4 Tips from Marie Kondo to Spark Joy at the Office

Covid-19 has forever changed the way companies operate; as we slowly transition into a post-pandemic world, the future of work for many will be splitting time between returning to an office and a home workspace.

If you’re still struggling with creating an organized and inspired workspace, these tips from Marie Kondo may help!

The New York Times best-selling author and inventor of the KonMari method of organization offer some simple steps on creating an environment that not only helps you focus but inspires your best work.

Commit to Tidying Up  

Studies prove how clutter overwhelms the brain and compromises the ability to take initiative – ultimately decreasing productivity.

First, identify all essential items needed to get your work done and designate a spot for them. Then, move all unrelated items off your workspace and add one thing that sparks joy when you look at it. This simple step will create a calm and uncluttered workspace and offer a creative and productive boost.

Just think about all the time you’ll save looking for things in an uncluttered workspace.

Imagine your Ideal Workspace

Regardless of the size of your office, it’s essential to ask yourself,

“How do you want to work?”

“What’s your ideal workday like in this space?”

Having that mental image as a goal is very important in creating a space that functions best for you and your needs.

Create Daily Rituals

Before opening that laptop and starting your workday, take a moment to center yourself. Kondo says this will help get you into a “work” mindset, especially working from home. Kondo adds. “I strike a tuning fork and diffuse essential oils to signal to my body that I’m switching gears.”

You can also create a routine to signal an end to your workday. Try turning off notifications, turning on some music, and putting your laptop away, so you’re not tempted to answer one more email.

Schedule Downtime

We tend to take more breaks when we’re working from an office compared to working from home. Who else finds themselves barely leaving their chair on a WFH day?

To avoid burnout, schedule your downtime. “Block out windows in your calendar each week to turn off notifications, take a walk, or simply let your mind wander. Your creativity will be replenished, and your brain will be sharper for it.”

And remember if there are parts of your workspace that don’t spark joy, you’re better off without it.







Workers Quit at Record Rate – August Jobs Report

After some steady improvements, August proved to be a disappointing month for the economy. According to the latest data released by the Labor Department, workers’ left their jobs at record levels. In addition, job creation for August was significantly less than experts forecasted.

The quits rate — the measurement of workers who leave jobs voluntarily — reached a record high of 2.9% in August, with 4.3 million people departing their positions.

The number of job availabilities fell 5.9% in August compared to July — a month with a record level of openings — but remained up to 61.8% compared to August 2020.

Employment rose by 235,000; the Labor Department reported was well below what economists had expected and made August one of the weakest months for hiring since the recovery began more than a year ago.

The slower growth may reflect ongoing concerns about the Delta variant.

“Delta is reducing consumer demand and threatening the reopening,” said Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao. “Ultimately, it’s just a harsh reminder that the pandemic has control of our destiny,” he told CNN Business.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added an average of 350,000 jobs a month for the last six months, was level in August, as restaurants, bars, and other foodservice establishments shed 42,000 jobs, offsetting some gains made by arts, entertainment, and recreation facilities. Retail lost 29,000 jobs.

Job growth in August was driven by 74,000 positions added in professional and business services, 40,000 in private education, and 37,000 in manufacturing.

Data Among the Top Rising C-suite Roles

What C-suite roles are the most in-demand? The latest LinkedIn research analysis over 12 months (from September 2020 through August 2021) shows that while the traditional “big 3” chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer, several other C-suite titles have surged over the past year.

The most significant gains were seen in chief diversity & inclusion officers and saw the most intense hiring push in a 111% surge, which is even faster than the previous year. Other top titles are a chief underwriting officer and chief people officer, which grew by +71% and +61% in those 12 months.

Rounding out the top-10 — chief data officer (+29%) has gained popularity in the past decade. NewVantage Partners’ Big Data Executive Survey found that 57% of senior Fortune 1000 business and technology decision-makers said their organization had appointed a chief data officer.

In general, this trend reflects a recognition that data is an important business asset worthy of management by a senior executive. It’s also an acknowledgment that data and technology — the latter usually managed by a CIO or Chief Technology Officer — are not the same and need different management approaches.

Thus, the CDO’s role has drastically evolved. The CDO is not only responsible for maintaining regulatory compliance and potentially increasing efficiencies – the CDO could be the essential member of the leadership team other than the CEO.

Harnessing the power of data in digital transformation will be imperative for most organizations going forward. AI, ML, and data analytics are no longer buzz words only for tech and finance, and every successful organization will pivot towards viewing data as an asset.

The CDO role has become notoriously hard to stay in. The average tenure of CDOs is just two to two-and-a-half years.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. One successful CDO imparted two pieces of advice: 1) Start with a clear connection to business strategy with tangible examples of how data analytics can drive business outcomes (top line, bottom line, cash, stewardship), and 2) lead with 1-2 forward-thinking business partners to demonstrate what is possible. Those partners become the change agents across the organization.

Creating a consistent pipeline of candidates for practically any C-suite title that’s rising in demand becomes a challenge, especially for start-ups. Internal talent development can’t keep pace. Companies trying to find the right new leader in a hurry are wise to work with an experienced recruiter who has access to a nationwide talent pool like the team at Innova People.


Power Nap Your Way to Increased Productivity

Many of us experience that afternoon dip in energy; you know, the one that hits you sometime between one and three o clock. Luckily there’s an easy alternative to curb that crash that involves taking a catnap instead of reaching for another caffeinated beverage.

Research shows that naps improve our brain’s day-to-day performance. Naps reduce sleepiness, increase alertness, and improve reaction time, coordination, logical reasoning, memory consolidation, symbol recognition, mood, and emotion regulation. Healthy adults who take naps regularly enjoy brighter spirits, find it easier to learn and remember. And are less sensitive to negative emotions like fear and anger.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 30 minutes or less of catnapping can “restore alertness, enhance performance and boost mood and cognitive performance.” A 20-minute nap appears to hit the sweet spot, giving you the right amount of time that allows your body to power down and reboot. Be careful with napping too long; longer naps aren’t recommended because you fall into a deeper sleep, making it difficult to awaken feeling refreshed.

Some businesses have caught on because of the benefits. NASA pilots take in-flight naps as short as 26 minutes to enhance performance and alertness by 34% and a 16% increase in reaction time. More companies encourage employees to take power naps during the workday, like Nike and Thrive Global, Inc. provide unique rooms with specially designed chairs to catch some ZZ’s.

Powernap like a pro

Here are ways to get the most out of your next power nap, whether you are back in an office or working from home.

Pick your time and duration.

Most experts recommend napping at the same time every day to train your body to fall asleep at that time. Aim to rest sometime between 1 and 3 pm when most of us experience a natural energy dip.

Set your Alarm

Don’t oversleep! Set your alarm for 15 to 20 minutes to enjoy increased alertness upon waking up.

Create a Nap Space

Creating a sleep-inducing environment will increase the odds that you catch some restorative ZZZs. Make sure the room is quiet, as dark as possible, and relatively cool if you’re able. Research shows that cool, dark, and noise-free environments are most conducive to sleep.

Try a ‘Coffee Nap’

Sounds counterintuitive, right? Experts say to drink a coffee, set your alarm for 20 minutes, and sneak in your nap; the coffee will have time to start working while you sleep and give you a double shot of energy when you wake up. It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to absorb into the body and work.

Though generally beneficial, napping isn’t for everyone. Poor sleepers who have difficulty falling and staying asleep at night might want to avoid daytime snoozing. For everyone else, though, a 20-minute mid-afternoon nap could be the secret to feeling sharp, productive,  and happy throughout the day.


Hottest Job Market for Tech in Decades

The shortage of tech talent is not a new problem but has now reached a critical stage and it will be a significant challenge for businesses to find skilled talent.

Here are some impressive numbers from CompTIA:

  • In June, employers posted more than 365,000 job openings for IT workers, the highest monthly total since September 2019.
  • The positions highest in demand include software developers, IT support specialists, systems engineers, architects, and IT project managers.
  • Jobs in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, or those requiring rising tech skills accounted for 28 percent of all open positions.

Why the boom, you ask?

The Covid-19 pandemic caused an unparalleled wave of tech adoption for businesses across all industries – as companies learned to work remotely and connect with customers virtually, they essentially jammed a decade’s worth of tech adoption and digital transformation into a single whirlwind year. The same is true for consumer tech, with video game development, entertainment tech, and social platforms flourishing.

Simultaneously, remote work became the status quo in the tech industry. Suddenly, software talent could pick and choose from an extensive pool of job opportunities. All while existing talent is beginning to stray. Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trends Index found that 40 percent of workers are considering making a job change.

Companies need to step you their game to land a quality engineer beyond competitive salaries. Offering incentives like flexible hours, sign-on bonuses, and permanent remote work, the last of which has become a requirement for much of the workforce. A recent report found only 17 percent of technologists wanted to work in an office full time, while 59 percent wanted remote and hybrid approaches.

Across all industries, ‘remote work’ job listings have increased 457 percent, according to recent LinkedIn data, with the tech sector a leader in job listings. Companies that fail to figure out how to offer this flexibility won’t be able to attract the talent they need.

The pandemic transformed nearly every organization into a tech company. Although the competition will be fierce for qualified tech talent, companies can start laying the groundwork now to keep their pipeline full of viable candidates.


Why You Need to Build Your Personal Brand

The swoosh on your kicks, your favorite reusable coffee flask, the laptop computer with the fruit on it. You, my friend, are branded whether you like it or not.

But we can learn from big brands about how to stand out in the crowded marketplace and help advance your career. Tom Peters breaks it down beautifully for this Fast Company piece:

Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here’s what it takes to be the CEO of Me, Inc. Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

That Instagram post, that email signature, your latest Tweet about your favorite NBA team, and how you interact with your co-workers all communicate your personal brand. Even if some of the activities are considered ‘personal,’ what you share and how you present yourself defines you professionally.

When consistency occurs between what you say and what you do, authenticity and credibility emerge, making you a reliable teammate and supportive colleague. Like any brand, your own will also come with expectations and clearly communicate your values, skills, and personality. Personal branding is about leaving a mental and preferably lasting impression in the mind of others, which positions you and makes you stand out from the crowd.

  • What impression do you people experience when they first met you?
  • What sort of imprint do you leave behind?
  • How do others perceive you?

Your network of friends, colleagues, clients and customers are the most critical marketing tool you’ve got; what others say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand.

Start by looking at what makes you different and lean into those traits. Even look at your mentors and ask yourself what it is about them you admire?

Then put yourself out there some more to create more exposure for yourself – teach a class or do some freelance work, write a piece for your professional newsletter, get on a panel discussion….are you getting the idea?

No matter where you are at on your personal branding journey, Peters emphasizes four things you must measure yourself against.

  1. First, you’ve got to be a great teammate and a supportive colleague.
  2. Second, you’ve got to be an exceptional expert at something that has real value.
  3. Third, you’ve got to be a broad-gauged visionary — a leader, a teacher, a farsighted “Imagineer.”
  4. Fourth, you’ve got to be a businessperson — you’ve got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes.

Now go take charge of the brand called You.