29 September 2015
Is it just me, or are we all waking up wishing there were a few more minutes in the day to get through our ‘To-Do’ lists? The goal, of course, is to complete as many of them as possible without feeling completely stressed out. Since time’s one thing we can’t get more of, we’ve got to use our minutes as efficiently as possible.
Productivity is a tricky thing, though. How do our minds work? How can we control when we feel ready to get our jobs done and when we inevitably end up slacking off? Our approach to each new workday can be unpredictable.
According to Forbes, it takes a lot of research to really understand what’s going on in the human brain. Ilya Pozin, founder of Ciplex, points out that sometimes we’re interested in tackling really meaty projects. On some days, we’re ready to be productive, but on others we’re derailed simply because social media is distracting or the temperature drops by a few degrees.
Every day when I get in to the office, I am faced with a number of these distractions. Fortunately, I have developed a number of “productivity hacks” which I use to ensure I remain as efficient as possible.
Learn to love lists
Track everything you need to accomplish in a list and check them off as you get them done. There are many free online tools that you can use such as Teux Deux, Trello and Asana which work great for individuals or team. Personally, I prefer old-fashioned pen and paper because I remember things better when I write them down. If you choose this method, it’s important to have a system to keep your notebook organised as your notes and to-do lists will easily mix together and become difficult to track.
Plan your week
At the end of each week, I bullet out the main things I accomplished “This Week” and the tasks I plan to accomplish “Next Week” and send it to my bosses along with a list of anything I need from them. I also ask my team members to do the same. It’s a quick way to summarise what’s been done and to build yourself a plan for next week so that you can hit the ground running Monday morning . It is also an easy way to ensure you and your team are aligned. A great web-based option for managing this process with your team is 15Five.
To blaze through your to-do lists, mark time in your calendar to accomplish a task, just as you would book time for a meeting. Once you’ve found dedicated time to complete your work, use a timer to count down 20 or 30 minute blocks of focused work time. I saved this 30 minute timer to my favourite’s toolbar and use it to help stay focused. You can also use the timers on your smartphone.
Do the little things
There are plenty of small changes you can make that can have a big impact. Make playlists of your favourite music – I love Spotify and 8Tracks for this. Put your phone in airplane mode or away in a safe place so it doesn’t distract. Pick certain times to check on email and social media, such as once an hour (or less frequently if you can get away with it!). Even the smallest improvement can have a profound effect on your productivity each day.
Take care of yourself
Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Getting enough sleep and exercising regularly give you the mental energy you need to tackle your day. That mental energy you need to complete tasks can also be recovered when you take regular breaks. According to this infographic on LifeHack.org, even a 30 second to 5 minute microbreak can increase your mental acuity by an average of 13%.
With summer just around the corner, businesses face the inevitable yearly challenge of balancing an influx of annual leave requests with keeping the company running at full capacity. Absence management is a vital, yet often overlooked part of running a business – get it wrong and the impact of summer holidays can last all year round.19 June 2019
I just don’t understand why organisations do not see the Living Wage, and I mean the Living Wage, NOT the government’s rebranded minimum wage (National Living Wage), as an *opportunity*. This is an opportunity to increase “engagement”, “efficiency” and to “empower” employees. Yet far too many organisations just see it as yet another cost they have to accommodate.1 February 2019
More than anything, this year’s data highlights the need for a new and more agile approach to HR. Conservative strategies simply aren’t going to cut it going forwards, because by the time the ink is dry, things will have moved on. Increasing business agility is now the #2 business driver for 86% of HR professionals, second only to increasing performance and profitability.28 November 2018
This article covers all aspects of T&A functionality ranging from how to create effective workload plans, building rosters, collecting and validating variable time information, implementing business and legislative validation, and finally ensuring correct payments to employees by integrating with an industry-leading payroll solution.
How do UK businesses tend to approach reward currently? Is there a shift in approach and if so, what is causing this?16 August 2018
How do UK businesses tend to approach reward currently? Is there a shift in approach and if so, what is causing this?14 August 2018
Most Human Resources departments work to maximise the bottom line of organisations, many HR professionals tackle this objective by focusing primarily on corporate health and wellness. The thinking here is fairly simple – if you can build a healthier workforce, they’re likely to be more productive each day, which ultimately translates to a more profitable business.20 March 2018
Improved productivity heads the list of the top 10 benefits of working from home. As more workers seek a greater work/life balance, working from home is becoming increasingly popular.9 March 2018
In our fast paced world, it can sometimes feel like people are out for themselves, chivalry is on the way out, and people say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ less and less. I find myself more often than not standing in front of till making a purchase, and when the transaction is complete I say ‘thank you’ but receive no response in return. I leave annoyed.27 November 2017
Traditionally in a relay, the fastest team member goes last, with the second fastest giving the team a good start at the front. The other two run or swim in the middle section of the race. A smooth baton changeover is usually seen as essential to a good race – and is often where it is won or lost.30 October 2017
“Stand still and the rest of the world will walk past you,” said Marc Woods, speaking in February 2017. However, doing nothing would have been very easy for this particular speaker. When Marc was aged 17, he was diagnosed with bone cancer and subsequently had his left leg amputated below the knee.23 October 2017
The payroll industry is fundamentally no different to any other in that success is typically delivered relevant to the quality of the individuals providing a service. As such, attracting and retaining the right people is critical. The job market has changed significantly over the last twenty years and the pace of change continues to be even faster. People displaying the right attitude and aptitude is appearing to be more important than those with just job skills and experience.23 October 2017
There was once a level of anxiety surrounding smart working and its impending implementation in the workplace. Once thought of as merely a fruitless buzzword, smart working has caused a lot of confusion due to its previously indefinite or unclear meaning. Surely we should all be working smart? And how exactly can you define ‘smart’?21 August 2017
There’s no real definition of part-time work in terms of hours. The definition just means fewer hours per week than a full-time job. But there’s still a stigma attached to part-time or flexible working. Flexible working is often associated with women returning to work after maternity leave or having to fit jobs around a school run or even working in low paid or low skilled professions. This view is a tad outdated to say the least.27 June 2017
Having a one-to-one with your team members is vital to ensuring they feel valued. They’ll have the chance to address their concerns to you and understand their place in the organisation a little more. Our Head of HR, Fiona McKee, shares top tips on how to coordinate a productive one-to-one meeting with your team members.16 May 2017
You will be aware that a great deal of our Employment Law is what we call “European law”. What will happen to those laws when we are no longer a member of the EU?20 March 2017
2017 is going to be both interesting & challenging. With Brexit and changing government leadership much is to be done and quickly. Now is the time for the business to come together and plan for change...2 March 2017
As the business world becomes ever more disparate and global, it comes as no surprise that managing payroll across multiple markets is presenting more challenges than ever before. To delve into the issues at hand, our SD Worx Global solution and services team recently conducted pan-European research to gauge a better understanding of the key payroll challenges impacting modern multinationals, as well as the changes that industry professionals want to see in the New Year.9 January 2017
2016 has been an eventful year, with lots of social and political change occurring around the world. Change, of course, can be a great thing – it can bring new perspective and a fresh outlook, something which also holds true in the context of business and HR. And with the New Year fast approaching, now is an opportune time to start planning.12 December 2016
Never before has it been more vital for businesses to optimise the ideas, strengths and skills of their entire workforce – and of others within their industry and beyond. Is it time for HR to become more proactive? Hear Doug's thoughts, MD of SD Wrox UK & Ireland, on HR and its role in the future of work.21 November 2016
For the world of business and more specifically HR, the Brexit vote has brought on a time of uncertainty. The momentous decision taken by the public on June 23 has left employers across the UK having to wrestle with a vast range of workforce-related issues.26 September 2016
The way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. The 6th April 2017 sees the introduction of a new employment tax on United Kingdom employers. Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland, each having their share of the levy, will have to decide how apprenticeship spending will take place. In this blog I cover some key points that employers should be considering in order to prepare for the upcoming changes...5 September 2016
As a union, the UK has voted to leave the European Union with some Scottish politicians hinting of a further independence referendum, and some in Northern Ireland wanting a joint Irish nation! At the same time, Job Centre Plus has run out of National Insurance numbers and in June 2016, decided in to start issuing NINOs with prefix ‘KC’ - but there is an issue with this...15 August 2016
With the result of the UK referendum to leave the European Union and indication by Scotland's first minister to run a further Devolution referendum, Simon Parsons considers the potential implications for the next few years for Scotland and Payroll services...8 August 2016
In the UK alone, there are 11 million households with pets, equating to 57 million animals and a subsequent market where £4.6b is spent annually on pampering these additions to our family units. Despite this; pet owners do not feel confident to use their pet as the reason for a need to take unexpected absence when requesting time off or for needing flexible working. So is it not time for us to recognise the benefits that pet ownership has on both our employees and our businesses, and put stronger policies in place that continue to nurture and support our employees’ relationships with their pets?1 August 2016
So the nation has chosen to progress leaving the EU with a popular vote of 52%. So what's changed, apart from volatility in currency and stock markets? And what major action do we see impacting payroll?26 July 2016
I recently attended a seminar in London with over 100 Talent Managers from some of the biggest brands in the UK. During this excellent seminar we looked at Talent Management processes and explored whether we need to rethink our approach for the modern world. This session provoked me to reflect on all the performance and talent systems I have seen, designed and implemented over the years. After reflecting on this I think the answer is a resounding YES! We do need to change, but not in the way you might think. So please allow me a few minutes to explain...18 July 2016
On 23rd June 2016, UK voters decided in favour of leaving the European Union (EU) in a landmark referendum. Since then it’s fair to say that UK politics has seen a fair amount of turmoil. One thing we can be sure of is that, whenever it does happen, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will have implications for workers and employers. In this blog I want to focus on what this could mean...11 July 2016
The National Living Wage (NLW) became compulsory for employees aged 25 and above, at a new minimum rate... Have you considered the implications and reviewed your maternity leave payments and made top-ups of SMP?27 June 2016
With the upcoming referendum later this month, which will decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union, UK businesses – employing EU workers – will need to contemplate how “Bexit” might potentially influence their future hiring, talent management and overall workforce management best practices. Currently, millions of highly skilled EU immigrants work in the UK. The following article examines a few possible scenarios and outcomes of Brexit and its potential impact to the UK – and increasingly global workforce. I will also review how human capital management technology can help businesses comply with the current and future new world of work.20 June 2016
April 2016 saw some of the most significant legal changes to impact payroll operations and software. I would venture that this year’s new changes have been some of the most impactful yet, more so than the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI). New requirements for Scotland including the Scottish Rate of Income Tax and changes to Earnings and Maintenance Arrestments. A revolution in national insurance with the removal of Contracting out and Under 25 Apprentice NICs being introduced. The list can go on.13 June 2016
Do you believe that above all else, the most important factor behind an employee’s engagement and productivity is their relationship with the direct supervisor? If you do, you’re not alone. Many believe that if people get along with their managers well, they’re likely to work well – it’s often as simple as that!1 June 2016
It is up to management to create a culture that fuels innovation, and there are some steps leadership should take to achieve that sort of workplace. Innovation doesn’t just happen. It is the result of the sort of office culture that idolizes a forward-thinking approach. New strategies and products are hard to come across in a workplace that doesn’t actively seek them. That sort of pro-innovation attitude is a top-down value. It is up to management to decide whether the company should be one that promotes innovative work.23 May 2016
Following the judgement of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (9th March 2016), the question of salary sacrifice and maternity rights has been thrown into question! Was HMRC errant in providing guidance? Are employers now off the hook with provision of non-cash benefits in kind during maternity?16 May 2016
Interview by FDE TV at HR Tech London 2016. David Woodward, our Chief Product & Marketing Officer, speaks with Darina Ivanova from FDE about HR and Payroll technologies, workforce optimisation and what it means to be "digital" from an enterprise level perspective.4 May 2016
I’ve been working in a software implementation environment for nearly 20 years ,and in that time I’ve seen many successful projects. Sadly I’ve also seen a number of less successful projects and if I were to pick a main cause for each of them the two recurring themes would undoubtedly be...25 April 2016
In my last two blogs I described how important a transparent labour model and flexible workforce are to the successful implementation of a WFM system. Today I want to focus on how such a system can help re-engage your workforce, improving morale and colleague retention.4 April 2016
In my last blog I described how keeping the labour model as simple and transparent as possible increases the chances of user buy-in whilst still generating an accurate labour forecast. Today I want to talk about how critical the flexibility of your workforce is to the successful implementation of a WFM system...14 March 2016
Our WFM System experts, describe how keeping the labour model simple and transparent could increases chances of user buy-in, whilst still generating an accurate labour forecast.15 February 2016
Before the advent of the internet, applying for jobs was a fairly straightforward process. Now, with an incredible amount of technology infused into the recruitment process, there’s an entirely new approach to talent acquisition. Here are 5 ways the resume is changing in modern recruitment...4 January 2016
HR professionals deal with a lot of challenges on a daily basis, but at the root of it, the primary goal is to maintain a high level employee retention and productivity. Read our top tips for improving employees’ productivity in the new year.21 December 2015
There can be numerous challenges to staying productive throughout December. Employees may not be working as much as they’re frequently taking time off around the holidays. They’re traveling all over the place, shopping and making plans with family and friends. They may also become stressed! Here are our top tips for reducing office stress during the holiday season.15 December 2015
As an HR leader, your assignment from day to day and from month to month is to maximise employee engagement, while increasing employee retention and productivity. Your company is investing a great deal in talent – and you want to make the most of that talent. So what makes us productive, and what doesn’t?30 November 2015
Many factors contribute to stress and overload in the workplace, including organisational change, demanding workloads, poor communication, and interpersonal conflicts among individuals or groups. Read our top tips on how to tackle these challenges...2 November 2015
Paying the living wage isn’t optional for survival, but neither should it be a problem. Lidl were the first supermarket to recognise the benefits of paying the living wage. Their stores may be no frills but their operation is efficient. Lidl’s customers, many deserting the likes of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s for all or some of their purchases, have clearly embraced the shopping experience...19 October 2015
Stress has an enormous effect on the workplace on a daily basis. If and when employees are feeling overworked, their negative attitude makes it very difficult for them to tackle everything on their plates. Check out our top tips on how to reduce stress in the office!12 October 2015
To celebrate National Work Life Week taking place this week, we share top tips on how to maintain a Work and Life balance. Read our NWLW15 blog and download infographic...16 September 2015
At all places of business, large and small, there's a growing expectation that HR's role is to increase employee retention and productivity. A productive workforce is the lifeblood of a successful company. If your employees are willing to stay in their positions and work hard, your business is more likely to make money.3 August 2015
Through HR and Marketing, you can promote internal success and employee achievement to greater extents. HR can pinpoint outstanding employee performance and Marketing can spread these positive actions through internal communication channels27 July 2015
Like many, I believe that HR and Marketing are, and will, continue to move closer and closer. This belief has been further accelerated by increased and dominating use of both social media and mobile.20 July 2015
We often hear about favouritism occurring in classrooms, amongst friends, or even families, but how about in the workplace?14 July 2015
A great deal of the conversation in human capital management concerns the on-going movement of generations through the workforce. There are two undeniable trends happening in the present day - one, the baby boomer generation is gradually moving into retirement, and two, millennials are entering the office in full force.24 June 2015
Every organisation experiences conflict in one form or another, not only in the workplace but in our homes and our social life. Honestly, it's bound to happen with people working and being together with different personalities, values and culture but actually in some situations conflict can be the base for a healthy debate. However, it's not so much the conflict that causes problems and issues but how it is managed.16 June 2015
The long-term goal in HR is always to drive employee retention and productivity upwards - you're given a staff with a certain number of employees on board, and your job is to maximise their output. You want every single worker under your roof to have the highest possible impact on the achievements of the company, so that in the long run, the business stays profitable and everyone's happy.20 May 2015
Andrew Strauss, the new director of cricket for the England & Wales Cricket Board this week announced that Kevin Pietersen would not be selected for England in the short-term due to "massive trust issues". This was after Pietersen scored a career best 355 not out for Surrey and a dismal run...14 May 2015
Everyone's talking about mindfulness right now, including the Mental Health Foundation as part of their Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 11th - 17th May, 2015. You may still be sceptical, but there's more and more evidence to support the art and practice of mindfulness, particularly in relation to mental health.12 May 2015