Has the recent Coronavirus Pandemic resulted in you having to work from home? Are you worried that you will find it hard to stay motivated while working remotely? Here are our top tips to ensure you can stay motivated and productive without heading into the office. A vast number of UK workers have started to work from home this week as a result of the current Coronavirus Pandemic, many of whom may never have worked remotely before. Remote working can be a challenging thing to do, but it is useful to get used to as more-and-more jobs become home based or require an element of working from home. At home you are more likely to be distracted by your surroundings, and it can often result in an un-productive and de-motivating working environment, something you definitely want to avoid. It is therefore hugely important that businesses and workers do all they can to ensure productivity remains high during this unprecedented time. We sat down with Senior Manager and legal recruitment specialist Michael Bailey to find out how he stays motivated and productive while working from home. Get up, get dressed and stay in a routine! This may seem obvious, but I am almost certain a lot of people that are currently working from home for whatever reason will simply sit around in pyjamas or comfy clothing – something a lot of people often dream about. Whilst this is a novelty at first and fine on the odd occasion, it can have a huge impact on your motivation to get work done. When I am at home I ensure I get up, have a shower and get dressed. Now, this doesn’t necessarily need to be what you would usually wear to work, but getting up and out of what you were sleeping in will ensure you remain in a regular routine – even if you simply change into a t-shirt and jeans. If you really want to stay in the same routine as going to work you might also want to take a brief morning walk and use this as your ‘commute to the office’ – especially if you are used to travelling to work on a daily basis. Not only will this wake you up, it can help you get your brain into gear and ready to start work. Getting changed and sticking to a routine will give you the motivation to get your tasks done, which is something that is hugely important when working from home. Take regular breaks and have a walk You know what it feels like to be stuck in your office for too long – it can be draining and incredibly demotivating, especially if you don’t take any breaks and are particularly busy. The same will apply when working from home. I often find that working from home can be more tiring as many of us have external distractions to deal with as well as the day-to-day; the dog, kids or even housework can play on your mind. For that reason, you should set some time where you can go for a walk – even if you are in self isolation, as long as you stay a safe distance from other people. Think about taking a brief walk around the street or go out into the garden and get some fresh air. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you can step away from your work, and take a few minutes to yourself. It will really help you recharge and give you a much needed boost to get on with the rest of your day. You also need to take breaks throughout the day. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, take a full hour for lunch and stretch when you can. All of these things will aid your mood and ensure you can work to the best of your ability. Leave work at work, and home at home If you are due to work from home for a prolonged period of time it is likely you will have set up a space for you to work somewhere in your house – if you haven’t I advise that you do. Giving yourself a distinct office space, and setting boundaries between work and home will be essential – especially if you are going to be working from home regularly or for a long period of time. You should also try to stick to regular business hours and know when to switch off, otherwise you might end up working much longer hours, which won’t be good for your health, productivity or morale. Keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family Working from home and social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stop all contact – far from it. We all need social interaction to keep us sane, so it is hugely important that you stay in regular contact with your team, friends and family while working from home. Working in a sales role I know how important this is for my team. That is why we have committed to have at least three video calls per day to catch up and share success. Staying in all day without speaking to anyone can impact your mental and physical wellbeing, so it is important to get as much social interaction as you can. If you haven’t got the option to speak to colleagues, then think about setting some time to speak to a friend at lunchtime, or when you are taking a coffee break. The important thing here is don’t overcompensate. You want to remain productive, so schedule calls at times that suit your workload, and keep them brief. You don’t want to get caught up talking and not have enough time to complete the work you need to do. Get the right equipment Remote working doesn’t mean you need to forgo all of the equipment you rely on to do your job. Make sure you have everything you need at home to stay productive and continue working as normal. If that means you need to ask your employer for some adjustments, so be it. Your employer has a duty of care to ensure you can physically do your work at home, so ask for anything you think you will need. You might also want to invest in a laptop stand and take home your mouse and keyboard. Not only will this ensure your equipment feels familiar, it will also help your wellbeing long-term saving you from arm, back and neck ache – trust me, it works! If you are working from home and would like some advice or need more ideas on how to stay motivated while working remotely then get in touch, we would be more than happy to talk to you.
On Tuesday 17 July 2018 we hosted our first ever candidate appreciation and recognition event at Rotunda Bar and Restaurant in King’s Cross which was kindly sponsored by Giant, Danbro and Walker Smith Global. We hosted the event as a way of saying thank you and recognising the hard work that our candidates have put in over the past year. Over 30 of our locum candidates attended the event and enjoyed an afternoon of drinks and food in the sun whilst networking and relaxing with like-minded legal professionals. As a business we are committed to ‘putting people first’ and events like this are a great way for us to give back to our candidates for the excellent work they do day in day out. In the hustle and bustle of daily life it is often easy to forget how important a simple thank you can be valued. By hosting events like this we are not only able to say thank you to our candidates but we are also able to build strong working relationships. We believe that recognising our candidates and the work that they do is essential for motivation and helps us build up long and lasting relationships with them, which is crucially important for us as a business. We pride ourselves on building and maintaining these strong working relationships to fulfil the best outcome for both our candidates and the firms that we work with. Relationships cultivate loyalty, build trust and form long lasting connections with each of our candidates. This event gave us the opportunity not only to say a simple thank you to our candidates but to also show that we are keen to go above and beyond for the excellent work that they do. We also try to align everything we do with our company values which are Respect, Passionate and Engaging and this event allowed to show those values to our loyal candidate base. The BBQ allowed us to engage on a more personal level, showing that we are passionate about what we do and how we assist to find the correct role. We were able to engage in great conversation and build up the mutual respect needed to build long-standing relationships. The evening also showed our candidates how much we respect their input into how we secure them roles and the values that we follow. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that was involved in setting this event up and of course to our candidates for attending the BBQ on the evening. We hope everyone who joined us had a fantastic evening, we are already looking forward to planning our next candidate recognition event in 2019. If you are interested in finding out more about the vacancies that we are currently recruiting for or our future events, please contact me for more information.
“The destiny of [Google’s search engine] is to become that Star Trek computer, and that’s what we are building.” - Amit Singhal, Google In 2013, Slate published an article entitled “Where no search engine has gone before” all about Google’s obsession with building the Star Trek computer. It’s an interesting read, talking about the idea of having a conversation with a machine - speaking, not typing - and having it give you the right answer every time. In fact, the computer might even anticipate what you need. It’s not just Google, though - Alexa, the assistant built into Amazon’s Echo device will tell you “I want to be the computer from Star Trek!” if you ask it “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and, as Ars Technica explains, the iPad and the Apple Watch very closely resemble handheld devices used across the different Star Trek series and films. The people designing our digital future are Trekkies, bought into not only its hopefulness about the future of humanity, but also the way in which its technology operates. For anyone who’s never watched Star Trek (surely this must be a small number, even amongst non-Trekkies?), the crewmen and women on the U.S.S. Enterprise can operate their ship’s computer either by voice or via a screen. The computer can answer questions, control systems and ship’s functions (lights, temperature, engines, etc.), access data and carry on a conversation even as a person moves from room to room. The computer is also accessible via a portable, handheld device similar in size and shape to smartphone. When you think about the way we search now, and the array of devices controlled by voice and by a basic AI, technology (and Google in particular) has come a long way towards giving us that experience of the Star Trek computer. Google has an assistant that you can address vocally. It can thread conversations (to a point), meaning you can ask follow up questions without having to re-use the trigger word (OK, Google), and they recently published some research into how they are developing technology that can better understand the intent of searchers’ queries so that they can produce more accurate results. This will be done by analysing the answers and comparing the different questions that may seem different but produce similar responses, as opposed to questions that sound the same, but need different answers. The most recent statistics suggest that 40% of adults use voice search regularly - whether you’re talking to Siri on your iPhone, Cortana on your Surface, Alexa through your Echo or the Google Home Assistant on your Android device or through a Google Home speaker. Certainly, being able to speak to a fairly intelligent computer has come a long way. When we’re not speaking into our devices to find the nearest coffee shop, the most convenient movie times or speaking to a customer service chatbot on Facebook, we’re queuing up to gain access to Amy, the AI personal assistant built by x.ai to schedule meetings for us busy office workers. Using this technology you can CC Amy into your email chain and she will take over the correspondence to set up appointments for you. And then there’s Rankbrain, the AI which is reordering search results for Google. Even the team behind the search engine can’t explain why Rankbrain makes the decisions it makes. They’ve taught it what a “good” SERP (search engine results page) looks like and now it makes its own choices, based on what it thinks you want. If the end goal of the companies driving our digital future is to create an AI that provides the experience of using the Star Trek computer, then they’re getting ever closer. The voice assistants of today don’t always have the perfect answer - they get their results from search engines or other human-built resources - but that is why Google has been building its Knowledge Graph for years, in order to understand entities (a person, a place, a brand or even a concept or the characteristics of any of these things - any sort of thing that we can describe and discuss), the relationships between entities and to classify facts. However, with 16% of the queries typed (or spoken) into Google each day being completely new, Google will need to get far better at understanding context as well as at answering difficult questions, such as when someone is posing a philosophical or situational question, rather than asking for a fact. For this, Google will need a far-improved AI. Tim Urban, from the superb Wait But Why blog, writes about a third party survey of hundreds of scientists that returned a result giving 2040 as the median year when we might see an AI that is as intelligent as a human. To reach superhuman intelligence? It could be hours after that, or years (and this is a fascinating subject in itself - the 2-part series on Wait But Why is worth the hour or two it takes to read, and it will delight and terrify you in equal measure). Assuming what Google, or Amazon or Apple, really needs in order to build a Star Trek computer is an AI capable of human-levels of intelligence with access to a large search index - and the ability to interpret the context of the questions and critically assess all the information to which it has access in order to deliver a coherent answer - then we’re perhaps not that far off. In the meantime, simply being able to adjust our heating while out of the house, or ask our phone for directions while we’re driving is futuristic enough to be getting on with. This guest article was written by Mindy Gofton, Head of Marketing Strategy & Innovation at I-COM, a full-service digital agency based in Manchester.
This week marks 70 years since the NHS was founded at Trafford General Hospital in Manchester. To celebrate we asked our public sector Recruitment Consultants what it is they love about this national institution. The NHS saves lives every day - Managing Director Jo Sellick "I love the NHS because so many people would not be here without it. Each and every one of us will have had some help from the NHS, and will know someone that has been saved as a result of the treatment they offer." The NHS is principles led - Manager Helen Dodds "I love the NHS because of the principles it stands for. The founding principle of the NHS was to be free at the point of use, and funded solely by tax. This still stands true today, 70 years after its inception which is an amazing feat for any organisation." The NHS is the UK’s single largest employer - Associate Director Abigail Day "I love the NHS because it provides so many people with a long and rewarding career. It is the largest employer in the UK and the fifth largest worldwide, employing over 1.2 million people." The NHS provides the best specialist care and innovation - Manager Mark Croston "I love the NHS because of the specialist care everyone receives. The NHS provides some of the highest quality healthcare in the world and has experts that specialise in a variety of fields. Some of the most ground-breaking medical achievements have been achieved by the NHS including the first lung, liver and heart transplant." The NHS is a national institution - Principal Consultant Stephanie Tasker "I love the NHS because it is a national institution. The NHS is known worldwide, and is world renowned. People from across the world envy our NHS and we should treasure it each and every day." These are just some of the reasons why we think the NHS is so important. Please let us know what you think by Tweeting us at @SellickGroup or send an email to email@example.com.