If you’re looking to improve your creative output then this list is for you. Some of these hints and tips may seem surprising, but give them a go and unleash your creative side.
Switching the brain on
1. A tired brain is more creative.
At first glance this seems very odd but allow me to explain! Creativity springs from allowing our minds to be free to wander and explore what may seem like unrelated thoughts. In contrast when we need to solve problems or be analytical our brain needs complete focus which can only be achieved when we are wide awake and at our optimum. A tired brain finds it difficult to filter distractions but creativity benefits from distractions and random thinking.
2. Exercise for creativity.
Exercise is good for us for a myriad of reasons and a recent study shows that it is beneficial for creativity.
“Sweat is like WD-40 for your mind-it lubricates the rusty hinges of your brain and makes your thinking more fluid. Exercise allows your conscious mind to access fresh ideas that are buried in your subconscious.”
Silence is useful for sharpening our focus but creative thinking thrives in ambient noise (think buzz of your favourite café), which promotes expansive thoughts and fresh ideas.
4. Creativity is not necessarily original.
Coming up with new ideas can be scary and put us under enormous pressure. Actually often generating new ideas comes from making connections between ideas that already exist.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Steve Jobs
5. Travel to promote creative thinking.
A study has shown that amongst a group of university students, those who travelled abroad rather than just staying on campus scored better on creative thinking tests. This could be explained because when we travel to different countries we experience different cultures and traditions which is bound to broaden our thinking.
Check out this research…which proves beyond reasonable doubt that having a messy desk can lead to more creative thinking! Wonderful news for a messy person like myself but perhaps not so with your hyper organised tidy boss, still at least you can legitimately argue the case for messiness now!
Be more time efficient – Stop trying to multi-task!
In order to prove just how time efficient and competent they are many people practice the art of multi-tasking. This often leads to outcomes that are the very opposite of what they were at the time. The majority will end up being less efficient and the quality of what the person has produced suffers. The truly time efficient know that concentrated focus on one project at a time yields faster and more satisfactory work.
Delegate delegate delegate!
If people bite off more than they can chew, productivity and efficiency take a huge hit. The uber efficient know when to delegate and who to delegate to in order to achieve the aims of the task in hand.
Good communication is key.
It is important before communicating to consider what the objectives are for the interaction and also to communicate effectively so that there is no confusion about the subject. For example before you send an e-mail consider how it can be worded to convey your intentions succinctly and politely. A little thought before you pick up the phone or hit send can save hours being lost if all you’ve achieved is to cause confusion or offence.
Structure your time.
In order to achieve a disciplined approach to your schedule create standard routines to stick to within each day. This will help you be ready for important events and gain control over projects. The more control you have over your schedule the easier it will be to cope with the unexpected when it arises. Control your time, don’t let it control you!
Organise your physical space.
Ensure that your workspace is organised and that everything has its place. Organisation is key if you want to avoid situations where you lose precious minutes every day trying to hunt down essential equipment for you to complete tasks. Spending time decluttering your desk and finding everything a home will save you significant time in the future.
Keep a productivity diary.
Try keeping a diary for a week which logs how long it takes you to do specific activities and also note down time that for whatever reason hasn’t been productive. Then the following week try to reduce time spent on similar activities, just being aware of what can potentially hold you back or distract you can yield large efficiency gains.
Do engage in downtime.
It is a fallacy to sacrifice your own leisure time in order to accomplish more at work. We know now that overly tired stressed out people are not as competent or efficient as their rested relaxed counterparts. A well-rested person will perform at their peak which is a win win for everyone.
Plan plan and plan some more.
When given a project many people in a bid to be efficient practise the art of impatience and completely fail to plan their objectives and how to tackle the task. Super-efficient people research the project and break it down into small steps in order to achieve success . This planning may require time at the beginning of a new assignment but it will be worth it to have clear objectives and a pathway to success clearly mapped out.
If returning to the office after the Christmas break left you full of dread and catapulted you back to feeling like a small child begrudgingly going back to school, then the 5 Workplace Resolutions list below is for you. Not only will it benefit you but also your colleagues around you.
KEEP CONTROL OF TECHNOLOGY
In this digital age of smart phones and tablets, it is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible for people to switch off and go incommunicado.
For many gone are the days when a person could leave their desk at the end of the day and not have to think about work until the next morning. As technology becomes more sophisticated the boundaries of work and personal life become ever more blurred, and expectations of companies for their employees to be ever available is on the rise.
Let this be the year when you reclaim your personal life and reset clear boundaries with your employer. If you must take your work home with you then let the times you do so be the exception not the rule. You will feel more energized and motivated within the workplace if you are able to enjoy a life outside of it.
MAXIMISE YOUR ANNUAL HOLIDAY ALLOWANCE
Still on the subject of work life balance, make the most of your holiday allowance, and by that I mean take every single day of holiday you are entitled to.
Too often people neglect to take time owed to them because they feel under so much stress from their work load they feel they cannot afford the time off.
Taking a holiday from work will help you be more productive when you return, as well rested refreshed employees will feel motivated and be more resilient to stress. Remember you’ve earned your holiday, so make the most of it and enjoy it!
Examine ways in which you can develop yourself and your role within the company. Research courses and training which would benefit your company but most importantly benefit you by building your confidence and skills which leads to greater job satisfaction and future prospects.
Be a positive force within your office; take the time to speak to your colleagues especially those you have never taken the time to get to know.
Give compliments and positive feedback to others. Listen to those around you and be proactive and constructive when solving problems. Fellow employees will respect and appreciate your positivity which in turn will contribute to a happier more cohesive workplace environment and better team work.
ENJOY YOUR LUNCH
If you are somebody who is forever chained to their desk and who has forgotten what a lunch-break is, take action to remedy this. It is hugely counterproductive no matter how heavy your workload to refuse to leave the office and have a break. This will only lead to stress and eventually burnout.
Even just a five minute walk in the fresh air can do wonders for your mood and on returning to work you will feel reinvigorated to carry on with your toils!
Try once a week to share your lunch-break with a colleague, leave the office and work behind and enjoy good food and conversation-you deserve it!
Hopefully these ideas will set you on happier path for the year ahead. Remember folks we work to live, not live to work!
It is of great importance to make sure that every single member of staff, no matter what their position can and will positively interact with any visiting customers. Employees should be friendly and polite and ready to offer assistance to a visitor if need be
A great receptionist
A receptionist will often be responsible for the first impression a customer will have of a business. It is therefore essential that your receptionist is a fantastic ambassador for the company. Ensure that he or she is an excellent communicator with good people skills and the ability to multi task. If for example your receptionist is on the phone when a visitor arrives it is important that they make eye contact, smile and can indicate that they will be with the customer ASAP
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Ensure that the office is clean and tidy, paying particular attention to anywhere that the visitor may have access to including toilet and kitchen facilities
Have high quality refreshments available for visitors. A high end coffee machine and water cooler that the customer can operate themselves in the reception area would be a brilliant idea
Have professionally designed (complimentary) stationery with your company logo that can be given to the customer to keep (notepads, jotters, pens etc.). As well as being a nice gesture, it will also keep your business at the forefront of their minds
Offices don’t have to be boring and sterile spaces. It is certainly possible to inject some colour and personality into your workplace whilst still remaining professional. Perhaps for example, you could incorporate colours from your brand identity into the office
Decide on a dress code within your company and stick to it. Employees at all times should adhere to the companies chosen dress code so that unexpected visitors always gain a good first impression
Space and layout
Modernise your layout and make the most of your space. Customers will be impressed by innovative technology which gives the impression that you are a forward thinking company. Avoid unnecessary clutter on desks and in the surrounding workspace which can be distracting and look unprofessional
Genuinely engage with customers through small talk so that they don’t feel they are yet again being schmoozed. Actively listen to what they are saying and if they offer small details about their lives be interested and remember to ask about for future meetings. For example they may mention a child of theirs or an approaching holiday somewhere. This shows that you view them not just as a potential business deal but as an actual person
Adding greenery to your office space, from reception to boardroom, enhances the environment both aesthetically and in terms of mood. By creating an inviting atmosphere, visitors will feel at ease and welcome from the moment they enter your office
Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.
Some of the early warning signs of dehydration include:
• feeling thirsty and lightheaded
• a dry mouth
• having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
• passing urine less often than usual
It is well known how dangerous and potentially life threatening severe dehydration can be, but what of the effects of mild dehydration? According to scientists the feeling of thirst that we all experience, is often an indication that our bodies are already becoming dehydrated. In fact a recent study concluded that even mild dehydration can affect our mood and ability to concentrate. Feelings of thirst, fatigue and irritability are subtle warnings from our body that fluid is needed to restore equilibrium and to stop further symptoms such as headaches and dizziness developing.
Adults should aim to drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily to keep us adequately hydrated, more if we are exercising. It is easy in the workplace when deadlines are looming and despite your best efforts your inbox refuses to shrink, to forget to do something as simple as have a drink. We often attribute fatigue, headaches and diminishing concentration in the office to pressure and stress, when actually we should be heading to the water cooler and nourishing our hardworking brains and bodies with that life sustaining substance, water!
So next time you start to feel those tell-tale signs, you know what to do!
In the UK 60% of the population drink just one glass or less of water a day, while only 1 in 250 of us are drinking enough water to function to our full potential.
Every one of us is made up of water, broken down our muscle mass consists of 75% water; our bones; 22%, while our blood is 83% water, and our brain consists of a staggering 90% water. To function properly and remain healthy we need to be hydrated. In return, we will benefit in both our personal and professional life.
Heightened mental alertness
Dehydration is, simply, what happens when the body loses more water than it takes in. By being as little as 2% under hydrated, cognitive ability, memory retention, mathematical skills, visual perception and reasoning, all diminish as an effect. Simply, even the slightest loss of water leads to poor mental alertness and negatively impacts productivity in the work place. So while lack of water leads to a reduction in awareness, problems with focus, and poor short-term memory, as well as other negative symptoms, a properly hydrated body and brain are able to function clearly, quickly, and perform to their full ability.
A more energy-efficient brain
According to a study conducted at King’s College London, as well as causing weakened mental alertness, dehydration also forces the brain to worker harder to achieve the same results. The study tested dehydrated teenagers against their hydrated counterparts, and found that the under hydrated subjects showed heightened activity in the brain’s frontal-parietal region during a problem solving task. Yet, despite that surge of brainpower, there was no improvement in brain performance. The concluding evidence; tasks literally seem harder. The dehydrated brain uses a greater source of energy to accomplish the same tasks.
A less fatigued workforce
As well as a reduced cognitive ability, at the price of an overworking brain, dehydration, even the smallest amount, can cause increased tiredness and fatigue. Lowered mental alertness and heightened fatigue do not bode well for a healthy and productive work day. A 2015 survey of 300 GPs found that one in five GP visits for tiredness often had dehydration as the root cause. While, only four per cent of the doctors surveyed said they believed patients were aware of how much water they should be drinking daily.
A happier workforce
When blood cells lose more water than they gain the result is fatigue, sluggishness, confusion and irritability. Dehydration in more extreme cases can lead to anxiety, tension and even depression. As well as drinking more water, small breaks throughout the workday also aid mood improvement. In fact, a small 15 second break every ten minutes when you’re staring at a screen for hours, can reduce fatigue by 50%. That could fit a slurp of water in at your desk.
While, according to another survey, 59% of people claim more breaks would actually improve their work happiness. That’s a lot of evidence that a break to hydrate throughout the workday could improve employee job satisfaction as well as improve productivity.
Relieved muscles and joints
Along with those mood and energy deficits, poor hydration can cause muscle and joint discomfort. The hydration you receive when you drink the amount of water your body needs helps lubricate and cushion joints. While, in a study of workers suffering forearm, wrist, and hand discomfort, taking a break for five minutes once every hour eliminated the pain. We suggest taking a short break to hydrate at the water machine once an hour to maximise comfort as well as energy and creativity. Although five minutes isn’t a huge amount of time, it should allow you to top up your water levels, give you a chance to rest your eyes, and stand and stretch. The simply action of reaching upwards drives oxygen to the brain and helps you feel more alert. While, a twenty-second break to rest your eyes can relive eye strain symptoms – try shifting your gaze 20 ft. away.
Headaches are a common symptom of hydration and a reason many employees take days off work. A dehydrated brain with low levels of water in the brain tissue causes shrinkage and the brain begins to pull away from the skull. As a result, pain receptors surrounding the brain are triggered, resulting in a headache. A lack of water also causes your blood volume to drop which, as a result lowers the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. As well as improving general health and preventing headaches, staying hydrated can even prevent more serious illnesses such as colon cancer. Less sick days are better for the business as well as the employees’ health, workload and stress levels.
Like most people, you are probably sedentary for most of your working hours. To help prevent stiff and sore muscles, take a break at least once an hour. Go for a short walk and grab yourself a refreshing cup of coffee, for example.
Is your office looking tired or are you searching for ways to shake up your workplace? From creating a visual impact to injecting a touch of inspiration, showing your office some TLC can reignite your team’s passion for productivity.
In today’s post, we’re shining the spotlight on some top tweeters that are guaranteed to get you excited about optimising your office space. Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you:
When it comes to creativity,Brit + Co have got you covered. With self-confessed ‘tech-nerd’ Brit Morin at its helm, this website is a treasure trove of inspiration – aiming to spark creativity among the masses.
If you’re looking for the ultimate influencer,Dezeen offers up a whole host of ideas. A staple of the architectural sphere, the online magazine is packed with design tips for those looking to shake up their office space.
Decoist is brimming with design ideas to help you overhaul your office interior. Taking inspiration from all around the world, this web magazine will set you on the path to creating a workspace you love.
Known for their extensive colour palette (and the huge shaggy dog), Dulux are a household name when it comes to decorating. Follow their twitter account for the latest tips and tricks from those in the know. ‘Let’s colour’!
From unique interior styling to bespoke home offices, Houzz is dedicated to helping its followers inject a touch of creativity into their design. Follow the creative professionals for any number of influential hints and tips.
Bringing their audience some of the most creative and unique office designs from around the world, Office Snapshots are passionate about the workplace. Follow these guys on twitter for all the visual inspiration you could ever need!
7. Paid to Exist
The most important piece of training equipment: your mind.
The 9-5 can sometimes be a slog, but at Paid to Exist – they’re firm believers in injecting some freedom into your working life. With the ‘merging of work and play’, Paid to Exist offers inspiring insights into a career without limits.
Motivation is top of the priority list for the guys over at Successories. Encouraging employers to put the focus back on their team, the website aims to help those in the professional sphere ramp up their recognition radar for increased productivity.
A respected and reliable resource in the world of HR, The HR Director covers everything from newsworthy updates to regular blog content from those in the industry – intent on helping businesses on their way to a profitable future.
10. Appreciation at Work
Instead of concerning yourself with the behavior of others, focus on what you can do to make sure you’re doing your job as well as you can. — Dr. Paul White (@drpaulwhite) September 4, 2015
Appreciation at Work strives to put employees back on the professional map by acknowledging their achievements. Packed with training advice and assessment incentives, the website keeps workforces inspired, motivated and on track to success.
The Staples brand is instantly recognisable as the kingpin of stationery suppliers – offering everything from paperclips to printers. So whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect office desk or fancy pitching up a workspace in your home, Staples are on hand to help.
Searching for office supplies as well as handy hints? Office Depot has everything you need to get your working life in order. Whether it’s a practical desk tidy or a reliable laptop, head over to their website to see what they can offer.
Whatever your industry, OfficeTeam is armed with an array of business solutions guaranteed to get you and your staff off to a flying start. Bringing with them years of industry expertise, OfficeTeam will help you and your staff set your standards high.
The Ian Smith group is all about providing a quality, hassle-free service to get you your stationery essentials as efficiently as possible. With 46 years of industry experience under their belts, these are the go-to guys for your office must-haves.
The office doesn’t have to be dull – and you can perk up the smallest of spaces with a touch of TLC. Head over to Velcro to find any number of ways to perk up your workspace by adding a splash of personality.
Loaded with facts and figures, hints and tips, the Glass Door blog is all about supporting employers and employees in their quest for the perfect career. If you’re looking for a helping hand up the job ladder, be sure to follow Glass Door on twitter.
Office* Show covers some hot topics as well as tricks of the trade. With their blog regularly featuring guest contributors and industry professionals, employers and employees alike can keep up to date with the goings on of the working world.
Chartered Managers Institute (CMI) keep success in their sights as they seek to assist employers with the growth of their team. Their blog is packed with thought-provoking questions intent on stimulating the minds of those thirsty for knowledge.
HR Zone are firm believers that knowledge is power – and through their informative blog, they bring their wealth of experience to one platform. Check out the blog for advice on how to improve your business’ HR needs.
Productivity in the workplace is the first step towards success – and at Regus UK, targeting the core of a business’ is key. From insightful webinars to individual case studies, Regus UK will help you on the path to simpler business solutions.
When it comes to what they do, Great Place to Work’s name speaks for itself. Helping businesses be better, the website is all about advising and supporting professionals in their industry – helping them squeeze every last drop of productivity from their working lives.
Providing a platform from which professionals can connect, Go to Meeting allows users to hold, attend and record meetings. Head over to their website to find out how group meetings could benefit your brand and propel you towards a more productive future.
Without the right tools to guide you, self-motivation can be an uphill battle – but with a little help from Motivation Grid, you and your team can thrive. Follow them on twitter for success stories, life hacks and snippets of motivational inspiration.
25. Start up Grind
“Entrepreneurship is the secret weapon behind improving the world” – Scott Cook @Intuit#tiptuesday
From team building to networking solutions, Startup Grind offers those in the professional sector information and advice on how to find funding, meet with other businesses and create valuable, long-lasting connections – check them out!
Armed with the experience of these unique influencers, get set to see your team’s productivity levels soar – and for your dose of daily inspiration, don’t forget to check out @eden_springs twitter account!
Lunchtime is the time of the working day that most people look forward to. Research commissioned by Lurpak to launch its new “go freestyle” campaign, however, reveals that 32% of UK office workers eat the same thing for lunch every day and have done so for more than four years!
This statistic is astonishing, as there are so many great lunch options out there. So what are Brits eating, day in day out?
Staying motivated in the workplace is no easy task. As the ritualistic routine of the 9-5 takes over, keeping motivated can be a challenge – and recognising the hard work of your employees can often take a back seat.
We’ve previously brought you some tips on how to reward your staff – and today, we’re recommending 5 apps that will help you recognise the efforts of your employees and show your appreciation.
1. Give a WOW – Android, iOS – Free
Give a WOW provides employers a platform from which they can recognise the achievements of their team and acknowledge any outstanding performances. The easy-to-use app encourages employer-to-employee engagement on a regular basis, allowing managers to take a timely approach to showing their appreciation.
2. Kudos Points – Android, iOS – Free
By providing employees with specialist employee recognition software, the Kudos Points app allows managers to breed a culture of support and encouragement across departments. From manager-to-employee recognition to peer-to-peer support, the app encourages an integrated support system designed to benefit the whole team.
3. iAppreciate – Android, iOS, Blackberry – Free
If sparking creativity and nurturing your employees is at the top of your priority list, the iAppreciate app will fit right in with your business. Whether it’s broadcasting their success on social media or providing them with a personal keepsake, recognising the hard work of your staff will show that they’re a valued member of the team and help to propel them forward in their career.
4. TINYpulse – Android, iOS – Free
The day to day office life can sometimes be a grind, but the TINYpulse app allows employers to inject some welcome relief into the work day. Communication is key in any successful business – and through the TINYpulse app, employees have an opportunity to fill in anonymous surveys and raise any issues or concerns they have.
5. Achievers – Android, iOS – Free
Whatever their position in the company or their level of expertise, every employee deserves to be acknowledged for their achievements. Dedicated to helping you provide your staff with rewards they actually want, the app allows your team to choose from dining experiences, pamper days and a whole host of other treats as part of their reward schemes. With Achievers, an ever-changing selection of rewards means there really is something for everyone in your team.
Making sure your employees are enthusiastic about their jobs is key to keeping them motivated – and with a little appreciation, you will see productivity levels soar. From appreciation gift tags to bringing in cakes on Fridays, there are any number of ways to reward your team.
If apps aren’t your thing, there are ways to reward your staff outside of smartphone tech. By investing in one of Eden Springs’ eco-friendly office coffee machines, you can show your appreciation and give your team access to a welcome boost throughout the working day.