To turn out Nigella-style brownies and then to head into  Highgate Woods and make daisy chains or whatever it is you’ve been doing out there. YOU are NOT the ‘Domestic Goddess.’  You are just a parent working from home with kids.  It’s time to be basic.

Set a Realistic Schedule

The other day a Hold Everything client who has been homeschooling her kids for a more than a year explained it all to us. So now we can explain it all to you.

Depending on your kid’s age, the support their school is able to deliver, and what your kid can reasonably put up with or do on their own, make a basic, manageable schedule you all can follow (because it’s not only their schedule now, it’s yours, too). Bottom line: You are not an authentic school. Nobody expects you to be a real school. You are just a mum working from home with kids. The very best you can aim for is your kid having something a bit educational or enjoyable to do on the days you work. My homeschool “days” were more like a few hours. I repeat: This is not real school. You can’t replicate a real school. Stop trying.

Food, Water, Fresh Air

The most important items on that timetable, she explained,  are activities that seem incredibly boring but are unquestionably critical and somehow also easy to discontinue, she needed  to recognise that while she would ensure her kids were fed or they went outdoors to play she  would be having a cup of coffee for a meal while hunched over her monitor for hours at a time.  Then, not at all surprisingly she’d really lose her temper with her children by 11 a.m. or even earlier. You need to eat, drink and stretch your legs. Eating can be a sandwich, a drink can be water, outside time can be walking the dog  or a quick trip to the corner shop.. You might believe you can’t afford the time to do those 3 things, but as my client said, you really need to do them.

mum working from home with kids

Reboot Your Brain.

If you take away nothing else about this advice on working from home working from home (with or without kids) let it be this– your brain really needs breaks to work well. Our work experiences from the day we first set foot in an office is we should be grinding away in front of a screen in order to do our jobs well. But that is really nonsense..

We don’t understand that office jobs actually have some breaks included, even if they don’t feel like breaks. A colleague passes by to chat, you pop out to pick up lunch, even meetings take you away from having a constant focus. Working from home with kids we try to replicate what we believe is the nonstop focus we have at work (again: we don’t) and wonder why it doesn’t, well, work. It’s because it is not possible and bad for you. So rather than thinking of helping your kids or making them a snack as taking time away from your own work-related tasks, acknowledge these moments as brief breaks that will allow your brain to reset, and will eventually make your work time a bit more productive once you return to it.

All in the Same Boat.

If distance working from home with kids is a novelty for you then you’re benefiting from a time when so many others are experiencing more or less the same level of disruption. Everyone has kids peeping in on their video calls. Everyone’s dogs are barking loudly in the background. That’s what on/off buttons are for on webcams.   We all know work is going to suffer and parenting will  also be negatively affected we can’t escape from any of that.. There is no glittering prize waiting for us at the end of this.  On the plus side, you know that that you have the amazing support of the team at Hold Everything to help you through, to answer your phone and check your mail.  As all our clients know, we make working from home, with or without kids, a workable solution.

 

 

 

Can Mindfulness Be the Missing Ingredient in Your Business Plan?

We all feel stress at work and this can often be a good thing in pushing us forward, but constant stress can also drain your creative juices.  In this video we look at some tried and tested techniques for easing stress from your workplace and helping you boost your bottom line.   Practising meditation and mindfulness has never been easier with a large number of smartphone apps you can download and try out.  There are also many local groups of meditators that you could sign up with.

Enjoying time with family and friends is obviously a great way to shake off workplace anxieties and you should grab every opportunity to be with people who can nurture your life.  Nobody ends their life worrying about a sales target they didn’t reach or a product launch that was a few weeks late.  they are small problems in the greater picture.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your business stress is to ‘go virtual’ with a professionally run virtual office in one of London’s most prestigious areas – Regent Street, where all the big brands are like Apple corp who are our close neighbours.  We check and forward your business mail for you and answer and screen your business phone-calls so that wherever your business takes you you are always in touch with your clients.  So why not add our great business services into your stress reduction programme?

How to Survive A Hangover at Work

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street  we are in the heart of London’s thriving social scene, with Soho only a few steps away, trendy Mayfair behind the office and the City a short ride away on the train – seeing the end of day drinkers spilling onto the pavements is a daily event.

Many drink late into the night, wrapping up maybe some business deals or just enjoying colleagues outside of the working environment. But how many go into work hungover.

According to a daily mail report back in 2010, over half a million people are hungover at work each day , has the number increased in the past 9 years?

We have all been there, getting drunk on a school night but the question is how do you deal with a hangover the next day when you’re expected to be a functioning adult with responsibilities and a job to do? You could call in sick, but that doesn’t look great on your part, especially if your colleagues know you were out late (because perhaps they were with you at happy hour too), or your boss follows you on social media platforms or you could just do your best to pull yourself together and get yourself to the office.

The latter may seem near impossible but thousands of us have been there and done it, so fear not I have put together a guide for you for surviving your work day.

Tip No.1 – Survival of the commute

Ensure you bring a big bottle of water to hydrate you during your commute, especially if you take public transportation to work and make sure you have your headphones so you can listen to music, this can help distract you from feeling nauseous, in fact it is proven that listening to your favourite songs can help to relive that sick feeling and a number of studies claim that music can improve your mood, reduce stress and decrease anxiety all symptoms of which a hungover can provide you with!

If you drive to work you should reconsider and grab a taxi, the effects of alcohol the next day can weaken your cognition, which results in hungover/drunk driving this is illegal – so please grab a ride from a friend or family member, go on public transport or as mentioned take taxi this is so much safer and LEGAL.

Tip No.2 – Staying awake in that morning meeting

Right you’ve made it into the office – the lights are particularly bright this morning worsening your headache and everyone and everything seems nosier than usual and to make it worse you have a morning meeting to attend, you ask yourself how am I going to get through this?!

In a hungover state it is quite difficult to be positive but remember whether your hungover or not research suggests most people dread early morning meetings, so you are not alone. So, to get through this chore, stick it out find solace in knowing you’re not alone in wishing you were any place else where, bring your notepad and a pen to jot down notes that your hungover memory won’t remember.

Tip No.3 – Keep focused with food

OK, you’ve made it through the meeting but now you have another seven hours or so ahead of you. You need to eat a hearty breakfast to help get your brain back working so unfortunately a greasy fry up or McDonald’s is off the cards (sorry!). A few foods that can help that hangover:

1.Banana Smoothie/Fruit Smoothie/Vegetable Smoothie – packed with nutrients to help you feel replenished.

2.Bacon and Egg sandwich – a variation of a fry up – the bacon and eggs will help to kick start your metabolism for the day and the vitamin B in the bread will help to boost your energy, this will also fill you up.

3.So, we ruled out the McDonald’s breakfast, but I get it: who wants to eat healthy when you’re hungover, a compromise on this is French toast with honey and any nutritious type of topping such as avocado/bacon etc. Did you know the honey helps to break down any alcohol left in your system and one study found that in 50 adults honey increased the rate of alcohol eliminate by up to 32.4 percent!

4.Make sure you are keeping yourself hydrated, drink water and lots of it.

Tip No.4 – Making it past lunchtime

Congratulations you made it through the morning its now lunchtime. Take yourself on a walk to get some fresh air, and make sure you have lunch.

Once again, you’re probably going to want to have an unhealthy lunch or even get to the point in your hangover where you feel like you can’t eat but eating your greens can really help replenish tons of nutrients, have a vitamin packed wrap or sandwich that is going to help fight your hangover. Include a fruit salad into your lunch, all fruit has a high-water content which will help re-hydrate your body (especially watermelon).

Finally – the home stretch  

Once lunch time is over you only have a few hours left of the day – however this may feel like the toughest time of the day to survive, your exhausted and just want your bed, you are also probably counting down the clock. Stop looking at clock it won’t make time go faster so make yourself a coffee and have a mid-afternoon snack with some sugar to help raise those energy levels.

Do what you can to remain productive but If you can’t focus on your work get on with some simple tasks such as tiding your desk/ responding to those emails that have been cluttering your inbox, occupy yourself with small jobs that will pass the time and make tomorrow easier for yourself otherwise by trying to proceed with high importance tasks in an unfocused state will risk your performance.

So in conclusion, as an employee think before your drink too much knowing you have work the next day, or make sure you use this survival guide to get through your hungover work day.

Your 2019 New Year’s Resolution Guide

Welcome back to reality! Everyone at Hold Everything the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street hopes you had a great Christmas and New Year.

 

For many our New Year’s Resolutions have been put into play and by centering our resolutions on our career goals is a brilliant and positive way to start 2019. 

To help you achieve and hit your targets we have put together some helpful tips and pointers to ensure this is your best year yet.

  1. Be More Efficient-
    This one seems obvious at first. But of course working more efficiently will help you to achieve your goals at work but working with efficacy involves more than simply working quickly.

Plan out your day, set specific targets and deadlines per task, prioritise your work, and learn to delegate- all of these will help improve the way you work.

  1. Spend Less Time On Routine Tasks-

You can often spend as much as half of your workday on unproductive tasks such as routine email communication.  How about trying a new time management strategy like batching and see how it affects your productivity (in a good way). A helpful tip, when working with others instead of long, time-consuming emails how about a quick video chat or phone call.

  1. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone-
    Really make a conscious effort to push yourself professionally this year. By pushing yourself this could range from speaking to your boss or manager about taking on more responsibility, to making the decision to leave your current role and search for something more challenging.

Do something your future self will thank you for!

  1. Carry On Learning-

An article in Forbes says it’s more important than ever to keep learning at work. This is because chances are that in the future you’ll need to know about new technology and different skills to continue to meet your career goals.

To obtain new skills you can take short courses or even learn from your colleagues who possess the knowledge you’d like to have.

  1. Look After Yourself-
    This is one of the main things we all neglect, while we dish out advice to others and between our work, home and social responsibilities we forget to look after ourselves. Be mindful of your mental state and maintaining your health and energy levels by keeping a regular sleeping pattern and eating well.
    You can try practicing good sleep patterns by switching off your laptop/tablet etc at least 45 minutes before bedtime. You’ll sleep better for it!
  2. Be Known- Raise Your Profile-
    Never underestimate the power of networking, it can be daunting especially if you are new to it but If you’re working in an industry that has lots of events, try to attend as many of them as possible and have a conversation with at least two people you don’t know. You never know who you will meet!
    Your online presence is also very important, ensure you are active on LinkedIn or Twitter (depending on your industry). Being well connected makes you an asset to employers, and shows that you are interested and engaged with your industry.
  3. Utilising Your Talents-

Your career progression is all about your professional development. Look out for courses/seminars that will enable you to advance and improve your professional skills. You could be unsure of what your skills are…try asking a friend, or a colleague that you have a bond with to list 5 things that they think you do well. This will give you a little confident boost in the right direction.

  1. Set Your Own Assessment –
    Majority of companies will hold assessments or employee reviews to evaluate progress and set new goals for the next few months. But if you have a resolution that you are serious about sticking to, schedule an “assessment” with yourself. Set yourself a time and date to sit down and evaluate the progress you have made so far and identify the key objectives of the next few months. By doing this it establishes a sense of accountability, which is important for self-motivation and discipline.
  2. Step AWAY From The Screen-

The screen means your computer, your phone, your tablet, your laptop even your TV. Take a step back from technology; take yourself on a 5 minute walk to get some fresh air. Not only does this let your brain switch off from your work world but allows you some space to breathe and relax.

  1. HAVE FUN!!-
    The number 1 rule, do not forget to have fun and make sure you’re happy. Try not to get so bogged down in making plans and setting goals that you forget to enjoy yourself along the way!

 

What happens if you don’t have a work-related New Year’s Resolution?

Then that is absolutely fine, but it’s a good idea to have something to work towards and an image of what you want to achieve as goals are KEY to building a successful career- just remember regardless of what success means to you (it could mean making lots of money or maybe getting home with enough time to spend with your family)!

Good luck for 2019.