Tag Archives | work

5 Reasons Employees Love ‘BYOD’

Bring your own device

Photo by EigenmannZaak on pixabay.com

Most employers can’t keep up with changing technology as easily as their workforce can, so adopting a “bring your own device” policy is common for businesses these days. It allows employees to do work on their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones instead of company-issued equipment.

The widespread adoption of BYOD (bring your own device) to work has changed the nature of how connected we are — or are expected to be — in an office setting.

As our availability shifts, so do expectations that we should be more connected to work 24-7. Employees don’t even seem to mind this as they’d rather use their own devices for business purposes than unfamiliar work-issued equipment. Why? Here are five reasons.

Work & Play

The line between work life and personal life can be pretty blurry sometimes. Whether we like it or not, our smartphones connect us to both personal and professional endeavors. Many of us embrace the blurriness because it’s all part of “life,” and we tend to spend most of our waking hours on work related stuff anyway, whether at home or in an office. But it can be intrusive if you let it, which is why striking a balance may be necessary. Versatile business devices, for example, separate business apps from personal apps so you can use your device for both work and play. It beats having two separate phones.

“Considering 20 percent of the 1,500 job seekers surveyed by FlexJobs last year would take a cut in pay for more flexible work options, the BYOD trend is necessary to creating more work-life balance,” states an article on Entrepreneur’s site. “Not to mention, working from devices that employees are already familiar and comfortable with can help them complete tasks quickly and efficiently.”

Efficiency Queens & Kings

Instead of learning how to use computers or technology you’re not familiar with, it’s easier to stick with what you know as it saves time. When companies allow you to use your own mobile device, they are basically letting you choose the tool you see most useful to get the job done. Just imagine if a painter couldn’t pick his own brushes or if a mechanic couldn’t use her own tools. Similar philosophy, right?

Keep the Talent

Millennials and creative types especially like flexibility in the workplace because they often work outside of the 9-to-5 office paradigm. BYOD is a good recruitment and retention tool as many tech-savvy workers see their personal devices as an employee benefit. They can work either in the office or at home on the weekends and evenings with more fluidity than switching between devices. BYOD is particularly important for tech-heavy jobs like graphic design, UX design and programming because different operating systems support different products.

Expanded job titles

Speaking of creative types, our super mobile society has widened the job possibilities endlessly. In the marketing field in particular, technology is transforming the old marketing landscape with new career opportunities in a huge range of content channels. If you’re in marketing, you could actually help companies look at gaps in the their marketing plans and offer skills that will help a potential new employer step up their game and separate themselves from the competition.

Morale Booster

Even though the employee is usually the one who ends up paying to use their own equipment, which doesn’t seem that enticing on the surface, there’s still a sense of freedom or independence associated with being able to use your own device. Sometimes it’s the simple things that encourage employees to stay with a company, especially if the employer actually pays for the device of your choice.

This article was contributed by guest author Devin Morrissey.

0

How To Successfully Pitch Ideas To Your Boss

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

When you consider yourself to be an ambitious professional, you’re probably looking at everything you can bring to the table at your current workplace. Being able to provide more than your coworkers can help you climb the ranks within your company by proving your value. The fear of rejection might make you hesitate in pitching your ideas, but if you approach your pitch with the right strategy, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Consider the Value of the Idea

If your idea is really only half an idea, you’re not in a position to make your pitch. You need to be able to answer a few questions: Does this idea solve a problem? Is this idea profitable? Is there an easier alternative to my idea? How will my idea be implemented?

If you have answers to all of those questions, you have an idea that’s ready to be pitched. If it isn’t, you’ll need to find answers or modify your idea in order to satisfy the criteria. When you bring it to your boss, your boss will see and understand that you’ve developed a clear vision.

Show How Your Idea is an Innovation

In order to provide value, your idea needs to be innovative. You should develop a concept that moves up, rather than across. If it doesn’t make a huge change above a current process, product, or service, it may not be worthwhile to pursue that idea. Be prepared to present the full scope of what changes with your idea. You’re selling this idea, which means you need to make it attractive to your boss. Your emphasis should be placed on “better”, rather than “different.”

Compare Your Ideas With Your Competitor

Everyone in business is looking to be more competitive. If your idea will help you successfully compete, it’s automatically more attractive. It’s time to start researching what your competitors are doing and analyze your ideas against theirs. Will your idea give you an advantage that could lead to a larger share of your market? Will it bring you into the future to keep your competitors from overshadowing you? The best pitches place an emphasis on one-upping the people you’re going head to head with.

Come with Paper

Words can be interpreted in many different ways, but numbers don’t lie. Prepare the facts and figures ahead of time to support your idea. If you already know how the idea would be implemented, pitch it with that plan. If you can put together the package deal and put it all into writing, your boss will have all of the information he or she needs in order to give your idea the serious consideration it deserves. Even if you don’t get a decision right away, having the documentation keeps your idea on the table.

Be Open to Feedback and Criticism

Your boss might like some parts of your idea and dislike others. It’s important that you don’t take it personally. Instead, use this as the perfect opportunity to show your boss how receptive you can be. You might need to modify your idea in order to satisfy the concerns of your boss, and that’s fine. It’s collaboration, and welcoming another perspective can help your idea become better. If you can’t work out the kinks, you can always come up with a new idea.

It’s important that you don’t stop pitching just because your first pitch didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Trial and error is how innovators are born, and if your boss sees that potential in you, that might mean even more than getting the credit for the next big thing to happen in your workplace.

This article was contributed by guest author Camilla Dabney.

 

0

Balancing Work and College: 5 Valuable Tips for Students

Image by Startup Stock Photos, pexels.com

There’s no denying it. College is expensive. For most students, it’s not feasible to put work on hold for four years just to earn a degree. Even if you could get by without extra income, working during your time at college is a great way to help shape your career trajectory, build a professional network, and even help you decide what classes will be most valuable for you.

But working while studying can also be risky. How do you balance the demands of the classes you’re paying for with the requirements of the job that’s paying you? What kind of jobs for students are available, and what should you be looking for in a student job? Here are some tips and tricks for striking just the right balance.

1. Know Your Limits

Earning a college degree is important, because it increases your chances of landing a high-paying job and building a successful career down the line. In order to pay for college, there is no doubt that you must take up a job as soon as possible. However, if you’ve just arrived on campus for the first time, now is probably not the best time to be looking for a job. Take some time to get acclimated to your new schedule and figure out the demands of your class load.

Not only will this keep your stress levels from getting too high—no one wants eight hours of homework to complete after a shift at work—but prospective employers will appreciate your forethought when you come to them knowing exactly when you aren’t available, and when you may need extra time for exams or other class obligations.

2. Make It Count

The transition from high school to college can be tricky. All of a sudden, you’ve gone from learning facts and figures to building the skills you’re going to need in the workplace…and you may not have any idea what kind of workplace you’re looking for yet! While there are probably plenty of jobs for students right on campus—great when you’re short on time or unable to commute—it’s also a good idea to use your student employment to examine different career paths.

Many highly successful professionals, from Anderson Cooper to Steve Jobs, explored a variety of career options through student jobs and internships. Some ended up pursuing those first jobs further, while others realized they were better suited to other paths. Use your own student job to explore!

3. Mentors Matter

One of the most valuable aspects of a student job is the opportunity for mentoring. Working professionals have so much to offer students just getting their feet wet, and many are eager for the opportunity to share.

Once you have an idea of what kind of field you want to work in and are pursuing related job opportunities and internships, be sure to ask questions about whether there’s an existing structure in place for mentorship, or whether you would have the opportunity to work closely with more senior professionals to get a sense of what the work is really like.

Meet with different potential mentors and try to determine who can support and challenge you as you learn and grow.

4. Be Upfront with Your Employer

It may be only a “college job,” but remember that your boss can either be a great reference or an awkward topic to discuss with your next employer. Always be honest with your employer. If you know you’re only going to be available during the school year and not during the summer, that should come up during your interview.

If your class schedule for the next semester changes and you’re unable to pick up as many hours, it’s better to let your boss know right away rather than have to revise the schedule later, or, even worse, missing shifts or turning up late.

Keep in mind that not all employers are flexible, especially if they don’t frequently hire students. Be sure to discuss issues like this during the hiring process. If an employer isn’t willing to occasionally work with you for things like exams or lab times, it might be best to keep looking.

5. Be Professional

All too often, students fall into the habit of thinking of their work as “just a student job,” something to kill time and make a little extra money while waiting to start their “real job.”

The truth is, however, that your student job is practice for the real world. The habits you develop now are the ones that will follow you throughout your professional career, so if you flout dress codes, turn up late, and forget to call in, not only will it result in a bad reference, but they’re habits that will be hard to break once you finally land that “real job.”

Conclusion

Ready to start submitting applications? Your first stop should be your school’s career counseling or professional development center. They’ll likely have extensive lists of jobs for students, as well as internships and career mentoring opportunities.

They can also help you hone your resume or curriculum vitae and practice your interviewing techniques. With a bit of searching and a little luck, you’ll find a student job that not only helps pay the bills, but also gives you a toehold in your career long before you graduate!

This article was contributed by guest author Amanda Wilks.

 

0

Out of College: How to Stay Productive at Work

Image by Annie Spratt, unsplash.com

Starting a new 9-5 job can be overwhelming; how do people go to the same job, every day, for 40 hours a week? It’s all too easy for monotony to set in and make you wish you never started your job in the first place. With all the stress, other people who think they know best, and doing the same thing every day, losing motivation is basically a guarantee. But it doesn’t mean that there is nothing we can do about it. By making a few simple changes, you can make your job exciting and start looking forward to future tasks once again. Here is how I did it and the tips I picked up along the way:

Get things done
Try to focus on all the tasks you have at hand and go at them with everything you’ve got. There must be a reason why you started your job in the first place, and by passionately accomplishing your tasks, you will be able to find that flame inside of you and fall in love with your job again.

Stay organized
It is no secret that people are more productive when they work in an organized environment. You should be able to easily find anything you need to get the job done and keeping your workspace tidy will put you in the right mindset every day when you get to work. So even if things get cluttered during the day, try to always tidy up before leaving the office. Physical space isn’t the only thing that should be neat: if you are working on your computer, sort out all of your files, declutter your desktop, delete any unnecessary notes, reply to or archive all emails and set yourself up for success the next day. Make sure you always have a pen and paper to write down some ideas and that you can access answers to any question related to your work.

Learn how to deal with coworkers
Very few people have the opportunity to work completely on their own, but there is a good reason why people usually work in groups: having someone with a different skill set than you or someone you can bounce ideas off of is a great way to boost your productivity. But how do you deal with the other ones; he ones who really just won’t let you work in peace? The golden rule is: just nod and carry on. Trying to argue with someone who has a different opinion than you will only take time from your day that could have been spent in a much better way, especially if you feel like the discussion wouldn’t give productive results.

Be in a productive environment
Whether that means being surrounded by a team of hardworking people, putting up motivational posters, or working in complete silence, a productive environment is something we should strive to achieve. When my company was moving offices, we consulted experts in office interiors to make sure that we were getting most out of the environment. For us specifically, it was important to have a relaxed, yet hard-working environment with plenty of space for large meetings. For your offices, it might mean making sure that everyone has enough workspace to do what they need to, or that they are in an environment that stimulates creativity. Opt for comfortable chairs and desks, simple but effective rugs, big space, and air conditioning to create a great business environment.

No matter how long you’ve been working at your job, or how long you plan to stay there, being productive throughout the day is important, mostly because it keeps your brain working and gives your life direction. If you ever feel like you completely lost your passion, or you are not sure why you are doing what you are doing, try to remember why you first started, or what your favorite part of the job is – or even see if you might be better off switching to a different position with new challenges.

This article was contributed by Emma Joyce.

0

Is a “Work from Home” Culture Right for You?

Image by Betta Living, Flickr

Image by Betta Living, Flickr

Times have changed. Some companies (mostly younger or entrepreneurial) have begun transitioning from in-office work to work from home cultures, and while at first this may seem to be an ideal, how-can-you-pass-this-up, I-must-work-there opportunity, take a bit of time to think about whether this culture would really match your personality, and ask the questions you need to know.

Working from home is still a fairly new trend, and with that comes a huge stigma that employees who work from home are not really working – they’re lazing around, watching TV, napping, and running errands. Some employers have the mentality that if they can’t see their employees working, they aren’t – and that puts added pressure on the people who do work from home to prove themselves.

So let’s talk about this:

Pros

Cons

  • Save time with no commute
  • Save money with no commute, by making lunch and coffee at home
  • Have productive lunch breaks by working out, shopping, or prepping for dinner
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Work where you want to (no stuffy cubicles)
  • If you have a laptop, option to work from a coffee shop/library
  • Enjoy peace and quiet with no office drama
  • No face-to-face meetings
  • No in-office, professional experience
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Must keep yourself motivated and limit distractions
  • Pressure to be proactive to show employers you’re not just doing the minimum
  • Expense reports (if you’re required to use your personal cell phone at home for work calls)
  • Employers must be trusting
  • If other employees work in the office, must make sure there is no resentment

When I first started my job, I worked in the office five days a week. Now, I work remotely 80% of the time. For my company, it came down to trust. Was I accessible when they instant messaged? Did I respond to emails in a timely manner? Was I available for calls? Was work completed by deadlines? Was I proactive instead of reactive in projects? It was a slow process but has become common for all of us to work remotely a few days a week. This results in a great work-life balance, and there is no resentment among employees if some are in the office and others are remote.

If we need to have an internal company meeting, many times these can be accomplished via conference call. Working late is easier when you’re remote, as there are no issues with catching a train or bus. However, those one to two days a week where everyone is in the office, we take advantage of the face time. It’s often easier to make decisions or explain issues in person.

When deciding if you want to work for a company with this culture, it all comes down to personal preference. I’m a huge advocate of working from home if the employee has the right attitude about it. My commute into the office is just under two hours, includes a bus, a subway, and a streetcar, and costs about $12 per day. By working from home, I get two hours of extra sleep in the morning, am able to fit in a workout before dinner, and drink less coffee. It can get lonely with no social interaction, but for my personality, this isn’t an issue – I’m happy with a quiet atmosphere. If it does get too quiet, I’ll play some music or use my lunch hour to go for a walk, shop, or schedule an appointment.

Most importantly, working from home makes me feel empowered. I’m trusted to do my own work on time and manage my schedule the way it makes sense for me. Feeling empowered makes me motivated to do a better job, which makes me a happy employee – and my employer a happy boss.

That being said, just because this culture fits my lifestyle doesn’t mean it’s right for you. If you’re worried about resisting the TV or craving a social atmosphere, you may prefer to be in the office. You must be self-motivated to work from home, and you must be able to build up the trust of your employer. Working from home is still working – remember, it’s not time off and not something to take advantage of.