Management Material

I’m officially聽management now. Whether that’s a good or bad thing only time will tell!

I’ve been given a secondary role at work of “People Manager.” As you might have guessed, it’s not a technical role; every staff member has a People Manager who is responsible for providing guidance, support, and a whole gaggle of approvals such as timesheets, procurement, holidays, and training.

One important part of the role is annual appraisals and performance ratings. This is something I’m quite interested in. My personal feeling is the appraisal system in most companies is broken – particularly once they grow past a certain size. While I’m under no illusions I’ll be able to change the system here (and, to be fair, my experience last year was it was one of the better systems), it will be good to observe it from the inside, and pick up on the key pain points from both sides of the table.

Of course, I’ve been appointed to the role聽just in time for this year’s annual appraisals, so nothing like being dropped in at the deep end!

Six Tips for Working from Home

I鈥檝e been 鈥渙n holiday鈥 this week. With everything that I鈥檝e got going on at the moment, that simply means I鈥檓 not working the day job for a week. It鈥檚 given me a chance to sample聽working from home, which has been a good 鈥 if somewhat strange 鈥 experience.

The most interesting part has been trying to get into that psychological state where you know you鈥檙e 鈥渁t work鈥 and you have to聽get things done. It鈥檚 taken me a few days (well, plus the odd weekend here and there prior to this 鈥渂reak鈥) to get into the swing of things, but I think I鈥檝e聽learned a few pointers聽that hare helping me be聽more productive, which I鈥檇 like to share.

1. Get Up Early.

The temptation is to lay in bed for hours after you would normally have to get up and leave for work. Don鈥檛 give in. Get up early, with a clear head, knowing what you have to do that day.

2. Get Showered/Dressed/Fed ASAP.

I don鈥檛 know about anyone else, but given the chance, I鈥檇 laze about for a couple of hours in the morning 鈥 leaving food/showering and dressing until the last possible moment. Don鈥檛 do this. A good shower, a fresh set of clothes, and a fine breakfast all leave you motivated to聽do something.

3. Take Time-out to Exercise.

You might want to do this before #2, or you might want to use it as an excuse to 鈥渢ake a break鈥, but getting in some exercise during the day can leave you with that ready-to-achieve-something feeling. Besides, it stops you turning into the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

4. Don鈥檛 Work in the Kitchen.

Until I get the cupboard under the stairs converted into an office, my desk is the kitchen table. Bad idea. Easy access to snacks is distracting. Besides, the kitchen can be the busiest room in the house, leading to many, many interruptions.

5. Train Housemates/Partners and Children.

The people you live with need to know that they can鈥檛 just interrupt you. This is very important!

6. Enjoy It

Probably the biggest tip here 鈥 if you鈥檙e not enjoying it, go do something else for a while. Fix those shelves. Clear out that cupboard. Anything to get your mind out of a 鈥渢his sucks and I鈥檓 not getting anything done鈥 moment. Clear your mind and come back with a fresh head. This is the big difference between working in an office and working at home 鈥 you have the choice of finding something else to do in those unproductive moments. As long as you do actually come back and finish the job of course!

Different Strokes鈥

As these are just a few thoughts I鈥檝e had over the last couple of days, I am in no way am I claiming to have found the 鈥済olden rule鈥 of working from home. Heck, I鈥檝e probably listed off a load of 鈥渨ell, duh!鈥 statements that every home worker knows. Likewise, I鈥檓 no doubt missing off a load of obvious tips. So if you know of any other聽best practices聽for home working please share. If you work at home, how do you make sure you鈥檙e as productive as you can possibly be?