Monday, December 15, 2008

Why we wake up every day...

This past week I have been musing about the thoughts surrounding "work" and why we do it. Think about it with me for a minute:
  • Wake up 5 days a week to get ready for work (6-7am)
  • Drive to work in traffic -(7-8am)
  • Work 8 hours (9 when you take your hour lunch)- (8-5pm)
  • Drive home in traffic (5-6pm)
  • Finally home and exhausted
So you have 4 hours at home every night to spend with your family, wife, husband, children, do any chores that need to be done, visit friends, exercise, and anything else you may wish to do with your 5 nights every week.

There is a silver lining to this whole process though and it is CRITICAL that we find it- You must love what you do every day and be excited to engage it every morning. The other crucial part is that your employer takes care of you and respects a work/life balance (in my next blog).

The question that plagues so many of us is, "How do I find a job that I love going to every day?" And unfortunately there is no easy or fast answer to that question, it is a process to be gone through.

Here we go:
  • If you could get paid to do anything, what would you do?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are you weaknesses?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Are you willing to relocate for your job?
  • What education do you need/desire to have?
  • What do you do for fun & what are your hobbies?
  • What do you want from your perfect company? (benefits, time off, schedule, work from home, bonuses, work/life balance, etc.)
  • What are companies that are currently doing that? (Your answer to #1)
  • If there is not a company doing that, is there enough interests in the area for your to start your own company?
After you have gone through these tough questions, you are well on your way to finding your dream job. Take your thoughtful answers from above and begin to research what companies that share your passions & direction, positions that play to your strengths & desires, and if you cannot find a solution it is time to see if there is enough of a market demand for you to start your own company. Although a lot of work, being your own boss can be very rewarding and freeing.

I'm happy to work through this process with you and help to guide you more if you would like. Just email me at:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Increasing employee morale and productivity in our current economy

Tips for keeping employees productive-

·         Lead by example.  How many of us have seen the movies where the executives play golf and games all day instead of work? And often that is how we feel our managers act.  If managers, supervisors, executives are held to the same level of accountability for their work and lead by example, this alone will begin to increase employee productivity and will essentially wipe away resentment of “higher ups” which is what causes a decrease in productivity when they are not around.

·         Create a “fun” environment.  Life is too short to hate going to your job everyday and creating a fun environment will lead to happier employees which leads to increase productivity.  This can be done through simple things such as, having “Beer Friday,” changing the arrangement of your office to be more creative with couches and tables rather than desks and cubicles, bringing in games (Foosball, Nintendo Wii, Pool, Air Hockey, etc.) and let your employees use them (managers must start this!), allow employees to work from home (it has been proven that employees are happier and 10-15% more efficient when they work from home),  have a relaxed time off policy/personal time policy and TRUST your employees that they can handle that responsibility (encourages trust, better work/life balance).  You will find by allowing these creative spaces, fun activities, trust your employees to get their work done on their schedule you will see a HUGE increase in productivity and if employees enjoy coming to work you will see a decrease in “sick” days and not many people will want to work from home because work is fun.

·         “We” is better than “I.” This is a simple one- life and work is always more fun when you can share the experience with at least one other person.  Teams have many benefits besides adding to the enjoyment of work (why do you think police have partners?).  Teams have less mistakes because they can double check each other’s work, they are more efficient and get the same amount of work done in a shorter period of time, they are more creative because they can bounce ideas off of one another.  Teams are simply more fun and more efficient than going at a project by yourself.  This can also become the mentality where, when a team finishes their work they will offer to go help another team finish their project early too.

·         Reward extra effort. Have a “Comp Time” policy that states when an employee works over 40 hours they get that extra time either in overtime pay (time and a half) or they get that extra time in vacation hours!  If they worked hard and extra that means they made a sacrifice for the company, the company should take care of them likewise.

·         Reward efficiency. This is simple- If employees work hard they should be rewarded.  Have a policy that you stay till the job is done, this enables efficient employees to get their work done faster and leave early or take Friday off.  It will also make it more palatable when they need to stay and work with their team to meet a project deadline.

·         Trust your employees.  Employees who do not feel trusted do not work as hard as they could.  Employees should not need to be “watched” over- this creates an unhealthy environment for both the manager and the worker.  Give them a realistic deadline, be available for questions, and let them work.

·         Surprise your employees.  You would be amazed at what a little reward or surprise can do to your company morale and thus on your employees productivity.  Some things you can do- have a morale day and go do something, surprise your team or company with a full day off (maybe a Monday or Friday? And NOT taken from their vacation days!!), do a random drawing (once a week, month, quarter) for a nice $50-100 gift card to somewhere, or you can simply let everyone off early one day.

·         Nap Time. Europe got this one right! Have you ever heard of a siesta? Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologists, has found that we, as humans, are programmed for a nap! If you take a nap between 2-4 pm, of approximately 45minutes, you will be approximately 33% more productive the rest of your day! Remember preschool when you used to hate naps in the afternoon? Well, as adults we are supposed to continue that and a simple rest in the middle of the day will refresh you and make you about 33% more productive in the rest of your day (work, home, kids, family, sports, gym, etc).  The benefits of this are both work and health related.

A little about me

This is my first blog and I am very excited to be starting it.  I figured that I would start with a little bit about myself so that you all can get to know me.

My name is Jeff and I work up in the Northwest for a Team Building company called Geoteaming. I am their marketing assistant and also do  what we call Course Designing.  My company designs closed Geocaching courses for corporate clients where we use GPS and other high-tech toys to analyze and develop teams (trust, communication, collaboration, effectiveness, etc).

Beyond this I am currently starting a company that focuses on a real passion of mine and that is mainly what this blog will be about.  My company is going to be about Life Coaching, Small Business Development, Employee Retention and Morale, and Creative Marketing ideas.  My hope is to have the website up and launched, January 1, 2009.  I have always been gifted with helping others, guiding them toward their goals, helping them succeed, and having a creative mind for developing great strategies to get them to where they want to be.  That is the hope of this company.  My friend, who is also starting her own business, has allowed me to be her Small Business Development consultant and we have both loved every minute of it!

So to start, that is a little bit about me and I am excited to start sharing more about business, tips, marketing ideas & thoughts, etc with you all.