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The Healthiest Brain Food

July 27, 2017

If it’s as difficult for you to quiet your brain at night as it is for me, you know exactly what I’m alluding to in the title of this post – sleep.

tiredA relaxing, refreshing, and mentally fulfilling good night’s rest isn’t always as easy as it might seem, especially in the world of work today. Many of us don’t really close the door on our jobs when we walk out of the office. Work-life balance has taken on a whole new meaning with all the technology we have right at our fingertips. We carry work around in our pockets everywhere we go – because with smart phones, laptops, and tablets, we’re never really offline.

According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, lack of sleep “slows your ability to process information and problem solve, kills your creativity, and catapults your stress levels and emotional reactivity.” Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night to feel adequately refreshed, but how many of us take these numbers seriously?

Here are a few simple tips Dr. Bradberry recommends to help you get your sleep pattern back on track:

  1. Stay away from sleep aids – they are disruptive to your natural sleep process.
  2. Stop drinking coffee after noon – the caffeine in this treasured beverage has a 6-hour life cycle in the body and disturbs the quality or your REM sleep stage.
  3. Put down your devices after dinner – blue light emitting devices trick our minds into thinking it’s still daytime and make it more difficult to power off our brains.
  4. Wake up at the same time (even on the weekends) – consistency is key and regulates your circadian rhythm.
  5. If you can, put work away – working late into the night stimulates your mind making it more difficult to relax and prepare for sleep.

Our brains are not meant to run marathons and overworking them affects our level of performance and ability to be engaged in our work. So, the moral of the story? Try to get some rest! Prioritize sleep hygiene so you can be the best version of yourself every day.

“One minute, let me pull up my hologram.”

July 25, 2017

Courtesy of Bloomberg

Can you imagine walking into an office with no computer monitors? Can you even fathom how you’d get your work done without your laptop? You’re probably thinking, “No, not really,” and actually, so am I. However, it’s not as far-fetched as we might think.

Meta is a San Francisco start-up that designs augmented reality headsets. These headsets overlay holographic images on what you see in the real-world. With floating virtual screens, users can grab, toss, and stretch 3-D models with their hands, surf the web, send emails, and more. It’s mind-boggling. Check out the recent Bloomberg piece on it here. The article states that Meta founder and CEO Meron Gribetz hopes this new technology will bring an end to what he refers to as the “tyranny of the modern workplace.”

With laptops, VPN connections, network drives, and cell phones, I’ve never considered the modern office as a limiting space. I can grab my laptop and go, make whatever internet accessible location I happen to be occupying my “office.”

But what if things could be mainly hands-free? What if I could take my hologram projecting device with me to the beach or in the car and work there? To the outside person, I might look like I’m just reaching at nothing in thin air; but on the other end of the spectrum, I’m sending emails, researching on the web, and opening files on my “desktop.” The concept is fascinating. Certainly taking employee engagement to the next level.

So much about the way we work is changing as technology continues to progress. Even the kind of basic skills we need tucked away in our mental tool-kit are no longer the same. Robots are able to do so much of what we humans can, and they don’t even have to think. The Workforce Institute at Kronos recently shared a blog relating to this idea: The Death of the Single Skill Set. To compensate for automation, we should focus our attention on up-skilling individuals in key job roles where specialized skills are needed. Prepare for the future – learn how to use holograms? – not just train for today.

I think we’re all living through a technological turning point, and the innovative inventions coming into play make it quite the time to be out in the workforce. Maybe before we know it Meta-type hologram headsets will be the norm – just as radio, television, cell phones, and computers have become regular devices in our daily routines. Each an initially disruptive yet incredible breakthrough changing the way we live our lives. It’s an exciting thought!


Megan’s Maxims – Effective Engagement and Project Planning

July 20, 2017

Building off of Tuesday’s topic on Implementation and Kronos Paragon, here’s the last post in this year’s run of Megan’s Maxims. Search other posts for this Working Smarter Café Mini Series here: Megan’s Maxims Blog Roll.

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology.” – Steve Jobs

The same holds true when launching a project and rolling out a new tool or process to your organization. You must first define your stakeholders before diving too far into the details – because, without the support of the decision makers and those who will be influenced, you lack the foundation for a successful final outcome right from the start.

graphic1Define your stakeholders – Analyze their level of influence and interest in the project and group them based on how closely they need to be involved. This initial step is key to:

  • Comprehending the challenges at hand
  • Deliberate the pros and cons of differing approaches
  • Prioritize project items
  • Implement the solution
  • Promote the system
  • Evaluate the overall success of your efforts.

And then…

Develop a communication strategy – Determine the best ways to reach your stakeholders and how often to engage them with a planned communication schedule.

Prepare for the project – Perform a risk/change impact analysis. Identify your advocates and detractors and put a strategy in place to proactively resolve conflict.

Engage the team – Work with your stakeholders and help them to mitigate risk. Provide direction on tasks to complete and deadlines to meet, and use this information to extract solution benefits.

Evaluate success – Listen to your stakeholders and act on the feedback they provide to make improvements, whether that means implementing an incremental change, or possibly, starting fresh.

Keeping these best practices in mind will help ensure you push forward a carefully executed project that brings maximum value to your workforce. For more information and guidance on how to achieve success, visit the Services tab on the Kronos Community!

Simplifying Global Workforce Management

July 18, 2017

Last year, I had the valuable opportunity to hear one of our customers speak about global personas and how different countries have unique timekeeping related laws, legislations, and tracking requirements. The importance of a standardized approach was clear, as managing a global workforce can be a complex and challenging process – especially if you’re rolling out new technology across borders.

Kronos ParagonBut, the exciting news? Kronos Paragon implementation methodology is now supported in more than 50 countries! With an online workspace, industry configuration, dynamic documentation, accelerated testing, and now multiple language offerings, the Kronos Paragon global implementation approach provides the foundation for millions upon millions of country-specific compliance regulations, labor laws, and language requirements.

The recent global enhancements to the Kronos Paragon strategy jogged my memory of the customer’s presentation and the emphasis on accommodating multicultural landscapes. Globalization is a driving force in today’s fast-paced world of growing businesses, and it’s pushing organizations to rethink how they build and manage an engaged workforce. The first step to success? Starting with a smooth implementation for any tools or technologies you introduce to your organization. A well-thought-out, carefully constructed software deployment strategy for your worldwide locations will help you increase time to value and achieve a rapid return on your investment.

More on Kronos Implementation Services is available on our website here!

A Working Smarter Café History Lesson

July 13, 2017

LeoOctober 1st, 2010 is an important day in Working Smarter Café history. It’s the day our site was born! Leo Daley, Mr. Working Smarter Café, took flight on his Kronos blogging journey with a customer success story on Southwest Airlines. Since then, Working Smarter Café has received over 178,000 views and Leo has individually shared more than 1,000 posts!

His most widely read throughout the years are:

I think it’s safe to say I can speak for the collective audience when I give a huge thank you to Leo for his wisdom, his wit, and his will to help customers work smarter through this blog! Leo has taken off on his next flight leading the now 27,000 member Kronos Community, so be sure to follow him there @KronosCommunity. Now, a few more fun facts about Working Smarter Cafe:

To date…

  • Working Smarter Café posts have received views in more than 160 countries
  • We’ve had 83,400 visitors
  • Our most popular day of the week for viewers is Wednesday
  • We happily join many of our viewers for lunch, as 12:00 pm is our most popular hour
  • Over 6,180 clicks have been generated from blog content
  • 1,843 amazing people follow this blog

Honesty goes a long way, honestly!

July 11, 2017

I was on vacation last week, and one evening, I went out to dinner with my family. To set the stage, we called the day before but were told they don’t take reservations – however, they do take names of people who call ahead. We asked if it might be busy at the time we planned to eat but were assured there would be plenty of room. So far so good.

Now, it’s dinner day. We call again before leaving to confirm our party number and to verify our name is on the list. “Sure, come on down!” they say. “All set.” We arrive for dinner, but we’re not really on the list, and they tell us it’s going to take an hour. Can we move some tables together, we ask? No, some are round and some are square. There isn’t much they can do for us.

DN_Hostess_56972254.jpgLong story short, we only waited for about 30 minutes, the meal was excellent, and we had great service! Even so, our experience was tainted. Why? Based on the conversations we had by calling ahead, we thought they’d be expecting us and that we’d be seated quickly. We would have arrived with a different set of expectations if they’d told us we might need to wait.

Setting clear expectations is the key to providing customers with a positive experience. It’s all about building a relationship and doing your best for your customers. Strive to give your customers the experience they expect because typically, it’s the one you lead them to believe they’ll receive. Say what you mean and mean what you say!

Megan’s Maxims – Improving Adoption

July 6, 2017

More of Megan’s Maxims! Click for the last post on Goals with Workforce Scheduler.

Sometimes we all must face the harsh reality. Change happens. Is it fun? Not always, and sometimes it even affects your life, how you work, or the tools you use to get your job done. For example, implementing your Kronos Workforce Central solution is an adjustment for your organization. Not only is there the solution setup, there’s also the cultural shift your organization must prepare for to embrace the new technology.

But, the good news is we can help with it all! Here’s what Megan has to say about facilitating user adoption:

CV-engaged workforce - woman and man looking at computer screenDesignate early adopters. These are your technology champions. Ask people to be involved in a pilot group and to become ambassadors who will help others learn the process.

Customize training materials. Develop job aids and courseware for different roles because one size doesn’t fit all. Offer the opportunity for users to learn online through webinars, traditional classrooms, and one-on-one support.

Communicate and explain why. Transparency is key. Share the reasons the new technology is important to your organization and the benefits it will provide. And it’s okay to admit that you might not have all the answers. New processes take time and you’re learning together.

Don’t create labels. Don’t call a new process the “new way.” This can often cause greater resentment. Simply refer to tools by name to avoid the inclination that there are “sides” to choose.

Celebrate wins, have fun with it! Share success stories and announce when the software produces positive results. “Hey team! Since implementing Workforce Timekeeper, I spend half the amount of time editing your timecards than I did before. Now, my calendar is free. Who wants lunch?”

The faster you adopt the solution as a whole, the faster you’ll receive value and achieve maximum return on your Kronos investment. Don’t leave your employees hanging. Help them learn the tricks of the trade!

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