Foliotek Blog

Work Remotely: Change Up Your Workspace

My gray walls stare back at me as I try to digest the latest series of emails flooding my inbox. Sure, I have a swivel chair, three monitors, and a fan blowing a light breeze at my feet, but I’m still having trouble getting my brain to focus. Working 40 hours a week in the same workspace can occasionally hinder my ability to think outside the box, so I like to switch it up to something new: a change in scenery.

Don't get me wrong; the daily hum of overhead lights and the sound of support representatives on the phone around the corner isn’t a bad thing. Having certain lights and sounds that are familiar can be extremely helpful in establishing a productive routine. But by getting away from my traditional desk and into a different space, both my body and brain get a breath of fresh air.

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A few of my favorite places to hide out and bury myself into my work are nearby coffee shops like Kaldi's Coffee or Starbucks, Peace Park on Mizzou's campus, and sometimes even just a conference room at the office. If you’re not able to take your work and get away, I highly suggest at least taking a break from your workspace. Take a lap around the block to get some fresh air (if it's too cold outside, do a few laps around the office) or stand up and do a few stretches to get your blood flowing again. Sometimes even just changing your position or height of your office chair can give your body a break from the usual positioning.

Most importantly, stay engaged! No matter where you are, focus on getting your work done as efficiently and effectively as you do when you’re in the office. Remember: the purpose of getting away every now and then is to reinvigorate your mind, not to distract it!

Good luck, and enjoy your new workspaces!


3 Things to Learn from Your Part-Time Job

"You have to start somewhere." We've all heard that saying and it's true. Most people don't become CEO of a multi-billion dollar company overnight. Just ask Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett; his first job was delivering newspapers. Now look at him!

Some might think delivering papers is a menial job that has no connection to his current position as CEO. But my guess is that Mr. Buffett learned quite a bit from his days as a paperboy.
alt For most of us, our 'starting somewhere' involves a part-time job during high school or college. Maybe it's babysitting, flipping burgers, waiting tables, or making copies. It's easy to see these jobs as insignificant, something to just pay the bills or generate a little fun money. But I think those part-time jobs are more than that. In many cases, it's our first experience working in the real world. We get to see how businesses operate. We'll have good experiences and bad ones. But most of all, it's our opportunity to develop some key employment skills and get a sense of what we might want out of our dream job. So, during your next shift at your part-time gig, be thinking about these three things:

WORK ETHIC

Your work ethic is part of your personal brand. In fact, one of my colleagues wrote a blog post that explains how everything you do affects your personal brand. Therefore, you shouldn't take it lightly ... especially since a strong work ethic is a trait that employers will look for when hiring a new employee. Your part-time job provides the opportunity for you to build this characteristic: don't cut corners, do everything to the best of your ability, meet deadlines, look for things that need to be done and do them (even if they're not in your job description) and go above and beyond to surpass expectations. Remember that your current boss could be a great reference when interviewing for your next position, so make a lasting impact.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Chances are, your part-time job requires you to communicate with other people either verbally or in writing. This is great news because communication is one of the top skills wanted by employers!
alt Utilize this opportunity to develop your communication skills (which includes listening). Do some research, read this article, pay close attention in your COMM classes and apply what you learn in the workplace. If you learn how to speak and write professionally, you'll be one step closer to your dream job.

WORK ENVIRONMENT

Be aware of your surroundings and how you respond to them. Are you energized after a busy lunch rush at the burger joint or are you drained? Do you enjoy working inside or outside? Working with others or alone? What about management style? Are you a self-starter or do you prefer instruction from others? Noticing how you react to these aspects of your work environment can help you choose a career path that is the perfect fit. Make a pros and cons list for your current work environment, identify your must-haves and look for them when searching for your dream job. A fun quiz like this one can also help you think about what work environment is ideal for you.

No matter what part-time job you have, whether it relates to your major or not, there is something to learn. And when you learn it, share it. When you have experiences that develop your skills (gracefully dealing with a difficult customer, juggling a variety of tasks, writing professional emails), create a Foliotek project and put it on your ID page or ePortfolio. When you're ready to start your career, these are the stories you should share with potential employers.

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