Millennial Trends: Create a Workplace That Works for You

When people talk about Millennials, they see them as a generation dependent on cell phones, always on the go and very aware of environmental issues. But realistically, this description is applicable to almost anybody in the modern, civilised world. What distinguishes Millennials from others is the fact that they know how to use the new technologies to their advantage and they use the availability of the vast knowledge online to be informed and involved in important issues.

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Thus the workplace has evolved not only to suit their needs but also to be a better environment and more oriented towards the human factor.

Work and fun go together

It’s not unheard of that you can have fun in the workplace. But usually that means that you do the job you love, and more and more it means that you need some time to relax and reset during work hours. Many companies practice this way of thinking by having recreational areas where workers can play board and video games, read books and other literature in the specially designed nooks and use some of the stress-relief techniques, such as barefoot walking on the grass, gardening or yoga. Some companies even have masseurs on staff and psychologists.

Flexible work schedule

If your company can allocate the time and resources, try implementing flexible working hours. If it’s too much trouble, then try a flexible start of the workday. For example, if you usually work from 9 a.m., then allow for employees to arrive between 9 and 11. Not everyone is a morning person and this flexibility can contribute to a great extent to the productivity of your workers and their satisfaction with their job.

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Listen to their ideas and opinions

As a generation which uses the Internet for research and to be up-to-date with happenings in the world, their ideas might bring new perspectives and approaches. Sometimes they can even suggest strategies which will help you recreate your image and brand, being that they follow the newest trends when it comes to their interests and education. They are the generation that is competitive by trying to be the best in their field of expertise thanks to their diligence and dedication. So their opinions and ideas, no matter how extreme or far-fetched, are usually based on extensive research and observations.

Be transparent

Every employee wants to know what the goals and objectives of their employer are. Also, they would like to know where they stand in that organisation and how their work contributes to the company’s success. But the difference between Millennials and other employees is that they are going to leave if they think that you are doing something behind their back and at their expense. The fact is that you should expect nothing less from the generation growing up in an evolved society which is well aware of all the violations of human rights and is not afraid to voice their disagreement and outrage.

Technology

Millennials are very well educated on what technology you need and how it operates, and they can be a positive example to other employees how to modernise their everyday workload and provide better results. Another aspect of Millennials’ work habits is that they don’t waste time and energy on everyday verbal communication, but preferably stay in touch with all their co-workers and team members via software like Skype, for example. This way the place is not a problem for performing tasks and work-related activities, and therefore the productivity doesn’t suffer.

Office design

Millennials attribute great value to the look of their office space since they are supposed to spend a big portion of their day there. Their ideal office is collaborative with no walls, open and promoting interaction between employees. This doesn’t mean that privacy should be excluded or replaced. Also, Millennials are more prone to bright places, but will always choose windows with direct sunlight protection such as custom made curtains made by Eiffel for example, since they don’t like anything preventing them from doing their jobs to the best of their ability.

In the end

It’s important to recognise everything listed here not as something Millennials need in order to work for you, but what you as an employer must have to achieve maximum productivity for your company. A happy employee is a productive employee, and having Millennials on staff can only motivate others working for you to perform their duties to the best of their ability as well as to exchange knowledge and thus find the best approach to execute an old task in a new, more effective manner.

Time to Put On Your Design Thinking Cap

Why should your enterprise embrace design thinking? Design thinking employs both brain hemispheres. It uses rational, critical logic as well as creativity to focus on solutions. Adopting this methodology helps decision makers optimize their choices. It offers a way to attain better outcomes.

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This article explains why entrepreneurs should embrace this methodology to enhance decision-making.

Why Does Design Thinking Matter?

You won’t need to apply design thinking to tackle every minor obstacle, of course. Instead, you’ll want to employ this approach whenever you seek innovative answers to perplexing or challenging questions. Typical situations that call for design thinking include:

  • Unexpected market disruptions;
  • Revitalizing corporate cultures;
  • Developing new business models, and more!

By applying this methodology through a consistent, well-structured iterative cycle, you’ll discover creative ways to offer greater value to your customers. These transformations foster healthy business expansion and growth. A series of uniform steps enable this iterative paradigm to promote desired changes: (1) careful observation; (2) identifying innovation opportunities; (3) brainstorming creative solutions; (4) conducting appropriate testing and (5) refining solutions.

Putting Customers First

Design thinking revolves around placing customers in a paramount position within your business framework. Previous generations of business executives adhered to the slogan: “the customer is always right”. Implementing creative design thinking requires your enterprise to uphold a slightly different motto: “the customer always comes first.”

The process of making customers a focus of your attention involves several important steps. These considerations fit together in a holistic way:

Identify The Customer

Your enterprise must clearly identify your customers in order to develop useful innovations on their behalf. Market research assists this process.

Conduct Market Research

Market research typically entails many steps. Use this business tool to learn more about the underlying problem your product or service addresses.

Personalize The Customer Experience

Today, customers value personalized assistance. Finding ways to enhance the customization of a service or a product has benefited many small businesses recently.

Develop Measures For Success

Your enterprise needs to establish clear markers for evaluating your success in addressing customer needs. Creative design techniques can help your organization contribute tangible value if you can measure the results effectively. Determining the value of a good or service to the customer helps you achieve this vital result.

Identify Customer Problems

Design thinking involves engaging with your customers proactively. You’ll need to understand the way problems impact them and develop empathy with them to better appreciate their experience using your goods or services.

Use Ideation Techniques to Identify Problem Solutions

Ideation techniques (such as brainstorming) followed by targeted customer feedback assists many businesses. Enterprises employ these tools in devising solutions for perceived problems. Used effectively, this approach can help your design team improve the customer experience.

Produce a Prototype

You’ll want to generate prototypes to enable your team to conduct preliminary market testing, perhaps with the assistance of focus groups. Development teams may then use this information to refine prototypes.

Test And Refine Solutions

Testing and tweaking proposed solutions in an iterative process holds value. It enables you to identify ways to enhance customer satisfaction.

Towards Enhanced Collaboration

Developing a genuinely collaborative, positive organizational culture won’t replace promoting creativity and innovation with design thinking. However, by implementing this methodology, your enterprise enables collaboration to flourish. By placing the needs and interests of the customer first, everyone focuses upon a shared goal.

Design thinking helps enterprises revolutionize and democratize group work environments. In the past, a speaker’s seniority or rank within a hierarchy often determined the value decision makers placed upon proposed innovations. When organizations adopt creative design thinking, this prioritization changes radically. Instead, an idea’s potential value to customers determines its significance.

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In order to supply superb customer service, everyone within an enterprise committed to creative design thinking works together as a team. The process of making changes tends to build group consensus. While disagreements do occur from time to time, the overall goal of placing the customer first provides a unifying basis for informed decision-making. This result holds many byproducts, which benefit the organization: a highly motivated, enthusiastic workforce; decreased job turnover; enhanced individual job satisfaction. Ultimately, this group effort produces better results for the enterprise as a whole.

A Worthwhile Achievement

Creative design thinking empowers business enterprises to serve customers more effectively. By focusing on customers as a priority, everyone in the organization achieves a greater sense of fulfillment. This process helps generate revolutionary innovations while also forging stronger organizational cohesion. Consider implementing this facile management cycle to infuse constructive changes into worn, tired business systems.
Author Bio

Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

The Beefcamp Bootcamp For Wimpy Websites

A website is either great or it’s not good enough for your business. There is no middle ground. There are the elements of a successful website that the brand, the customers, and the business needs. Then there are sites that lack those elements. So, what are the elements that your website is missing? That’s what we’re going to be looking at in the boot camp.

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Usability is number one

You would think that this is a no-brainer, but businesses consistency launch sites that are, in one way or another, broken. They have too many pages that could be condensed into one, or they’re missing the simple tricks of navigation like drop-down menus that allow them to unify several different pages under one category. Or they’re making one of the biggest mistakes in modern business and failing to make a responsive website that reads as well on mobile devices as it does on the PC. Make sure you have strangers testing your site on different devices and offer them objectives, like using certain services on the site. If they mention any barriers to those objectives, think about how you remove those barriers.

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Sites are more than just a text on background

A good brand needs a good brand image. This doesn’t just mean the colour and design of the formatting trims on the website. Instead, think about how you use images to communicate if they can deliver your message quicker than text. Go even further and use video marketing content on your pages to remove the effort from the user’s experience entirely. The best videos to use on sites are shorter ones. If it takes longer than thirty seconds, a significant portion of website users will simply ignore a video.

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Nothing works without visibility

If your website’s issue is the fact that no-one is browsing it, then you need to ask yourself why. For instance, if it doesn’t have high placement on search engines with the help of a search engine optimisation agency, then people simply might not be able to find it even when they’re looking for it. If you’re not using social media to highlight the different deals and pieces on content on the site, then people won’t think to check them out. Even the greatest designed sites won’t have much impact if they have no visibility.

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If you have something to say, say it

Content can be one of the greatest weapons a site can offer your business or your brand. It is your opportunity to offer expertise in advice articles that solve problems for even average web users who weren’t looking for your business. It gives you the chance to show that the site is alive and the business is ever-working by keeping the site up-to-date. It can even be used as a place to show positive proof of the business’s success, highlighting awards, industry updates and testimonials. If you have something to say, say it on the site with well-written content.

If you see anything mentioned in the points above that your site just doesn’t have, then it’s time to consider why and if it’s worth adding it. The website is the online face of your business. You wouldn’t meet a client in a customer without dressing professionally. Why would you let your website go out in just as bad a condition?

 

The Benefits of a Beautiful Website

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Going onto a website is like knocking at someone’s front door, except without the real-life curb appeal – it’s just digital instead. When you arrive at someone’s house, you take in the surroundings, think about how you got there and generally expect it to be something pleasing to the eye. If not, you’re out of there or making excuses to leave as soon as you can. This is just the way that potential customers or viewers to your blog or website can see it, except they don’t need to make pleasantries … they’ll just click off and won’t return.

Accessible

People want a clean, clear and accessible website. The average time for somebody to be landed on your page and make a decision about whether they want to stay on it or not is just 15 seconds – and it’s that quarter of a minute that you need to utilise to your advantage. If you haven’t got anything instantly appealing, engaging or informative on there, your customers will be off quicker than you can say “double-click”.

Design

 How your website looks makes a massive difference to whether people want to stay for a while or click off. You need to be hitting your target demographic when you’re thinking about website design, so for example if it’s for children then bright colours will need to be used and you won’t go wrong to throw in some games on the site too. A good website design agency will be able to steer you towards what you want and will most likely be able to expand the ideas that you are able to give them for the creation of your website and add to it to generate something that will return the most traffic. Designers aren’t mind-readers; give them a concise overview of what you want and remember to include important things like colour palette, fonts, pictures and anything else that you definitely want included. An informative brief leads to an excellent website, and it shows when people have put a lot of thought into their online presence.

Relevant

Keep everything on your website relevant to what it’s actually about. This includes the tab header, the content and even the links that you’ve got to other pages. If, for example, you’re on a page about televisions, you don’t want a to see something that will link you to a gardening page. Unless it’s related to what you are advertising or writing about, keep it away. Those who are visiting your website are doing it in good faith; they expect to land on a page that will give them exactly what they want, if not a little bit more. There is an element of surprise that people are looking for, but it’s one that lies in deals, promotions and offers for them – not spammy links to affiliated companies for your own personal profit. The more that your visitors realise that you are making money from them visiting, the less likely they are to return to you.

Keeping Your Website Simple Is the Best Decision You Could Ever Make

Web design isn’t a complicated matter despite what many designers and freelancers would lead you to believe. People talk all the time about how to make your website more impressive or draw in a bigger audience, but the reality of it is simple: it doesn’t matter. This article is going to the best piece of advice you’ve ever read regarding business websites and hiring overpriced services.

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Cut the nonsense

Let’s put it this way; does adding loads of images and flashy things to your website increase the overall customer experience? You’re probably thinking up reasons or situations where some flashy menus or buttons could increase the user’s experience, but let’s face it, it’s pointless and a waste of time. Not only are those extra effects costly because it takes time to create, it’s also going to break many browsers that simply don’t support those extra features. Even if you’re designing a website to show off your freelance art portfolio, adding smooth menu transitions and using some kind of flash-based gallery viewer does not enhance the user’s experience—it just invites the possibility of errors.

Simple hosting plans lead to simple websites

The simpler your web host, the faster you’re going to get your business or website up and running. Hosts such as wizzhosting.co.uk make this their top priority; to get you started as soon as possible and with the lowest costs they can offer. A web host that offers far too many features isn’t going to be relevant to your interests. You shouldn’t be caring about all the plugins and modules they offer to make your website look flashy and trendy, you should be caring about costs, ease of use and how quickly you can get it running.

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Information overload

When someone browses a website they want to get what they came for. Even if you’re a blog that covers just about everything, your users don’t want to fiddle about with navigating menus to reach the content they want. The fewer clicks it takes for your viewers to reach the information they need, the more likely they will come back and the less likely they will leave in frustration. If it takes more than three clicks from the front page of your website to access your contact details, then you’re doing something wrong. Stop overloading people with information and focus on the customer experience.

Compatibility

A good majority of web users access the internet on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The simpler your website, the easier it is going to be to scale down your web pages to fit cleanly onto these smaller screens. Many web hosts offer basic scaling options, but at the end of the day, you’re probably going to have to redesign your entire website if you want to create a website that works well on both mobile devices and your desktop. This article at sitepoint.com explains a couple of simple ways you can make your website more mobile friendly. It’s solid, no-nonsense advice that everyone should be following.

Great Habits Breed Great Web Design!

As I’m sure you know, if you want any hope of getting your brand seen these days, you’ll need a well-designed and functional website. However, like many entrepreneurs, you may feel like your web design is missing something. Good design is all about pushing your available technology as far as it will go, and finding creative ways around various challenges. If you’re looking to improve your website in the long term, here are some great habits to get into…

Kindle Emotional Connections 

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If everyone behaved logically, and consumers flocked to the sites with the best functionality, it would make good web design so much easier. Unfortunately though, this isn’t the world we live in! It’s been proven time and time again that emotional connections in web design can be exceedingly powerful for giving any user the best possible experience. The aesthetic appeal of any website has a huge impact on how trustworthy and credible your site will appear, and the way the site makes your users feel will make your products or services appear more or less usable. Whether it’s through interactive features, simple aesthetics, or well-written content, go out of your way to make sure your web design fosters some kind of emotional connection.

Keep on Learning 

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Web design, just like any skill, is constantly evolving. If you’re not all that experienced, it will probably take some doing to get your web design skills up to the same level of the pros. Even if you have a length of web design experience under your belt, constantly looking to better yourself is an excellent habit to get into. There are all kinds of ways to develop your web design skills as an entrepreneur, such as working at a qualification through a distance-learning company, regularly reading blogs from companies like iPage, watching video tutorials and trying out new techniques on a separate testing site. Different learning styles will suit different people, and you may have to experiment with different methods to find a mix that’s right for you. However you want to do it, make sure you’re constantly learning and developing your skills. This will make you a more effective designer in the long run, and will help you keep on top of the rapidly changing standards.

Choose the Right Idea, Not the Best One 

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Image: Pixabay

Although it may be a creative practice, web design isn’t an art form. There’s a lot of ways you can approach a design task, but as long as the purpose it serves is something to do with business, it can never truly be art. Let’s say that a light bulb suddenly flickers on, and you come up with a ground-breaking vision for an ecommerce store design that will revolutionise the way people think about websites. If your research shows that a lot of users prefer the comfort of a classic navigation layout, then don’t chase them away by reinventing the wheel. You don’t need to smother all your creative ideas, just make sure that you’re designing for the end user, and not for the artist in you!

Working from Home: Pros and Cons

Making the decision to really give up a high flying job with potential, and give up the 9-to-5 office-based job is a lot harder than you might imagine. Sure, if you guaranteed anyone that it would 100% work, then making the decision would be simple. Most people working in offices want to be elsewhere, let’s face it, and it was the same for me.

So what are the hurdles you have to overcome to make it work? The cons? These can be summed up as:

  • Distractions from your home life – TV, social media, friends, and family
  • Loneliness
  • Distance from colleagues – if you have colleagues
  • Discipline – you need to self-motivate
  • Blurring the line between home life and work life

However, get these things right, and there are many, many pluses to working from home including:

  • Flexibility to design your own schedules
  • Ability to take more time off
  • No commute
  • No micromanaging bosses
  • You can work where you want
  • You can wear what you want

You can read my full article to find out more about my pros and cons of working from home.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.