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Working From Home is Hard Work

Working From Home is Hard Work

Though working from home (WFH) is not a new concept to many people – it’s a practice that has been gaining in popularity over the last number of years – however, many of us were given no choice but to work from home due to Covid-19 and we learned working from home is hard work.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us appreciate the opportunity our employers have offered to continue to earn a wage throughout this crisis. Many, like me, have come to prefer working from home, though it isn’t ideal for everyone.

Perhaps you are simply more extroverted and prefer to interact with other people or you may not have the space for a separate office.  My “office” is the corner of my living room but as it’s just me and Arthur (my cat) it works very well.

However, if you have family at home, having a desk in the corner may not be ideal.  You’re going to have to make more of an effort to concentrate no matter how supportive your family is!

And for others, while they may be able to get much of their work done from home, their job would be much easier in an office setting.

But, even those of us that have taken to WFH like ducks to water, there are days when it’s difficult to power through for eight hours.

Whether it’s from feeling under the weather or suffering from lack of sleep or just “one of those days”, there will be times when you find it difficult to stay focused.  And that’s okay. There’s many ways to break up your work day into chunks of time that will allow you to still get work done while relieving some of the pressure.  Because, let’s face it, our employers are entrusting us to work from home and that trust should not be abused.  I’m sure that your boss also has “one of those days” as well and would likely understand.

If you’re simply having trouble adjusting to WFH, here’s a great article from MindTools to get, and keep, you on track.

If you’re really into the swing of WFH but just having the odd rough patch, below are some of my suggestions along with some professional advice to give yourself a break but still get the work done.

Exercise:

I have found that when I’ve been restless it’s not usually the work getting to me, but lack of exercise.  Now, I’m certainly no gym rat and won’t even run to catch a bus, but even I know that going from the bed to the sofa to drink my morning tea then straight to my desk isn’t a good idea.  You may not be commuting to work but you still need to have a transition from “home” to “work”.

For me, it’s walking.  I try to get out every morning for a good walk.  I’ll be honest in that there are some days when the snooze button and I are best friends, but even if you can only manage a 20 minute walk, it makes a big difference.  I try and fit in another walk after work or dinner and ideally a quick one at lunch.  I’ve even begun incorporating some stretches into my workday.  And while I may be about as graceful as an elephant in a tutu, it helps!

Here’s an article from Readers.Com that details the benefits of stretching along with some specific stretches you can do at your desk.

Give yourself a mental break:

Sometimes it’s your mind that’s tired or frustrated and you need to give it a break.

If I’m feeling frazzled or frustrated, I like to make a cup of tea and go sit on the balcony for five or ten minutes – a backyard is awesome if you have one.  Otherwise just go to another room, as long as it’s away from your desk; but be sure to leave your cell phone, laptop, iPad or whatever behind.  (Take the tea, leave the cell phone, come on, Godfather, anyone?)

The point is to just sit, be quiet and let your mind wander.  To be honest, your brain will probably focus on work. But don’t grab hold of any of it, just let it flow and you may end up with a solution to a task or problem you’ve been struggling with – or just come back to your desk a little bit calmer which really is the goal.

Here’s a fantastic article from Medium.Com on how to give your brain a break.

Finding work that isn’t “work”:

Most of us have various aspects to our jobs, so maybe take some time to do something that is still work related and of value to your employer but not the core of your job; perhaps conducting research or writing a blog!

Proper eating habits OR “Are cookies a breakfast food”?

As you have probably surmised from my comments regarding exercise, I am not anyone’s idea of a “health nut”.  However, it is important to eat proper meals at reasonably proper times.

If you’re like me, making tea in the morning is challenging enough, don’t tell me to cook breakfast – it’s just not going to happen.  Perhaps brunch but isn’t that what restaurants are usually for?

However, even I can find something healthy in the morning – instant oatmeal, whole grain toast, or if that’s still too challenging try some fruit with a small piece of hard cheese or hard boiled egg.  You can boil up enough for a few days ahead – and if that’s not your thing you can buy them already hard boiled in little plastic pouches – go figure!

Eating regularly scheduled meals will help keep you on a proper work cycle.  Let’s face it, if you’re eating lunch at 3:00 in the afternoon while WFH, are you really going to be that productive for the rest of the day?  Unless you’re one of those people that normally eat later meals – though personally, I would never last that long – I’d be “hangry” by 1:30!

Anyway, I’m not going even going to attempt to provide nutritional advice – I’m someone that firmly believes potato chips are a food group – but decent eating habits will help you stay focused, and you don’t have to take my word for it.

Here’s some advice from Harvard Medical on foods to help you stay sharp

Just remember, we’ve all had to get used to WFH and if you have those days where you struggle to stay focused, there’s ways to make working from home, well, work!

Cyber Security & Digital Transformation

Cyber Security & Digital Transformation

Rostie & Associates has always prided ourselves on recruiting for new and cutting edge technologies whether it’s Cloud, IoT or Digital Transformation, and we definitely have a penchant for recruiting in Cyber Security!

That’s why we are so pleased to see that in spite of these, shall we say, challenging times, Cyber Security and Digital Transformation are areas where companies are continuing to expand.

While remote work is a “must” during the pandemic, and will likely be more and more the norm, there is no doubt it increases risk for employers and cause cyber challenges for IT and cyber security teams.

Remote employees have become prime targets for hackers and, unfortunately, that is not likely to change any time soon.

Here is an article from New England College that expounds on the increased demand for cyber security experts.

TechGig also agrees that the need for cyber security resources will continue to grow.

And in terms of Digital Transformation, this article from Forbes clearly states that the only way forward for manufacturing firms is Digital Transformation.

eWeek even goes so far as to say that Digital Transformation is the only way for corporations to survive COVID-19.

We have been hearing about Digital Transformation for some time and even more so since COVID-19.  So just in case you’re wondering, what exactly Digital Transformation is, here is the definition as offered by Salesforce:

“… The process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This re-imagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation.”

What does a digital transformation framework look like?

Although digital transformation will vary widely based on organization’s specific challenges and demands, there are a few constants and common themes among existing case studies and published frameworks that all business and technology leaders should consider as they embark on digital transformation.

For instance, these digital transformation elements are often cited:

  • Customer experience
  • Operational agility
  • Culture and leadership
  • Workforce enablement
  • Digital technology integration

While each guide has its own recommendations and varying steps or considerations, CIOs should look for those important shared themes when developing their own digital transformation strategy.

A definition from The Agile Elephant emphasizes all the ways businesses may need to adjust their existing practices: “[Digital transformation] involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitization of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organization’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.”

And the Wikipedia definition, while vague, touches on how the effect of digital transformation extends beyond businesses to society as a whole. “Digital transformation is the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society,” it states.

If you’re in the fields of Cyber Security or Digital Transformation and looking for your next position, please contact us at Rostie & Associates to see if we can help you on your post COVID-19 journey!

Take Time to Enjoy the Little Things

Take Time to Enjoy the Little Things

This is your opportunity to take time to enjoy the little things.

Normally, my blogs focus on all that The Rostie Group and Rostie & Associates has to offer – and there’s a lot.

But today, I wanted to talk about something a little different; the importance of relaxing, especially during these difficult times.

As a recruiter I speak with a lot of people and most everyone makes the effort to deal with the day to day challenges that we’re facing and still manage to have a good chuckle about it – which is probably the best thing we can do.

However, you can frequently hear a bit of the stress or anxiety coming through.  We’re all worried about our families, our friends, and ourselves.

Even at the best of times, stress can really take a toll on our health and relationships and, unfortunately, just about every day we wake up wondering “what now”. Between COVID-19, racial injustice, and economic worries, the hits just keep on coming.

That’s why I believe it’s even more important than ever, when times are so tough, that we take a moment and breathe –  just let it all go for even a few minutes. Take time to enjoy the little things.

It doesn’t matter what it is that makes you relax or decompress, just find something that gives you a moment of peace.

It needn’t be extravagant; have a cup of tea, read a book, listen to music, or smell the flowers.

It may be a little thing, but it may be just what you need to help you get through the rest of your day.

For myself, a cup of tea, soothing music, a good book and my cat always make my day.  And I’ve been getting out everyday for a walk.  I take the side streets where it’s quieter and just enjoy the beautiful weather.

These folks certainly agree with me about pets and if you’re also a fan of our four-footed friends you may enjoy this article.

I wanted to find some advice from better minds than mine and I think these articles can help.  I hope you find them to be of interest.

This article from Natural Mindfulness explains the benefits of walking in nature – even if you can’t get to a truly natural setting, walk the side streets and smell the roses!

Here’s a great article from the University of Minnesota about how reading can relax you and lower your heart rate.

And, of course, the benefits of music are well known and documented – “music to soothe a savage beast”.

Regardless of where you find your Zen, try to find a little bit of it every day – it really makes a difference.

Wishing all the best to you and yours – and stay safe out there!

 

– Pamela Inglis, Manager Recruiting/Senior Consultant, Rostie & Associates Inc.

Your Career Path: Making the Most of a Bad Situation

Let’s face it times are tough with almost every sector having taken a massive hit, literally overnight.

No one would think you’re crazy for saying that there are no opportunities out there right now but, surprisingly, there are.

Many industries are hiring to either meet current demands or to prepare for changes going forward.

Realistically, for some people it may mean changing industries or learning new skills to adapt.

However, you may be fortunate enough to already be working in one of the industries currently hiring or planning to expand post Covid-19.

This article from The Muse lists 94 companies across a variety of industries that are currently looking to hire.

And here is some encouraging news from Business Wire and Forbes.

This article from Accenture provides some great insight regarding the effects of Covid-19 on the technology industry.

Of course we all realize these are not the “best of times”, but while conducting my own research into what types of industries are hiring and what types of positions are available,  I came across dozens of articles –  both USA and Canadian centric – far too many to list here.

But, it does show that if you are considering searching for a new position or perhaps changing careers, this may be the time to make that happen.

Just as of writing this article, Rostie & Associates has positions available for a Sales Director, Senior Software Engineer, Data Scientist, Account Executive, Senior System Administrator, Cyber Security Engineer, Cyber Security Manager and a Senior Systems and Network Engineer.

You can find more details on these and other positions, at www.rostie.com

Speaking with other recruiters confirms that, yes; companies are hiring and utilizing technologies such as Zoom, Skype, Webex, etc. to conduct interviews.

Many of the roles will be “work from home” until it is safe for them to re-open their offices.

These recruiters have also advised that they’re seeing an uptick in hiring for various types of roles in healthcare, eCommerce, Fintech and Cyber Security, just to name a few.

Of course, there are a great number of positions available in areas such as distribution.

If you are of an entrepreneurial nature, perhaps now is the time for you to go out on your own.  This article from Forbes suggests this could be the time to make it happen.

And, if you just need some encouragement, here are some success stories from Mental Floss and Business Insider that show that adversity can be turned into advantage!