How To Plan For Daily Standups During The Holidays

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For many employees, the holidays offer a welcome break in routine. But for team leaders, the last few weeks of December put a pin in their team’s productivity.

When so many people take off at the same time, it leaves the few remaining souls at the office with a ton of work on their plates. They need to get more work than usual done, and in less time.

Every second they spend in their typical in-person daily standups (that would otherwise help them track progress) eats away at time they could be using to pore through their mountains of work.

Frequent checkins are an important part of ensuring individuals are on track to meet their goals and working as a team. But especially when the holidays roll around, managers need to alter how they run standups and create additional support, without sacrificing their employees’ time or autonomy.

Here are some ways to revive your daily standups and simplify your workflow during holiday madness.

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The Dangers of Knowledge Hoarding

Just like the poor souls on Hoarders, you may not realize you have a problem.

Think of all those little times in the day when you stop what you’re doing to ask “Emma, how does the copy machine work?” or “Bryan, how many days have you taken off this month?”

They seem like small-fry problems, but they are actually issues of employee empowerment. You stop, gather the information, and move on. But they all add up to a huge productivity drain for you and your company, for one single reason: knowledge hoarding. Information is stored in particular places, and particular people are responsible for it.

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Knowledge hoarding is normal but dangerous. Here’s why:

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How MindMate Stays Mindful of Remote Team Success

It takes a truly noble cause to inspire three graduate students to put dissertations on hold so they can start a company. For the founders of MindMate, that cause was helping people who suffer from dementia.

The University of Glasgow’s Patrick Renner, Rogelio Arellano, and Susanne Mitschke created an app that empowers those with dementia to live as independently as possible. MindMate comes with cognitive stimulation games, reminder tools, and a “Getting to know me” section where people can save personal information.

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3 Hidden Productivity Killers You Can Beat With I Done This 2.0

Your startup is on the rise. You’ve added four great developers, six customers have signed on, and you’ve reached a revenue milestone of $2.4 million ARR. But just as things are getting peachy, you notice the company isn’t shipping as much code as before.

What makes productivity problems so hard to deal with is that they’re hard to detect. They’re often so entrenched in culture and old systems that they seem invisible. At $2.4 million ARR, you are now far removed from the day-to-day routine of team members, making it difficult to spot inefficiencies on the ground.

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We built I Done This 2.0 to help teams bring lurking productivity killers to light. We want to help our customers spot the most common production killers out there. I Done This empowers you to find out what’s going wrong with productivity and address the problem at its source. Here’s how your startup can track down invisible productivity killers and solve them with I Done This 2.0.

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How to Use an Amazon Echo for Your Startup Office

This week’s post is a guest article by Vinay Patankar, CEO and co-founder of Process Street.

If you’re running a startup, you can use every little bit of help you can get.

But to justify an administrative assistant or office manager, you’ll probably need to have raised a big seed round of over $1 million or have bootstrapped your company past 10 employees. Otherwise, that extra help getting stuff done is just a luxury you can’t quite afford yet.

Enter Alexa via the Amazon Echo. In the same way Alexa can help you and your family out around the home, it can also make your office and your startup just that little bit easier to manage, so that you can keep your sanity and focus on what’s important.

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To get the most out of Alexa, you’ll need to set her up specifically for the office. Here’s how.

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An App Addict’s Guide to Beating the Task Management Blues

This week’s post is a guest article by Ben Brandall, a writer for Process Street.

Last weekend I found myself in a cafe, alone and without a laptop for around 2 hours. With just my phone, I wanted to do something worthwhile so I decided to organize my tasks properly — something I hadn’t done in a while.

I realized pretty quickly that my task management system made no sense at all.

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How to Handle 3 Types of Workplace Conflict

Hollywood would have you believe that workplace conflict is awesome. Movies depict the best offices as filled with macho dudes in suits screaming at each other, throwing around insults, and somehow also getting fantastic results.

That’s entertaining, but let’s look at the facts: a 2010 study revealed that the average U.S. employee spends 2.8 hours a week dealing with disputes at work, resulting in losses of $359 Billion across the American economy. In reality, conflict pulls people away from their jobs and kills productivity.

With that in mind, your instinct might be to ruthlessly stamp it out wherever you see it. But that’s not always the best course of action. You need to recognize that not every workplace conflict is the same. It’s like criminal justice—a first degree crime is sentenced differently than a second degree crime. The context, causes, and intentions should influence how you deal with conflict in the workplace.

Here’s a rundown of three of the most common types of office workplace conflict, what they mean for your company, and how to solve them.

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Stop Information Overload and Treating Your Mind Like a Filing Cabinet

In the SaaS startup world, there’s always a push towards self-improvement. Every employee tries to learn, memorize, and have working knowledge of everything even loosely associated with their role in the company.

But unlike the tools we work with, we’re not super-computers and we often face information overload. Our brains aren’t designed to soak up, process, and store all the information that we encounter. Ironically, in order to retain more, we actually have to absorb less. You have to be selective about what you put your mind to.

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You have a limited amount of mental resources, so you have to free up some of that space by outsourcing. Here’s how.

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How To Work With A Motormouth

You walk into your office on a Monday morning and are instantly overwhelmed with the amount of work you have that week.

Just as you’ve figured out how to cram all your meetings and projects into your schedule, you look up from your desk and are instantly full of dread. Your chatty coworker is headed right toward you and has chosen you as his next victim. Well, there goes the better part of the morning.

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Of course, having a great social relationship can boost company culture. Once in a while, some water cooler talk can be a nice break from your hard work, but some people take this way too far. Some will come by your desk every few hours, and even remote workers might incessantly ping you on Slack. According to a survey conducted by talent mobility company Lee Hecht Harrison, talkative coworkers are the #1 disruption at work.

Here are the different kinds of chatty coworkers, and how to keep them from disrupting your day.

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Why You Should Stop Copying Google’s Employee Perks

Not only is Google rated the #1 place to work year after year, but it’s one of most valuable companies on earth. And that’s by no coincidence. To get there, Google spent years perfecting their employee perks to create a positive and highly-productive environment.

Google Campus Dublin - Gasworks - Microkitchen - Floor Identity: Waterworld - Foto Peter Wurmli - © Camenzind Evolution

Google Campus Dublin – Gasworks – Microkitchen – Floor Identity: Waterworld – Foto Peter Wurmli – © Camenzind Evolution

But Google has only been able to grow into a $360 billion company by trying bold new things and constantly iterating their systems—not by blindly applying the successful models of other companies.

To succeed as a startup, you also have to be careful not to just adopt trendy fads, but rather find what works best for you through constant iteration. In fact, there are tons of companies that do the opposite of what Google does and thrive as a result.

Here are some examples of super successful startups that refrained from Googlifying their environment.

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