How businesses can help our younger generation

How businesses can help our younger generation

The Catch-22 Debacle…

Today’s blog is not only directed at Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers, but also to the wider public too. Having personally seen just how hard it is for my son, who’s recently graduated from University, to find a job or gain any form of experience, I’d like to share some ways in which small or large businesses could potentially help those who are actively seeking work experience, yet finding it virtually impossible to succeed in their efforts!

With the sheer diversity of opportunities on offer, alongside the growing economy and increasing employment prospects, many individuals view young people today as being extremely lucky in having such a scope to choose from. However, this is far from the truth.  An emerging flaw has presented itself within the current job market, wherein School leavers and University Graduates alike, are finding it exhausting and almost impossible to find a job without previous experience within the field they are applying for. This seems to epitomise the classic catch-22 situation; in which one needs experience to get a job, and a job to get experience. This leaves today’s generation of young people systematically disadvantaged, hopelessly searching for work and dishearteningly receiving the same response each time – “You do not fit all the criteria due to no/little previous experience”.

Work experience matters. – This is where you can come in! If you are a business that can make space for a young individual to gain some crucial experience, then please look at the following ways in which you can massively help:


Enable Them to Build Their Network

Recommend contacts and introduce them to platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, allowing them to connect with individuals and companies which yield a professional network that may come in handy for future career moves.  Helping to improve their online presence increases their employability prospects.

Offer Volunteering Positions

Give young people the opportunity to build their skillset within a business environment, use their initiative, gain confidence, and develop communication and organisational skills. This is an easy and effective way for them to gain transferable skills, whilst also gaining their youthful exuberance for your company.


Offer Internships and Apprenticeships

Help young people earn a wage whilst acquiring first-hand knowledge of a job or organisation, aiding their permanent employability prospects down the line.

Virtual Work Experience Schemes

Providing a unique opportunity for Graduates and Leavers in these perplexing and changing times to still gain invaluable experience and develop their online software skills.

This experience can be beneficial for both parties involved. It provides young people with the chance to use their acquired skills for future endeavours, whilst also benefitting businesses through young, eager individuals with a passion for learning and developing creative concepts and new ways of thinking. It can effectively cultivate critical business and leadership skills for those with no prior knowledge within a certain environment, which in return, can aid a business through helping to attract and retain great new talent that becomes the lifeblood of their business!

By setting up programs for School leavers and Graduates, it helps companies showcase themselves to their customers, who will see – and respect – a business’ efforts to improve the community. It can impact bottom line, increase a company’s visibility and boost their reputation; employees who’ve felt fulfilled and satisfied throughout their journey tending to show more devotion to their company and recommend their company to friends. – Further increasing productivity too!

I personally have been able to give a University Graduate some work experience by helping to structure and create content for my social media. It’s been great to get a different perspective and has also allowed them to gain some experience whilst still searching for a more permanent position.

So, please take a minute to have a think to whether your business could also help our younger generation with work experience programs – the benefits extend much further than you may think! 

Time-managing for remote workers

Time-managing for remote workers

At first, remote working may feel like a dream!

No managers overseeing your work, no physical boundaries to your workspace, no commute, and no pressure to dress up in work attire (unless on a work zoom call!) However, this dream may soon fade as reality sets in that you are now completely responsible for your time keeping and the way in which your days are structured.

With 52% of our current global workforce working from home at least once a week, it can be a very difficult transition and something that many, if not most, people cannot just effortlessly slip into.

Having such a large mass of unstructured time on your hands can quickly become overwhelming. Without receiving direct feedback, it can be hard to ascertain how well you are using your time and your work may not immediately be as visible as it is in an office context.  Therefore, I have put together some tips that can help you get on top of your workload whilst working from home.


Track your time

It is important to understand how long different tasks take, so that you can allocate a certain amount of time for different pieces of work across your week.

Automatic tracking apps such as Timely, Toggl or Harvest can handle this for you.

If you are self employed and have many clients, it can also be useful to track time when you are NOT working, so that you can see what distracts you and for how long.

It helps maintain healthy work patterns – showing you the number of hours you work each day, so you can offset any imbalances and protect yourself from burnout.

Keep a routine

I have a client meeting at 09:30 every day, so I always know that I must be up and ready to engage for a specific time.

It’s useful to set consistent ‘core hours’ for your work, including dedicated availability hours so colleagues know when they can contact you and when they can expect a response.

Always outline what you want to achieve by the end of the week and sketch out the tasks required to get there. Each day frontload your most important tasks (and typically the most complex) to capitalise on your fresh focus.


Try Time-Blocking

‘Time blocking’ is a highly effective method for getting you started with your most daunting tasks. It requires you to set finite portions of time for different activities in your day, ensuring that the amount of effort you put in stays proportionate to the value of the task.

If you have several clients, it’s imperative to keep ‘time blocks’ so each client receives your undivided attention for your allotted amount of time. It prevents you from overworking on one client’s work and leaving yourself tight for time for another.

Separate Work and Relaxation Areas

With remote working, it’s easy for work to bleed into your downtime, and no clear cut-off means that you may work longer hours than you would in the office.

At the end of your workday, shut down your electronics and move into another room or area. This physical boundary enables you to take a step back from the workload and enjoy some time away from your desk to recharge your batteries and come back with a clear head.


Limit Distractions

To help with productivity, block unimportant notifications on smartphones and ensure you don’t have ‘background visuals’ such as TV taking away from your full attention. It can lead to mistakes being made. Just opening one notification on Social Media can lead you down a rabbit hole and take your attention away from your work. You can check your notifications on your break.

Try anti-distraction tools such apps like LeechBlock or FocusMe. The first is a smart browser extension on Chrome or Firefox which has a timer that allows you to choose which sites you want to block, when you want them to be blocked and how long for. The second is an app of similar effect, enabling you to create productive routines by blocking sites, as well as having a Pomodoro timer and activity tracker to see exactly where you’re spending your time.

Aid Your Wellbeing and Posture

Sitting on a sofa, bed, or at the kitchen table for long periods of time can play havoc with your posture. Sit/Stand desks and office chairs will help, but if you do not have these, then just try to find a seat which keeps your back straight and supported. 

Taking 5-minute “microbreaks” has been proven to improve cognitive performance.

Take a break from all your screens as this can cause visual stress from looking at them for too long. Instead, get some fresh air as this reduces anxiety and aids mental focus.

Creating a playlist and listening to your favourite music may also prove to be effective at helping you to unwind and go to your happy place! Personally, I choose different music depending on my task. It’s good to do things you enjoy as it can really help lift your mood and improve your mindset for the rest of the day.


Check In With Others

Keeping in contact with friends and family is important for both parties involved. It shows that you care about them and want to know how they’re doing, strengthening your relationship and relieving anxiety

It can also be a massive mood booster on your side, allowing you to blow off some steam and have a laugh.

An Inviting Workspace

I am lucky enough to have a separate office space as I work from home permanently. I have made it into a little haven of serenity.

I have lots of plants surrounding me and plenty of natural light.

My desk is clear and tidy (mostly), and my cat sits with me most days. I have everything I need within arms’ reach and a cup of tea and bottle of water are always to hand.

Stay Conscious of Events and Meetings

Before clocking off each day, check your schedule for the following day to ensure you’re ready for any early-morning meetings.

Reward Yourself

After you finish a particularly trying work block, take a break and treat yourself to a tea and your favourite snack.

This is a great motivator to keep you feeling positive and increase productivity.

I hope these tips prove useful in helping you to manage your time more wisely whilst working from home.  Although many of these tips may seem obvious, sometimes the simplest ideas get forgotten and so it’s good to have a reminder!

Emotional Wellness and Remote Working

Emotional Wellness and Remote Working

It’s Emotional Wellness Month

I thought it was important to remind those who are working from home to look after their own mental wellbeing and how essential it is to strive for a good work/life balance!

Although I’m not a healthcare professional, I would like to share some tips which I have found of benefit whilst working from home, to keep productive and know when to switch off!


It’s Good to Have a Routine

It helps you to get up in the morning and set a good start time for your work, ensuring that you are prepared for the day ahead. Some people start their day with a run or have a shower, my personal favourite is a cup of tea (biodegradable teabags, of course!), which boosts my energy and gets me raring to go!

Short Breaks!

Furthermore, it’s so important to take a short 5-minute break every so often. It allows you to clear your mind and come back feeling refreshed and ready to re-evaluate the tasks that need prioritising.

Not taking breaks coincides with negative effects such as decision fatigue, lack of focus, as well as damaged eyes from constant screen-staring. Therefore, take a break, refuel and restore your motivation and creativity!


End Your Working Day

At the end of a working day, make sure you switch off all your work-related devices and take a step back from your computer. Go and relax in a different room than the one you’ve been working in all day – this separation is vital in ensuring you’ve fully “switched off” for the night.

My workstation used to be situated in my lounge and so I’d constantly be reminded of tasks that needed a little more work, or quickly hop-on to my computer once again to check any emails that flagged up. However, since turning one of my downstairs rooms into an office, I can now separate my workstation from my lounge and properly detach myself.

The Evenings Are Yours

Lastly, make use of your evenings by putting on your favourite boxset (Lucifer is a must!), sitting down to have dinner with the family or having a catch-up and giggles with your friends.

Remote working can feel so lonely and isolating, and so making time to connect with others is a really good way to help reduce anxiety and kick in those endorphins!

These 4 tips may seem obvious to some, but when life gets hectic and all-consuming, it can be so easy to forget and it’s good to be reminded every so often.