5 tips to manage your workload in the holiday season

5 tips to manage your workload in the holiday season

Summer is just around the corner (hopefully!), and our thoughts begin to drift off to warmer climates, drinks around the pool and time away from the workplace.

But first you have to get through the piles of paperwork on your desk, emails in your inbox and the dozens of post it notes you have stuck on your computer screen. The stress and struggle of doing all this can make you think ‘Is it even worthwhile going away?’.

The answer is ‘Yes’ and it is important that you do, not just to unwind the mind but to also release some stress from the body.  As we enter into the holiday period, our blog this week gives you 5 suggestions on how to successfully manage your workload in the holiday season.

Act now so panic doesn’t set in
Unless you booked a last minute deal, you will have known well in advance when you are going away. Use this time to plan and put into place measures that will help with the workflow during the holiday season. If you don’t plan ahead you could find yourself getting into a blind panic and making hasty decisions.

Communicate with others
If you work in a team everybody should be aware when people are away. If you don’t have a company / team calendar it is a good idea to create one. It lets people see when members of the team are away and lets them know that they might be needed to other peoples workload. Thrusting tasks upon them at the last minute is not far to them and could lead to their own work suffering .

If you work for yourself, make your clients aware of the dates that you will be away. Tell them what you can achieve before you go. Don’t be afraid to be honest with them about this; don’t promise things you know you can’t deliver on.

Turn on your ‘out of office’ notification and add a message about how the email will be dealt with. You may not be able to help them there and then but you can manage their expectations.

Decide what the top tasks are
Like most of us you probably have 20 things that needed completing like yesterday. In reality it may not be the case but it certainly feels like it. Take 5 minutes to properly look through your worklist and arrange it based on: what needs doing before the holiday, what can be done by others (if possible) and what can wait for when you get back. Then, focus on the ‘what needs doing before I go away’ list.

Block out distractions
When we feel stressed we find it easy to go into ‘flight mode’ and shy away from the things that are making us feel this way. Use the thought of the holiday as a tool to focus your mind on what needs doing and block out distracting thoughts and people!.

Remember Arnie’s saying “I’ll be back”
In 1 or 2 weeks’ time you will be back to work (unless you have won the lottery and are going on a lifelong holiday) and can pick up on anything that wasn’t urgent or you didn’t get time to finish before you went.

As a final thought, consider putting together a plan for how you are going to get through the first day back at work. Think about setting aside blocks of time to go through your emails and phone messages and catch up with colleagues or clients.

Demand for contractors reaches new heights

Demand for contractors has increased in the UK over the past few months as businesses attempt to navigate their way through the skills shortage, according to a new report.

New survey data by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) reveals that vacancies across the financial services sector are particularly strong, rising by as much as 85 per cent over the past 12 months alone.

Overall, there has been a seven per cent increase in contractor vacancies during this period.

The increase in contractor volume suggests that the economy is stable, despite warnings from George Osborne in his latest Budget announcement.

With this in mind, contractors should ensure they are being proactive in advertising their skills and seeking out opportunities to show that they can add value to clients.

We look at how contractors can stay ahead of the crowds in the competitive job market:

The CV is not dead
When LinkedIn launched back in May 2003 people soon surmised that this would be the end of the CV. This turned out to incorrect, CV’s are just as important now as they were before LinkedIn came on the scene. What has changed is how CV’s need to be written. Recruitment firms and the hiring departments of large organisations are increasingly using software that scans CV’s for predefined keywords. These words include skills, experience’s and personal attributes that the candidate will need in order to do the job. If your CV doesn’t contain these words it won’t be picked out. Our article ‘Golden Nugget: CV advice for contractors’ explains this in more detail.

If you are not online you don’t exist
Having a presence online is essential; recruiters are increasingly using social media channels to find candidates. It might surprise you to know that this includes Twitter and Facebook as well as LinkedIn. So whilst having an up to date searchable profile is essential, it also matters what content you are posting onto your profiles.  Photos of your last holiday are great for your friends to see but maybe not for your potential boss.

It is possible with Facebook to select who can see certain posts. You can do this by logging into your Facebook account and changing it through your settings page.  Keep this in mind when you are posting pictures from your latest night out. You never know who might be looking at them.

Use the right resources
Registering your details and CV with job boards and agencies is the final step after you have created your spell-binding CV and online profile. There are hundreds of job boards and thousands of agencies out there. So how do you know which are the right ones to use? This is a tricky question to answer, our advice is to use a mixture of both generalist and specialist job boards. It costs you nothing to add your details onto these sites and the more presence you have on these sites the greater chance you have of getting contacted.

Secondly, ask your friends and colleagues for personal recommendations on which recruitment agencies to use. Many agencies talk the talk but often fail on delivering. A personal recommendation from a friend or colleague will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Networking online and offline is a great way to find out what is happening in the job market and to find out who is hiring. Take time out every so often to re-connect with past colleagues and university alumni to discuss what they have been up to and where they are working now. A 10 minute conversation could land you your next lucrative contract.

If you are new to the contract market or a seasoned pro and need the advice from experts who know the contractor market inside out, give us a call today on 0208 952 2234 and we will be delighted to talk through any tax or accountancy questions you may have.