15 ways to brighten up your office for 2016

modern office interior

If you’re heading back into the office in 2016, here are some simple ways to really brighten the place up!

  1. Get a plant or some flowers for your desk
  2. Celebrate every holiday or season with some desk decorations
  3. Smile more!
  4. Get in some healthy snacks for everyone to share
  5. Play cheerful music
  6. Give ‘kudos’ and rewards for outstanding performance
  7. Switch your office mug for a personal one from home
  8. Plan regular social events with co-workers
  9. Have fun and laugh with your office friends
  10. Bring your pet to work!
  11. Find a mentor – or be a mentor
  12. Play a game (on your lunch break, or after work..!)
  13. Get up and talk to people in person instead of emailing or calling
  14. Invest in a more comfortable chair
  15. Reward yourself after reaching a goal

 

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2016: The year to refresh your skills

SkillsIf your skill set is looking a little outdated, 2016 is the time to do something about it!

Whether you’re currently in work and fancy a career change, or you want to boost your chances of breaking into a certain industry, there has never been a better time to update your skill set. We’ve come up with the top reasons that you should be reskilling in 2016.

Get ahead of the game

Taking on training courses and new qualifications is a great way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. As well as enabling you to learn something new, updating your skill set is a great way to show your employer that you are committed to your job, and becoming the best you can be.

Rekindle that fire

If you’ve been feeling demotivated at work of late, refreshing your skill set can be a great way to tap back into that passion for your job. You might find that you see things from a whole new perspective, as well as being able to tackle new challenges with your new and improved skills!

A whole new career

Resolved to find a new job in 2016? If so, upskilling can be the perfect way to go about it. By learning something new, you’ll be one step ahead in the job hunt; give your future a kick-start and get skilled now.

Help your career move

If you’re currently in a job but you fancy a change, why not help yourself to break into a new industry; expanding your skills is a great way to prove that you’re serious about your career move. Learning something new is a wonderful way to broaden your horizons, especially in the job market.

To see what training courses CV-Library can offer, take a look here.

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New Year, New career: shake up your job search

Opposite Arrows With Old Job Versus New Job Words

The New Year is upon us and most people are considering what they want to achieve in 2016. January is the most popular time of year for workers to consider a new career or change of jobs, are you one of them?

If fighting all of those other candidates for a job in January doesn’t appeal to you, there are other ways you can start a new career…slowly. If your goal in 2016 is to switch careers then we’ve got some handy tips to help you reinvigorate your search!

  1. Make your cover letter stand out

Unfortunately, many employers won’t even look at your resume if they don’t like what’s on your cover letter. Shake things up and make sure your cover letter breaks through the noise; find a way to be creative and get yourself seen!

  1. Network

Using networking sites such as LinkedIn or Google+ can be a useful way to find yourself a job; they’re not just for socialising! Keeping your profile up-to-date and connecting with people already working in your chosen industry can be helpful in the application process, as sometimes your chances of getting a job can be boosted just by knowing the right people.

 

  1. Go to recruitment fairs

There will always be recruitment fairs taking place, and these can be a great way to meet with employers and ask questions. It’s always a good idea to pre-register at events like these, and if you can get a list of which companies will be attending then you have the chance to do some research beforehand. When you’re there, approach the companies you’re interested in and chat to their representatives. Don’t, however, drop your CV off at a company’s stand and walk away, as this is a sure-fire way to ensure it ends up in the bin!

  1. Use social media

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great way of keeping up with industry trends and vacancies in your chosen sector. Following relevant hashtags on these sites should keep you in the loop when job hunting. Remember, however, to keep your social media profiles clean and suitable for a potential employer; with the amount of applicants in the job market you want to be in with a fighting chance, and not be passed over due to something silly like an embarrassing picture on Facebook!

  1. Get yourself featured

Don’t forget that you can enhance your CV-Library profile and ensure that you are featured at the top of the list for recruiters and employers! Why not give yourself the best possible chance of landing that dream job and find out more here.

 

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Job New Year’s resolutions you can keep

bigstock----New-Year-Resolutions-Con-97801073 3

The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by, while contemplating what’s to come; with many people choosing to set themselves goals and resolutions for 2016, we’ve come up with some resolutions that you can take to the workplace.

  1. Stress less

Whether it’s workplace stress, or internal stress that’s catching you up, it’s time to let it go. Making sure that you’re getting enough sleep and fitting in some exercise is a sure fire way to be certain that you’re heading into work ready to face the day.  Learning to delegate your workload, and understanding that sometimes it’s okay to just say ‘no’ are also simple ways to cut down your stress levels and make sure you get 2016 off to a peaceful, healthy start!

  1. Be more organised

For some, getting organised is a mammoth challenge; if this sounds like you, make it your New Year’s resolution to get it together! Whether that means leaving out your clothes the night before, preparing your lunches in advance or just sorting out that inbox, getting organised is easier than you think! Resolving to become an organisational genius means that you’ll likely find that your working day flows more smoothly and you don’t end up so frazzled; that’s definitely a resolution worth keeping!

  1. Improve your work/life balance

By setting boundaries, learning to say no, and embracing that elusive ‘off’ button, obtaining a healthy work/life balance is easier than you think! Furthermore, pacing yourself and making sure you aren’t burning the candle at both ends is a simple, yet effective, way to ensure that your work/life balance is working for you in 2016.

  1. Befriend your co-workers

For most of us, the majority of our time is spent at work; why not resolve to get to know your co-workers a little better this year? We’re not saying you have to be the best of friends, but striking up non work-related conversations or making an effort to socialise more with your colleagues is a great way to get to know everyone a little better.

  1. Be a better communicator

One of the easiest ways to get ahead at work is by becoming a top communicator. Make it your mission to tune in more when people are talking to you, as well as making sure that you’re getting yourself across clearly and concisely. Get working on those communication skills in 2016 and give your working life a boost; you can thank us later!

  1. Be more confident in meetings

It’s rare to find someone who actually enjoys public speaking and presenting in meetings, so don’t worry if the thought of this brings you out in cold sweats. What you should remember is that your colleagues will want to see you do well, so while you might be squirming when all eyes are on you, you should take a breath and go for it. If all else fails, there’s always the old imagining-everyone-in-their-underwear trick!

 

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Working on Christmas Day? It’s not so bad…

Working On Christmas Day

While most offices will be shut for Christmas Day, many other businesses will need to keep their doors open, meaning plenty of workers will be on the job on Christmas Day. It might feel like the worst thing in the world when you’re told to work on Christmas, when you’d rather be home with the family, so we’re here to change your perspective a little bit:

You’ll probably make more money

Most companies will offer an increased salary when you’re working on days such as Christmas. Meaning you could sometimes end up taking up triple your normal salary. That’s bound to help with all those holiday expenses..!

The hours will be shorter

If a business is open on Christmas they likely have shorter opening hours than normal. So while it might seem like a drag to head into work, remember that your shift will be a short one and you’ll be home again in no time.

Busy days fly by 

Most businesses that will be open are in the retail and hospitality sectors, service industries that will always get customers through the doors. So if you work in Starbucks on Christmas morning and every other coffee shop in town is shut, rest assure you’ll have a looong line of people yearning for their morning latte. It might sound daunting but the busier you are, the faster time will seem to go by, meaning your already short shift will be over before you know it!

You’re making someone else’s Christmas that much better

The holidays are all about friends, family and celebrating what you have in life. It might not be your first choice in how to spend Christmas Day, but it’s worth reminding yourself that by being at work you’re helping to make someone else’s Christmas that much better. Someone needs to be there to sell the last can of cranberry sauce to the guy who forgot to buy some before Christmas day!

Remember to smile and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, even if it’s just for show!!

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New Year’s Careers Resolutions

bigstock----New-Year-Resolutions-Con-97801073 3

With the festive season and New Year on the horizon, some will already find their minds wandering to the inevitable New Year’s Resolutions. Here at CV-Library, while we’re all for reflection and change, we believe that you should resolve to be a better employee all the time, regardless of the date. Here are some ways in which you can improve within your role, and remain a valuable asset to your company!

  1. Learn a new skill – in reality you should always be assessing your skill-set and finding new ways to expand your knowledge and experience. But we all know that time constraints and life often get in the way..! Identify one skill that you think you be both interesting to you and beneficial to your career and make it your goal to be an expert in 2016. Whether you set aside an hour each day, week or month – find time to learn something new and you’ll improve your career prospects as well as getting a nice confidence boost!

 

  1. Be proactive –it’s easy to become complacent in our jobs, you go into the office, work your way down your to-do list and then head home. Instead of repeating this tedious process, have a think about what else is going on within the business or even just your team. Consider what you can proactively do to support the team – this will show your willingness to work beyond your current role and it might even give you some new experiences to add your CV.

 

  1. Work on your communication – whether you’re just starting a new job, or you’ve been at a company for years, we all quickly develop a method of communication while at work. The New Year is the perfect time to consider how we’re communicating with our co-workers, managers and team. Improving your communication can mean anything from changing your tone of voice, adding extra meetings, sharing more or less information and giving different feedback. With so many things to consider you’re likely to find one communication technique that can improve your daily life at work!

 

  1. Make a new friend – at most offices people tend to find their group of friends which is typically dictated by where you sit and who you work with. While having friends at work helps to make the days more fun, it can also help expand your knowledge of the business and ultimately it can impact your career prospects. Think about people within the business you rarely have the chance to speak with and make an effort to connect.

There’s never a bad time to make yourself a better employee, so you don’t have to wait until 2016 to put these into action!

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Snowed in and can’t get to work?

Three Cute Snowmen

Winter storms wreak havoc on towns and cities; they damage houses and offices and often put a halt to work across counties, which can have a major commercial and financial impact for many businesses. So when you know a storm is coming and you suspect you might be snowed in before work, leaving you stuck at home, here’s what you need to do:

Ask for a winter weather policy

Most companies should have a winter weather policy in place – this outlines what is reasonably expected of employees when serious weather hits, usually a snow storm. Make sure you’ve read the policy and discussed any questions or concerns you have with HR. Typically this will include whether or not you need to come into work depending on how far away you live and your standard method of transportation. Plus, it should be clear whether you’re expected to work from home or not, and how this impacts your pay check.

Plan ahead

If you live a region that’s prone to troublesome winter weather, make sure you plan ahead with your employer. Discuss your options for working from home – this could mean using your personal computer, loaning a work laptop, or being set up with a remote working system. Check that the technology is working so when the day comes, you won’t have any issues. It’s also worth speaking with your manager about your personal situation. If you have kids who have a snow day at school, it will impact your day drastically so make sure your manager is aware of the situation and discuss solutions in advance. Have a plan in place between the two of you to communicate on the day-of – e.g. calling one another by 9am to discuss the plan for the day.

Do your best

Your first priority when winter weather hits should be your safety; but you should also make a concerted effort to treat each day as a normal working day. If you can, change your method of transportation to get into the office. Being physically in the office is always the best solution even if it means arriving late or leaving early. If you do decide to work from home, do your best to commit to normal working schedule. This means getting out of bed, setting yourself up at a desk and keeping distractions away. It’s so tempting to start cleaning up the house, or catching up on TV shows, but it’s best to be as productive as possible. Remember, your safety should always come first, so stay safe out there!

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“Help, I’m swamped at work!”

Buried in papers at the office

…we’ve all found ourselves screaming this to our friends and family, begging for some support to get through the busiest times at work. While confiding in friends is always a good way to manage the stress of being overworked, it’s not a solution to tackling the work itself. When you are constantly under time pressure in the office and have too much work to handle, you need to be constructive in dealing with the issue. Here are a few tips from CV-Library:

Stop what you’re doing and get organised!

Step away from the project that’s taking over your life and spend 20 minutes getting yourself organised. Make a list of all the things you are responsible for and put together a timeline of activities, then go ahead and break this down into smaller chunks assigning each chunk its own deadline. This should help you form a to-do list that will keep you track.

But if you look at this to-do list and there’s no feasible way for you to accomplish everything during the work day, it’s time to speak up.

Book time in with your manager

Swinging by your manager’s desk and complaining that you have too much work is not the best way to handle this situation. It’s best to get a short meeting in their diary so you have their full attention when you broach the subject, you’ll also get to find somewhere a bit more private to discuss the issue.

Speak on behalf of the business

When you do speak with your manager it’s essential that you don’t complain, but present your case constructively. Instead of saying “you’re giving me too much work, I can’t handle it”, say “I’ve reviewed all of the deadlines approaching for our team and have some concerns about the volume of work currently on my plate”. Go on to explain that you cannot complete the tasks to a high standard given the time constraints, and a conversation needs to be had about workload distribution.

Position a case that shows the current workload is actually damaging the business, and you want to be able to produce work to a higher standard.

Come up with a plan

With your manager’s help you should be able to come up with a solution to the problem, put a plan in place and arrange a meeting for a few days or weeks later to discuss progress. When you notice things aren’t going to plan, speak up and explain what has happened to your manager, don’t wait for the next meeting!

If your manager is less than supportive, or isn’t making an effort to alleviate your workload, then it’s time to consider if this job is really one for you. Perhaps it’s time look for something new?

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Secret Santa at work

Santa keeping a secret against room with wooden floor

You either love it or hate it, but when your office holds an annual Secret Santa you don’t want to be the Grinch that doesn’t participate. So how do you handle Secret Santa at work?

When you have no idea who you’re buying for

If you work in a small office then you probably know a fair amount about each of your colleagues, or at least enough to be able to pick a relevant gift. But if you work in a bigger office environment, or you’re new to the company, you might not even know the person you’ve been assigned to buy a gift for. It’s a bit of a tricky situation but you do have two options:

  • Ask around!

    Speak to the people you do know and find out as much information about them as possible – maybe drop an email to their manager asking for some advice on what to buy.

  • Go generic:

    Find a gift that anyone would appreciate, a gift card to the local coffee shop, a few scratch cards that could win big, or just a nice bottle of bubbly for the holiday season!

When you picked your work BFF

We all have our work BFF, they might not be your best friend in life outside of the office but when you’re in that cubicle they are your closest friend in the world. You probably have loads of inside jokes and most of them will stem from office-based frustration or gossip. Given that Secret Santa is aimed at bringing people a bit closer together over the holidays, you have to be careful about giving a gift that’s too personal, or inappropriate for the workplace.

Find something you know they’ll appreciate but won’t make it look like you’re clearly playing favourites in the office. Save that stuff for your own personal holiday card!!

When you get your boss

Now this is a tricky one, even if you love your boss to need to ensure you buy a gift that is completely work appropriate and positions you in the best possible light. Getting your boss a hilarious gift might be funny between the two of you, but it could embarrass them among their peers and fellow managers; it’s best to play safe with this one!

If you’re not keen on your boss, you might feel a bit disgruntled at the prospect of having to buy them a gift this Christmas, but you have to play the game! Who knows, maybe getting them something truly special and personal will help warm up the relationship – it could help your career down the line.

When the budget is too high

So the MD set the budget for your office Secret Santa and conveniently forgot that none of you are on six figure salaries. Ouch! When the budget is too high confide in a few of your co-workers to see if they feel the same – if there are a handful of you feeling strained by the budget, speak to someone in HR about lowering it for everyone. There are more than enough expenses over the holidays – work shouldn’t be one of them!

If you’re not inclined to admit that you’re struggling with money, then it’s time to get creative! A budget is the upper limit of what you can spend, but it’s not necessarily a guideline of what you should spend.  Add some personal touches to the gift and invest your time in creating it, instead of your money in buying! Personal gifts are way more valuable anyway!

Above all else, remember to enjoy the holiday season. It’s always fun when a company injects some Christmas cheer into the office, so embrace the fun and get celebrating!!

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Staying focused over the holidays

a man with a reindeer antlers headband relaxing in his office ch

Is it an impossible task? Christmas is on the horizon and holiday cheer (and parties!) is all around. Whether your office closes down over the seasonal period or you have to work through it, it can be quite tricky to stay focused and motivated up until January!

Here are a few ways you can keep your motivation levels up this holiday season:

Plan your time off in advance

It might be a little late for this one but having a clear idea on when you’ll be out of the office will help you organise and prioritise your days at work. Give yourself a few days off to enjoy the fun of the holiday season, time with family, or to sneak in a little extra shopping before Christmas, you’ve earned it!

Set out your goals for the weeks ahead

 If you do have time off planned then it’s critical that you understand what needs to be done and when. Give yourself clear goals and targets to reach by January; this way you’ll be in a good position to set out your daily to-do list.

Communicate!

We can’t emphasise the importance of communication enough. Make sure your team know when you’ll be in the office, when you’ll be out, and how long you’ll be gone for. In addition it’s important that you understand what each team member is taking care of – it is a flu season so you never know when someone will be unexpectedly out of the office! Use your shared calendars, have weekly meetings and don’t worry about over-communicating – there’s no such thing.

Indulge a little

Make sure you’re taking the time to indulge in the season – head out to those holiday parties! If your office is more relaxed you can try and build your social schedule around your work as well; if you have loads of friends to catch up with then take an extra-long lunch break to squeeze in all those social obligations.

 Bring some cheer into the office

 It can be a bit depressing being stuck in an office when there’s so much fun going on outside. By bringing some of this cheer into the office you’ll be able to enjoy the season without compromising on your work – hang fairy lights, play some holiday music or arrange a Secret Santa. There are loads of ways to enjoy the holidays in the office!

Don’t let work get you down during the holidays! It’s important that you do your best to remain focused while still enjoying the time of year. Remember the golden rule – work hard, play hard!

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