Making the Most of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here! Times of good cheer, holiday parties (at the office and friends’ homes), gift purchasing and giving/receiving….and a GREAT time to finally get some work done!

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Work in December often slows down as you and your colleagues think ahead to the 25th. That’s why this month can be a terrific time to focus on what you need to do to improve your skill sets, catch up on networking, revamp your resume, and so on.

Take a look below for how to use the slower days at work this month to improve your job/career prospects.

  1. Use holiday parties to best networking advantage.

While you won’t want to network blatantly for new job opportunities at your office/professional parties, you will want to ask people what they do for a living, maybe talk shop if it interests you and (most importantly) get their contact information so that you can follow up with them later.

Just about everyone is in a great mood at holiday parties and well may be in a “giving” mood, so don’t be shy about asking to meet later.

(Important tip: don’t drink too much – or at all – at your company’s holiday hullabaloo or at networking events. It may be a party, but you’re there in a professional capacity.)

In fact, instead of “networking,” think of the parties as a way to make new or build upon existing relationships. Relationships, after all, are what truly make the world go round, whether in our personal or professional lives.

  1. Update your resume to include recent accomplishments.

The slower times could be the perfect opportunity to update your resume. However, while it may be slower at work, be very careful: don’t write your resume at work. Don’t print it out there, either. Take notes, writing them down for working at home later when you’ll do the actual revamping.

You may be too busy when home with holiday preparations (why is it the holidays seem so jam packed at home but slow at work….) but if you have time off between December 25 and January 1, use the quiet break in the hubbub to think about what you want to accomplish professionally in the coming year.

  1. Updated your skills.

If things are slow at work, ask your boss if you could take an online course, certificate program, etc. during office hours. Your boss/company may be happy to pay/help pay for these courses. If not, there are many free ones online.

  1. Look for work.

If the idea of returning to this particular employer in 2019 is ruining the holidays for you, start looking for a new opportunity (during your off hours, of course)! It’s a big myth that “no one hires during the holidays.” Instead, hiring managers often have to fill empty positions before the end of the year or they lose their budget for the positions (the ol’ “use it or lose it” budget policy).

So, go ahead: enjoy this lovely time of year, full of hope and good feelings. And consider extending those great feelings for yourself by contacting the Helpmates branch nearest you and registering as one of our associates. We look forward to meeting you!

Should You Start a Telecommuting Program?

Employees tend to love being able to work remotely/telecommute. In fact, it’s a sought-after employee benefit for candidates and offering it as a perk of employment definitely can help attract top talent.

But it’s not always a win-win for a company – or even for the worker.

Take a look below for the pros and cons for of a telecommuting program for both a company and its workers.

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Pros for the Employer

As mentioned above, offering flexible work schedules (including telecommuting) definitely can help a company become an employer of choice. In fact, many people say they would leave a current employer for another that offered a telecommuting perk.

Companies with a national/regional presence can save considerably on overhead, as they no longer will need to rent or lease office space, furniture and equipment for employees who work from a company’s headquarters.

Employees who telecommute do tend to be more engaged and productive.

Telecommuting Pros for Employees

Being able to work where employees want allows much more flexibility in their personal lives. For example, workers could work late at night and then take a parent or child to a planned doctor’s appointment the next morning without losing time “at work.”

Telecommuting can improve employee productivity because workplace interruptions are greatly reduced. There are fewer meetings to attend, no one stopping by a desk “just to chat,” and so on.

Employees can eat healthier (no access to the donuts in the break room) and exercise more (workers could go for a run/walk or to the gym instead of commuting to work). They could volunteer at a child’s lunch party at school.

All of the above adds up to telecommuting’s biggest perk of all: having more control over one’s day-to-day schedule.

The Problems with Telecommuting for Employers.

As terrific as telecommuting workers can be for companies, there are some problems inherent within it:

Employees can take advantage of their telecommuting situation.

Workplaces can lose the collaboration and camaraderie that often occurs when everyone is in close proximity to each other. There will be no brainstorming meetings together and ideas simply don’t seem to flow as easily when people “meet” via video chat.

Cybercriminals can take advantage of employee connections from home computers. Unless employers provide completely secure Internet access, companies may be putting private and/or proprietary information at risk of theft.

Why Telecommuting May Not Be as Great as Employees Think

Telecommuters do report feelings of isolation. This may not be a problem for those with families, but it can be a real problem for many people. Many of those who telecommute say they miss the camaraderie of being around colleagues they enjoy.

When it comes to promotions, etc.: out of sight out of mind. It’s true. In fact, one study found that half of those who worked from home  asked to return to the office due to loneliness and a sense that they were missing out on promotion and career opportunities.

If your company does decide to start a telecommuting program, make sure you set regular check-in opportunities for employees and their managers. Make expectations as to deliverables and how often employees need to check in explicit from the very beginning. You may also want to require that employees travel to the office at least once a week.

You also want to make sure telecommuting employees have an extremely secure Internet connection.

If you’re a company located other than Southern California and are looking for workers in the Anaheim or Los Angeles area, contact Helpmates to help you vet and place top talent. Contact us for more information.

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