By Michelle Kruse
One of the first expressions that I ever heard uttered was, “It’s just like riding a bike.” There is a lot of truth to those words — anyone who learned to ride a two-wheeler but then spends time without doing so believes that they could dust off that seat and start pedaling around the block with ease. That said, like most things, it’s not always so easy.
You might have to put your feet down a bit more than you remember. Maybe you can’t go as fast as your 10-year-old mind recalls, or maybe that once-sensational rush has been replaced by agonizing fear that you’ll accidentally ride off a cliff into an Evel Knievel experience… OK, maybe that’s just me.
The point is, after we’ve taken time off from anything, we get rusty. There are not many exceptions to this rule, and rejoining the workforce is definitely no different. For many people, especially mothers, a couple years out of the workforce can feel like an eternity. You’ve replaced the water cooler with the bottle warmer, hitting deadlines turns to hitting the diaper pail, and 5:01s become 5-in-the-mornings.
Own your own home-based business? If so, it can be said that Monday through Friday, your home office is your sanctuary. Whether you are a freelancing creative, customer service extraordinaire, or other small business owner, we have scoured the internet for the six best home offices.
But first, what does it take to have a great home office? Below are the five factors we took into consideration:
- Efficient Furniture
When it comes to your workspace, seating arrangements and desktop are key. Comfort should also come into play. After all, a home office is an extension of your home.
- Clutter-free Workspace
The general rule of thumb is if you don’t use it every day, it doesn’t need to be left out. Investing in simple, inexpensive storage that can keep your wires out of sight is a great hack.
- Stimulating Supplies
Experts say most companies give their employees small desk toys to stimulate creativity and production. A few toys may not only be whimsical touches but may also increase the effectiveness of your productivity and that of your workers.
- Natural Light
Good sources of light encourage energy and focus. Natural light is even better. It boosts your mood and helps your body adjust to a better sleep pattern when it comes time to turn in.
- Personal Touches
Whether it be adding an accent wall, artwork, or inspirational quotes – adding personal touches to your home office can enhance your motivation. The real fun of a home office is that YOU are in control of its interior design. Feng Shui away!
To view the images and see the complete list, read the full article on the Arise Home-Based Business Blog.
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The New York Times reports that average amount of space per office worker in North America dropped to 176 square feet in 2012, from 225 in 2010, and that real estate experts say there is no doubt that workers are being shoehorned into even less space. This means that everyone will get to hear those loud calls about how long your mother-in-law will be staying or why the $1,500 medical bill the collection agency insists you owe should really be covered by insurance, the paper says.
By Michelle Kruse
Having a child changes your life in a major way. And while many women will return to their current job following maternity leave, others may decide to seek a career that fits better with their new lifestyle. Between flexible hours and childcare options, a number of new factors come into play after adding a new member to your family.
Navigating this new reality can certainly be a challenge for moms, but it’s worth the obstacles if it means providing a better life for your family. If you’re unsure whether you should stay put or find something new, consider these five questions that might help you make a decision.
What can — and can’t — you afford to do? You may dream of staying home full-time or cutting back on your hours, or your new responsibilities may have you feeling anxious for a raise. Think about what a new family member really means for your finances, and consider that an important part of your decision-making process.
How much time are you expected to spend in the office? If you regularly worked 60-hour weeks pre-baby, it may be difficult to transition to a more moderate schedule when you return from maternity leave. And no matter how much of a workaholic you are, 60-hour weeks simply won’t work if you have any plans to see your child. On the other hand, if your superiors have been consistently flexible with your schedule, allowing you to work remotely on occasion and leave early every now and then, it could be a much better situation for your new life.
By Mary Lippitt
At first glance, exchanging information, meaning, and messages among team members appears deceptively simple. After all, you know each other and share common goals. Nonetheless, communication and misunderstanding often continue. The drive to get to the heart of the matter often has us make assumptions in order to quickly fill in the blanks. And these hasty conclusions tend to depend on a personal motivational filter, more than an open and rational analysis.
Effective communication takes analysis to understand what is being said, before trying to understand why it is being said. While working as a consultant with an executive team it became clear during a strategy meeting that the CEO and his staff were talking past each other. The staff viewed the new direction and rejection of current practices as an effort for him to make his mark. The CEO attributed the opposition to jealousy or collusion. He had only focused on why they resisted, instead of what facts and trends caused their objections.
I’m a planner by nature. I live by my calendar and often look ahead in six-month chunks of time. For me, six months might as well be six weeks, or, sometimes six days. Life moves fast and if you’re not paying attention, it can pass right on by you.
This is especially true when it comes to your career. If you don’t make plans and set goals, you’re likely to see very little career movement. So, where do you see your career in five years? 10? Where do you want to be when you reach retirement? Do you have a plan? Or, are you worried that your dreams are out of reach?
For a little inspiration, let’s consider the career of Joanne Martino, District Manager, Sodexo Corporate Client Segment.
Martino began her career more than 30 years ago as an hourly cashier/supervisor for Sodexo’s client Xerox. There, she “worked her way up through the ranks” to a District Manager, overseeing 18 locations with diverse teams and clients.
Martino’s success was no accident. Her determination and drive were the perfect catalysts to advance her career from an hourly employee into management. And, it was there, that Martino gained access to extensive professional development, including ongoing learning opportunities where she was able to sharpen her business skills.
When talking about her career path, Martino described how her managers recognized her abilities and encouraged her to become a leader. That action coupled with her inner-drive led her to feel like “the sky is the limit” at Sodexo, resulting in many personal and professional achievements.
One such achievement was becoming one of the founding members of Sodexo’s Disabilities Task Force, inspired by her brother Joey, a young man with Down Syndrome. The Task Force has since evolved into the employee business resource group SOAR – Sodexo Organization for disAbilities Resources.
Millennial women are passionate, optimistic and hard working. We know what we want, but we don’t always know how to get it. Sometimes, we don’t have the self-confidence or self-belief that we should. This can change. If you’re ready to take the next step, here are seven career tips compiled especially for you and the 30 million other millennial ladies who work every day of the week.
1. Mental preparation is the key to success in the office, in the gym and at home. Prepare to succeed by setting daily and weekly goals and by taking the time to plan your future. If you want to achieve big things, outline a number of smaller goals that will take you there.
2. Manage your time. First, learn how to prioritize. Second, create a daily to-do list and time outline. Budget for weekly meetings and time spent on office duties. Third, avoid time suckers. Set limits, and put these activities on the back burner until more important tasks are complete.
3. Read your way to success. According to bosses, many millennials don’t handle criticism well and have trouble managing impatience toward established workplace practices. Master these soft skills by reading the classics. “The One Minute Manager,” “Contact: The First Four Minutes,” “Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun” and “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” are all excellent books.