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It’s finally summer! The sun is out and you’re miles away from the office with a drink in your hand.

Ping! What’s that? It’s your coworkers messaging you because the most important project of the year is about to launch while you’re on vacation and they need something ASAP.

Sound familiar? It probably does to your team. About 63% of Americans will take six or more vacation days this summer, according to our 2018 Summer Productivity Report. However, 34% say they plan to work or be available during their time off. Additionally, 32% of people who work on vacation say it’s because they “enjoy vacation better” if they know things are running smoothly at work. And not even half of respondents say they’re ready to return to work once vacation is over.

Got a second? Download the full report here

Every employee needs time off the grid. Studies show overwork leads to health problems like insomnia and depression. In turn, these issues impact workers’ ability to focus, innovate, and perform.

So how do you prevent employee burnout and ensure your team gets the time off they so desperately need, while not missing a beat with relentless work needs?

The secret is in the planning. Preparing your team for a relaxing, disconnected vacation will help folks return to work with a fresh mindset (and a great tan!). Instead of feeling the pressure to “check in” for work when they should be “checked out” on vacation, let’s explore other ways your team can remain unplugged and un-bugged while on vacation.

1. Appoint a Go-To

As soon as a team member requests PTO, appoint another team member to act as their backup while they’re away. Announce the game plan to the team and clients ahead of time so they’re kept in the loop.

“This person should be able to hold down the fort for you while you’re gone—and you can do the same when he or she takes a vacation,” Mary Hladio, workplace expert and President of Ember Carriers Leadership group told Forbes. “Your second-in-command should take notes for you at important meetings, handle urgent calls or emails if you cannot be reached, and make decisions or answer questions on your behalf.”

Appointing a go-to keeps work on track while project owners are away. It also provides a smooth transition for vacationing team members and gives them the confidence to enjoy their well-deserved time off! 

2. Communicate Constantly

Announcing upcoming PTO to the team well in advance is always a good idea, but be prepared for it go in one ear and out the other. Consistently remind your team they’ll be down a head, especially when discussing upcoming deadlines and workload. This will help with planning and distributing upcoming projects and tasks.

Don’t have time to juggle PTO reminders? Afraid scheduled time might slip through the cracks? Build a vacation calendar that allows you to assign and log vacation approvals. Review this calendar during weekly team meetings, and make sure it’s easily accessible to the entire group.

3. Ensure Visibility Into Your Team’s Work

Unwelcome pings start where team visibility ends. Out of office team members will be interrupted if others can’t find what they need and know their vacationing colleague holds the key.

Adopt a reliable work management solution to serve as a single source of truth for all project-related information. Integrations with other tools your team uses, like Gmail and Slack, help to further centralize key information. Features like easily navigable folder structures and robust search functionality ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

Having a single source of truth for the entire team also makes it easy for vacationing team members to ensure project details are up-to-date and accurate before they set their away message. Those left behind will have everything they need up front—no last-minute pings required.

Stop getting bothered on vacation. Add your projects to Wrike!

4. Make Sure They Tie Up Loose Ends

Although you’ve appointed other people to cover in their absence, have vacationing team members complete as much work as possible before they sail off into the sunset. Any unanswered emails, pending approvals, or open action items in their queue should be closed out or marked with a clear status.

Most work management solutions make it easy to see which tasks have been completed or are still in progress. Leverage custom workflow statuses like “In Review” or “Waiting for Others” to clearly annotate project stages and track tasks at a high level. This makes it easy for vacationers to pick up where they left off when they return and jumpstart team collaboration. It also helps appointed go-tos better manage any next steps.

5. Plan For Their Return

Don’t make returning to work harder than it needs to be. Give post-PTO workers plenty of time to catch up, and try not to schedule any tight deadlines immediately following their return. Instruct go tos to handle any urgent requests that come up during vacationers’ first day or two back in the office.

Have traveling team members put together a brief overview of items that will need their immediate attention after vacation. This strategy not only gives them a clear direction when they return, but also helps them focus on rest and relaxation instead of keeping mental to-do lists while they’re on vacation.

6. Lead By Example

Practice what you preach: If you pack your laptop on vacation, expect your team to do the same. According to our survey, 45% of millennials agree to working on vacation if their boss does.

If you’re worried about the volcano of emails erupting in your inbox while you’re away, follow in the footsteps of Foundry Group’s managing director, Brad Feld. He sets an away message to tell recipients exactly what will happen to their message while he’s off the grid:

I will not be reading this email. When I return, I’m archiving everything and starting with an empty inbox.

If this is urgent and needs to be dealt with by someone before 12/8, please send it to my assistant Mary (mary@foundrygroup.com). She’ll make sure it gets to the right person.

If you want me to see it, please send it again after 12/8.

Sound too complicated? Maybe it’s time for you to break up with email altogether.

Wind Up to Wind Down

Vacation shouldn’t be stressful for your team. Everyone needs (and deserves!) R&R. With sufficient preparation and the right tools, your team members will enjoy their vacations to the fullest and return to work refreshed and ready to go:

  • Appoint a go-to to keep projects moving forward, take meeting notes, answer questions, and more on vacationers’ behalf.
  • Create a real-time PTO calendar and review it frequently with your team to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Establish a single source of truth for all project-related information to give team members visibility into each others’ work.
  • Ensure vacationing team members tie up as many loose ends as possible prior to their departure, and mark unfinished projects with clear workflow statuses.
  • Help vacationers plan for their return in the days leading up to their PTO, and give them a day or two to readjust.
  • Lead by example and leave your laptop at home when vacationing. Your employees will follow suit.

For more insight and information on employees’ vacation habits and what managers can do to ensure their team members enjoy time off, download our free survey report.

The post 6 Ways to Help Your Team Return from Vacation and Hit the Ground Running appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stay focused in the office. Instead of avoiding the holiday distraction and enforcing maximum productivity across your team, it’s important to come to terms with the fact that the holidays are a busy time, and the month of December will probably not be the most productive month. *gasp*
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We’re not saying you have to pop the champagne and plan a holiday party tomorrow. There are other, less-expensive ways to spread the holiday cheer. We’ve compiled seven ways you can embrace the holiday season in the office, regardless which holiday you actually celebrate.
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1. Give back to your community
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Celebrate the season of giving by getting your team together to do some volunteer work. It’s easy to Google local charitable organizations. Don’t have a day to spare? No problem! Canned food drives or Toys for Tots are great ways for your team to give back without having to leave the office. 
 
2. Host a gift exchange

 Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges are a fun way to celebrate the holidays and get to know your colleagues. Gift exchanges normally come with a spending limit so employees know how much they should shell out for a gift. Everyone who wants to participate brings a gift so this way, you eliminate that dreaded feeling of they got me a gift, but I didn’t get them anything.
 
3. Have a decorating contest

 Bring out the tinsel, bows, and Scotch tape! Spread the holiday cheer while engaging in a little friendly competition. Have each team member decorate their desk for the holiday they celebrate, or if you have pods, have each pod decorate their area. Picking a unique theme like “Holiday TV Episodes” will add that extra edge of creativity. 
 
4. Plan a holiday potluck
 Who doesn’t love food, especially around the holidays!? Plan a potluck where everyone brings a traditional dish from their holiday celebration. This is surely an event everyone will look forward to, and adds an element of education on how people celebrate around the world.
 
5. Organize an ugly sweater contest

 The ugly holiday sweater trend is a classic, and it makes use of all those old, itchy sweaters your relatives gave you! This contest will be sure to lighten the mood around this busy and stressful time and allows your team to get creative (and possibly make their own!)
 
6. Host a holiday movie marathon

Because what‘s the holiday season without watching It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, or the project management prodigy, Kevin McAllister in Home Alone? During lunch or after work, set up a mini theatre in your conference room and play your favourite holiday movie classics. This will encourage people to come into the office and the nice break will be sure to enhance productivity for the rest of the day (or motivate your team to get work done before the movie starts).
 
7. Play holiday music

.If nothing else, throw on some Bing Crosby or Andy Williams in your office. There are tons of holiday music stations on Pandora or Spotify that you can leave on in the background. You’d be surprised how it will lift the spirits of everyone in the office. 
 
How do you bring the holiday spirit into your office?
Share your unique ideas in the comments.
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Need gift ideas for your colleagues this season? Check out our post on 15 Under $15: Business Books to Gift to Your Colleagues This Holiday Season

The post 7 Ways to Bring the Holiday Spirit to Your Office appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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Over the last year, the number of IT tools and apps used at work has increased for nearly half of people working in offices across the UK, and the majority now juggle between three and six different types of desktop software, web applications, and mobile apps. This trend among UK workers however, falls well short of that seen among its Continental neighbours France and Germany, where adoption of digital tools has grown much more substantially.

According to the Wrike Digital Work Report 2016, the number of apps being used in British businesses may be rising, but outdated work practices mean UK companies aren’t necessarily being more productive as a result. In addition, our report reveals that using more apps also correlates with greater stress level for nearly 70% of respondents.

Digital working – blessing or curse?

While half the UK respondents in the survey say apps and other IT tools help in performing tasks by making work easier and more efficient, in France and Germany these perceived benefits were much higher (77% and 64% respectively), perhaps reflecting their more enthusiastic uptake for IT solutions.

Similarly, respondents across all three countries said that digital tools made it easier to work remotely and made access and sharing of information more reliable. However, for over a fifth of UK workers (22%), apps were said to hinder or be detrimental in helping perform work tasks.

Overall, productivity levels among French and German workers has risen over the past year (by 53% and 47% respectively), compared with just 26% among UK workers. The fact that app adoption levels have not been so prolific and that the UK appears to lag behind the times when it comes to new ways of digital working might go some way towards explaining this disparity between rising productivity levels:

Collaboration tools – which make it easier to work on projects together and have central access to information – are only used by 15% in the UK, compared to nearly a quarter in France (24%). Conferencing is used by 17% in the UK, but nearly three in ten in top-ranked Germany (28%). There is a similar picture for project management software (UK 17%, France 28%, Germany 25%.)

Email is the biggest productivity zapper

While email is still the most widely used IT tool by far, over a third of UK respondents say email curbed their productivity (37%). Too many ineffective meetings, having too many tasks to juggle and prioritise, and too much admin work were next in line as the major culprits affecting productivity.

This survey shows how reliant the modern workplace has become on technology to manage everyday tasks, but also how much room for improvement there is in terms of how we use that technology to best effect.

Our firm belief is that technology can only ever be part of the solution. Managers, especially in the UK, need to make sure their businesses are using the right tools for the job to help employees manage their tasks productively, without inadvertently adding unnecessary workload or stress.

If these tools are used properly, they should make people more efficient; allowing them to do a better job, and ultimately help them feel confident in the knowledge that they can properly ‘switch off’ knowing nothing will fall between the cracks.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll in August 2016 among 3,000 office workers, with 1,000 respondents each in the UK, France, and Germany.

<a href=target=”_blank”><img src=”https://www.wrike.com/blog/content/uploads/2016/12/Uk_survey_press_release3-01.jpg?v=1480954656″ alt=“Are apps boosting our productivity? (#Infographic)” width=”820″ height=”2940″></a><br/>Infographic brought to you by <a href=”https://www.wrike.com/”>Wrike</a><br /><br />

The post UK Businesses Are Struggling to Close Productivity Gap with Their European Counterparts appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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Did you know that the term “deadline’ hails from 19th century civil war prisons in the U.S.? It was originally used to describe a physical perimeter beyond which prisoners were not allowed to go. And if they did… they would be shot. That, dear friends, may just explain our mortal terror when faced with deadlines today.

To say that deadlines cause stress is an understatement. Some people say the stress that deadlines give them makes them more productive, and can perform much better when they cram. Others prefer to plan out their work so it’s staggered throughout the weeks leading up to a deadline.

However much deadline stress affects you, it’s good to know that there are ways to deal with it. Below is an infographic listing 10 ways to make deadlines less stressful:


Source: FreshEssays.com

Want to Plan Out Your Work More Clearly?

If you’re interested in saving yourself some stress by planning out your work on a calendar, check out our blog post on 3 ways to create a project manager calendar.

The post 10 Ways to Beat Deadline Stress (Infographic) appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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No matter what your job or industry, we all want to learn how to be effective at work and achieve our professional goals. But true productivity is more than simply checking tasks off a to-do list—it’s about doing more of what matters. Luckily, all it takes is a few adjustments to your daily work habits to see an improvement, so start with these simple tips and watch your productivity soar. 

13 Ways to Be More Effective at Work  Trim Your Task List 

We all know how paralyzing it can be to start a big project or tackle a crazy to-do list. So don’t overwhelm yourself with a massive task list! Give yourself 3 to 5 important items that you need to accomplish in one day, and focus on those. If you get them done early, you can always add a few more things to your list, but keeping it manageable will keep you productive — instead of just keeping you busy. 

Swap Your To-Do List for a Schedule

Sit down, look at your available time for the day, and be realistic about what you can get done. Then make a game plan: schedule specific slots of time for each of your important tasks—and be sure to include breaks. By dedicating time and structuring your day, you can take advantage of the times of day you’re naturally more focused and motivated, make tangible progress on important work, and ensure you actually take the necessary breaks to stay mentally fresh. 

Stop While You’re Still On a Roll

One of the biggest reasons we procrastinate is because we simply don’t know where to start. But if you stop working on a task for the day knowing exactly what you need to do next, it’s much easier to get started again. End every task with a defined “next step” to quickly get back in the zone next time. 

Stay Organized

Highly effective people have systems in place to help them find the exact information they need, right when they need it. A simple system like David Allen’s Getting Things Done method (GTD) can ease the mental burden of storing reminders and ideas, and free up brain space for more meaningful and effective work. Get a 20-second overview of the famous GTD method here.

David Allen Explains "Getting Things Done" in 20 Seconds - YouTube

Make Bad Habits More Difficult to Indulge

Constant distractions tank your productivity and your IQ, and you can’t work effectively if you’re not performing at your best. So create some simple barriers to help you focus. If you’re constantly pulling out your phone while you work to text a friend or check social media, for instance, put your phone in a locked desk drawer and keep the key in an upstairs closet, or ask a trusted co-worker to hold on to it until lunch. 

Prioritize 

A big part of being effective at work is learning to say no. Figure out what really matters — which tasks actually move the needle on your primary goals? Which projects have the biggest impact on your bottom line? Cut the busywork that doesn’t actually amount to anything. Using a data-driven goal-setting technique like OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a practical way to focus your daily efforts on clearly-defined, measurable goals that directly contribute to larger business objectives. 

Tackle Your Most Important Tasks First

Your motivation and creativity are at a high point in the morning, So instead of starting your day by checking emails (which can quickly derail your plans, as what you intended to accomplish gets pushed off or lost among incoming requests), wait a few hours to check your inbox and work on a more significant project while your mental energy is still high. 

Plan Tomorrow Tonight

While you shouldn’t stay up agonizing over all the work waiting for you tomorrow, creating a short list of simple to-dos at night can help you hit the ground running in the morning, establishing a productive momentum that will carry you through the rest of the day. Try to include at least one moderately challenging task in your list—according to Dr. Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi, there’s a sweet spot where your brain more easily enters that “flow” state where your brain is humming and you’re doing your best work. It happens when the degree of challenge and your abilities intersect at a high point. (If the task isn’t challenging enough, you’ll get bored, and if it’s too high, you’ll get anxious and stressed). 

Use Idle Time to Knock Out Admin Tasks

Waiting in line at the grocery store, for the next bus stop, at the bank, in the elevator, etc. doesn’t have to be wasted time. Bring a book you’ve been meaning to read, clear a few emails, or catch up on status updates. Or simply let your mind wander and observe the world around you. You never know when your next great idea will hit you! 

Schedule Meetings With Yourself

Create a distraction-free zone where you can go to focus when necessary. Block time off on your calendar where you won’t be disturbed, turn off your email and message notifications (or better yet, disconnect from the internet entirely), and focus on a single important task for an hour or two. 

Change Your Self-Talk 

Instead of saying “I have too much to do today!” and “I’m so stressed out right now!” say “These are the two things I need to focus on today.” A simple shift in perspective can do wonders for your motivation and energy levels.

Communicate and Clarify 

All of us have to collaborate with others at some level in order to do our jobs, so learning how to work effectively with others is an essential part of improving your own effectiveness at work. One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary rework and wasted time is to eliminate misunderstandings and miscommunications. Get it right the first time, and you’ll save yourself a ton of time and mental energy revising and redoing tasks. 

Find Ways to Do More of the Work You Enjoy

When you’re interested in, challenged by, and good at the work you do, you’re more engaged — and more effective. Consider which aspects of your job you look forward to, which skills you get the most praise for, and which types of projects your colleagues ask you for help with. 

While not everything you do at work can be a passion project, with a little creativity, even tedious tasks can be fun or challenging. The next time you have to generate a time sheet or expense report, time yourself and see if you can beat your personal high score. Do your best to learn something new every day, or push yourself to try something you haven’t before. 

More Tips & Resources to Improve Effectiveness at Work

Whether you work in marketing, project management, software development, or any other field, our collection of tips and tools on productivity and motivation will help you learn how to be more effective at work. 

The post How to Work Effectively: 13 Simple Strategies to Work Smarter appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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Don’t kid yourselves, folks. Despite what the marketing materials tell you, the answer to office productivity does not lie in yet another chat and instant messaging app.

This topic reared its head in our office when we transitioned from using Skype on an individual basis into HipChat, a proper enterprise-level tool that was managed by admins. But then we soon outgrew it and moved to Slack. Everybody was instantly awed by its features and integrations, with some advocates even venturing to say how marvelously this would affect their productivity levels. Now with Microsoft debuting Microsoft Teams and embedding business chat into Office 365, and Slack taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times to congratulate the software giant on entering the space and providing some competition, it’s high time to admit it out loud: using a chat/instant messaging app by itself can kill your productivity.

Your Messaging App is Interrupting You

screams hipchat's pop up notification is so ugly stop distracting me from my work

— hufflepuff!jongin (@luuhaann) July 1, 2016

The biggest of the top three productivity killers is inherent in your instant messaging tool: you’re dealing with constant interruptions!

No one enjoys a coworker ambling into your cubicle without warning to discuss a couple of ideas just when you’re in the flow of finishing up a report, blog post, or email. And yet, what happens when your chat app pings? You instinctively drop everything and join the conversation.

Part of it is because the chat interface leads you to believe it will give you faster responses than an email or a phone call. But another part of it is that you get addicted to the distractions and interruptions. Handling all those little alert notifications creates dopamine in the brain, making them highly addictive, leading you to click and enter a conversation because it may have potential meaning for you.

Stop with the real-time replies

If your team is conditioned to receive instant replies from you via messaging apps, they will demand you consistently respond that way. Remember that not everything is an emergency requiring real-time communication.

Instead, create a protocol with your team about replying. Some teams have an understanding that real-time response on the app is not expected. People then respond when they’re done with the work they’re doing. Alternatively, some teams build rules around the “Do Not Disturb” status. Some executives even institute virtual “office hours” when anyone can message them about anything, and can expect real-time chats.

Your Messaging App is Overloading You

Slack is amazing it totally replaced my e-mail inbox!!!! *secretly now has 95 separate inboxes*

— Cabel Sasser (@cabel) February 27, 2016

No one enjoys an email inbox stuffed to the gills with spam. Yet, what happens in a tool like Slack or HipChat? You start joining or creating channels/chat rooms to discuss everything from the latest website mockups to cat videos. And suddenly you’re wrangling 20 notifications from the 55 chat rooms you participate in. And your company only has 40 employees. Talk about fragmented attention.

A study conducted by Baba Shiv at Stanford University discovered that once we reach our “cognitive load” — that finite amount of mental energy we have to accomplish our tasks — no energy is left to make good decisions. This is why it’s so difficult to say no to burgers and fries at the end of a draining work day. And your chat app is probably stressing your cognitive load as you read this.

Minimize the noise

Time for a little discipline! Purge the channels that aren’t actively giving you the work info you need. Or at the very least keep them to a bare minimum. (Just because there are 20 fun channels you *could* join doesn’t mean you *have* to join them.) The thing to remember about leaving those chat rooms is: you can always join them again when you’re bored or have done everything you set out to do.

Your Messaging App isn’t Giving You Context

Ramdom links it project slack channel with no context. Happy fun time. #headdesk

— static (@staticnull) September 2, 2016

I sometimes get a random message asking me to edit the grammar of a sentence via chat. I immediately go about editing in full editorial mode — only to find out later on that the sentence was meant to be a user interface message, therefore had to be concise and didn’t even need punctuation. Had I asked the right questions beforehand, I could’ve gleaned the context better. But what did I say about wanting to reply ASAP? It’s addictive.

Assigning work using just your chat app will rob you of the context that surrounds your task. What project is this to-do part of, and what are its goals? Which of the other projects does this subtask roll up into? Who needs this and when is it due? These are all questions that can be answered by using a proper work management tool — such as Wrike.

How Wrike Can Help Your Team Become More Productive

We’ve said it many times before: for efficient collaboration to happen within your organization, you need more than an instant messaging tool or a file repository: you also need a tool that helps you manage tasks, projects, and workflows. Wrike does exactly that: you can create, manage, and assign tasks to your team and gain visibility into the workload of each member, as well as the status of all work being done.

But unlike a chat app, Wrike gives you the option to reply at a more convenient time for you — you won’t be interrupted as you work. It won’t overload you with info since you can control the amount of tasks/projects you follow as well as the notifications you receive. And finally, every task gives you the full context of what’s being asked of you.

To find out more, start a free trial of Wrike today.

The post Why Your Messaging App is Killing Your Productivity appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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Welcome back to the weekly Work Management Roundup where we collect and curate articles from around the web that tackle work, promote productivity, or share advice on learning and self-improvement. This week, we tackle a potentially divisive topic: work-life balance. We give you two viewpoints, one from someone who says we should be enjoying work so that there’s no need to balance it. Another who lays out a more practical approach to being overwhelmed. Read on! Work-Life Balance is Bullshit (Medium): German designer Tobias Van Schneider hates the term “work-life balance” because it immediately assumes one side (work) is evil and unenjoyable and must be balanced out with the other side (life) that is good. He says: if you don’t enjoy your job enough to look forward to it, it may be time to seek new employment — or change your perspective. The Secrets to Work-Life Balance: Interview with Overwhelmed Author Brigid Schulte (Wrike): Here’s another viewpoint: Schulte shares that we’re overwhelmed not just because of work, but also because of our mindset and the culture of busyness that we’re steeped in. The solution then is not to work longer hours, but to be more effective and tackle real priorities instead of multitasking ourselves into an unproductive coma. Why The 8-Hour Workday Doesn’t Work (Forbes): Eight-hour workdays are a relic from the industrial age. A more productive approach is to structure your day into blocks — think 1 hour of work followed by 15 minutes of break. 3 Reasons Why Email is Dead (Wrike): The days of email’s primacy as a collaboration tool are over. There are now better options. Here are three reasons why you slow things down by using your inbox as a PM tool. [Free ebook] It’s Not You It’s Me: Why Managers Need to Break Up with Email and Spreadsheets (Wrike): Tired of managing your tools instead of actually managing your work? Updating spreadsheets and looking through email threads for pertinent info are not the best use of your time. Download our free ebook to find out why. Motivation is Overvalued. Environment Often Matters More (James Clear): The physical shape of your environment affects your behavior? Actually, yes. Over a long time period, your personal characteristics tend to get overpowered by your environment. Time to design a better environment that promotes good habits and removes negative influences.

 

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The psychology behind irrational decisions - Sara Garofalo - YouTube
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Welcome back to the weekly Work Management Roundup, where we collect and curate the latest reads from around the web regarding work, productivity, and careers. This week, we focus on burnout, insane work hours, and caffeine — the three staples of exhausted knowledge workers around the globe. Read on! How Insane Work Hours Became a Mark of American Privilege (The Week): You probably have a coworker who brags about how s/he’s working 60-hour weeks. (And if not, it’s probably you.) According to research though, the jobs where people are most likely to work over 45 hours a week are highly-paid professional positions in law, business management, engineering, and finance. So yeah, it’s become an unhealthy status symbol. The Start-Up Marathon: How One Founder Avoids Burnout (Fox News): Andrew Filev, CEO of Wrike, shares the 3 things that carried him through those initial 80-hour work weeks without burning out: his love for the mission, a sense of responsibility for the team, and managing his own limits. All That Coffee You’re Guzzling Is Useless if You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep, Study Says (Mic): And in case you’re using coffee to fuel your insane work hours… well its effectiveness has limits. Apparently, if you’re only getting around five hours of sleep a night, caffeine stops giving you a cognitive boost by the third day. Your parents knew what they were talking about when they said, “It’s past your bedtime!” 5 Strategies for Forming Team Productivity Habits (Wrike): Not happy with how your team gets stuff done? Download our free ebook that outlining five concrete strategies for building a high-performance team, one habit at a time. 5 Ways to Love Your Open-Plan Office (QuietRev): Are you feeling vulnerable and beset by distractions in your open plan office? Here are 5 strategies you can use to subtly alter your space and make it work for you — without actually barricading your desk. 4 Helpful Books For Managing Remote Workers (Forbes): We all know managing remote team members is difficult (“Guys are we meeting on Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, or Slack?”), but these 4 books give you tips, insights, and powerful tools to help you make what may seem impossible actually quite doable — and maybe even enjoyable.

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The post Crazy Work Hours: the New, Unhealthy Status Symbol (Work Management Roundup) appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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When you think about it, today’s technology is pretty incredible. We can talk to anyone, anywhere in the world within seconds. We can access a near infinite amount of information in the blink of an eye. We can store countless documents without filing a single sheet of paper and access them instantly. But that doesn’t mean these apps solve all of our problems—in fact, they sometimes create new ones. 

These imaginary conversations exemplify the love/hate relationship we have with our favorite work apps. And while they can cause quite a few headaches, our fixes can help provide some relief!

1. Organization 

FIX IT: Finding the file you need shouldn’t be such an endeavor, but when attachments get buried in lengthy email threads or duplicated into multiple conflicting versions, trying to find the right one gets frustrating fast. Attaching work files directly to the related task in a work management tool keeps information organized and easily accessible.

2. Tracking & Reporting Work Progress

FIX IT: Managing work through spreadsheets is time-consuming, overly-complicated, and needs constant attention. Use a tool designed for managing projects that updates in real time, so you don’t have to input changes manually or risk making decisions based on outdated, incomplete information. 

 
 

FIX IT: Use work management software that automatically creates visual reports you can easily share with execs, clients, and stakeholders, without messing with finicky tables and graphs.

3. Communication  

FIX IT: Clear communication is key to preventing misunderstandings, wasted time, and work that needs to be redone. Technical glitches and assumed intentions just lead to greater frustrations, so establish a formal channel for work conversations and feedback, and leave the informal chats and “watercooler“ conversations to your instant messaging apps. 

4. Remote Collaboration 

FIX IT: Anything involving live cameras and microphones is a recipe for awkward moments, which are not only embarrassing, but distract your team and derail productive meetings. A collaboration app keeps all team members aligned and up to date on work status and top priorities no matter where they’re located, so you can skip the time-consuming video calls and status meetings.

Fix Your Work Tool Frustrations for Good
Know any great workarounds for these annoyances? Share them with us in the comments below! Then start a free Wrike trial to easily communicate, collaborate, organize, and track work progress with your team. 

The post Conversations with the Work Apps You Love (& Hate) appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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Why reinvent the wheel? This idiom highlights some universal wisdom. If you’re building a car, would you spend your time testing if a circle is the best wheel shape? Or, would you rather focus on optimizing the type of tire, engine, aerodynamics, and internal comfort? The point is when you already have a great design — like a circle — you’ll find more success focusing on optimizing other parts. 

When it comes to building out work projects, why start from scratch every time? Templates are the wheels that get projects moving faster. When you start projects with a template, you preserve valuable time while ensuring you’re using best practices and not missing a step. The more consistently your team uses templates, the easier it is to stay aligned, collaborate, improve productivity, and win the race.

In the below infographic we outline what a template is, how it can help you, common template elements, and popular types of templates

Once you’ve enjoyed the infographic and are ready to start building your own, check out our library of free pre-built project templates to give yourself a head start. 

Share our infographic on your own site using this embed code:

<a href=”https://www.wrike.com/blog/templates-project-management-infographic/” target=”_blank”><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><img src=”https://www.wrike.com/blog/content/uploads/2019/05/Using-Templates-in-Project-Management-Infographic-2.png” alt=”Using Templates in Project Management” width=”820″ height=”3077″><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_end”></span></a><br/>Infographic brought to you by <a href=”https://www.wrike.com/”>Wrike</a>

The post Using Templates in Project Management (Infographic) appeared first on Blog Wrike.

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