Quote of the week

Productivity is NEVER an accident it’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.

- Paul Meyer
June 22, 2018

Roll With It, Baby: Why Embracing Change is Essential

It’s been said that the only constant is change (thank you, Heraclitus of ancient Greece – clearly, this issue’s been around for a while). So when it comes to coping, are you an early adopter? Or more of a reluctant one?

If it’s the latter, you’re fighting a losing battle. Whether it’s in the form of new technology, restructuring or a change in leadership, chances are you’re dealing with something different on an almost daily basis. And adapting isn’t always easy. Change-averse employees can be difficult to manage, observes PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda: “It’s a common issue, particularly so these days. In the past, people were more vocal about their resistance. These days, it’s more of a quiet lack of compliance – and that eats away at the culture of an organisation. Managers need to confront super-resistant employees head-on or the negativity spreads like a virus.”

June 8, 2018

Tools of the Trade Episode II: Why OneNote’s Won Us Over

Who doesn’t enjoy a good sequel?

After our post on the wonders of OneNote – the PEP collaboration tool of choice – we had a lot of feedback requesting more detail about how this tool works. So we thought we’d make like Hollywood and follow up with an ‘Episode II’. Obviously, we can’t provide quite the action-packed entertainment of a Star Wars spin-off. But helpful hints designed to improve your collaboration process? That we can certainly deliver. Read on, then, to find out which OneNote features we consider to be particularly effective – and how to use them effectively yourself:

May 25, 2018

Why One Dodged Deadline Matters More Than You Think

So you let a deadline slide by. No big deal, right?

Actually, that ripple effect – and no matter what you tell yourself, there’s always a ripple effect – may spread further than you’d like to think. “One of the key challenges faced by our clients is how one person’s behaviour can affect the productivity of others,” says PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda. “In just about every person’s job there will be a situation where someone is waiting for something – be it a report, a signature, or an answer – from somebody. And this has the potential to cause chaos in an organisation.”

Anda cites the regular collation of board papers as a classic example of a situation where one missed deadline can create a multitude of complications: “A lot of executive assistants spend two or three days every month chasing relevant information from the people who have been delegated to provide it. This is not just a waste of the EA’s time – it also creates a complete inefficiency in the business.” And bad behaviour around board papers is often just the beginning, she observes. “It’s the same with any project,” she says. “If one person disrupts a timeline, the impact is enormous. If this is happening in four or five different projects, what’s happening to your productivity?” No prizes for guessing.

May 10, 2018

Cult of Personality Part II: How to Treat Your Team’s Traits

Ok, managers – here’s a question for you. Do you consider dealing with a diverse range of personalities one of the most pleasurable perks of your job?

Thought so. And if you took us up on our suggestion (see our previous post) of taking a closer look at your team’s conflicting characteristics, you’ve no doubt realised just how challenging this aspect of your role is. So as promised, this week we’re going to discuss how you can use an understanding of personality to change behaviour and encourage effective work habits. After all, even if you’re still questioning Gretchen Rubin’s Tendencies (or rebelling over the fact that we set you a bit of homework), we’re pretty confident that everyone’s open to exploring strategies for increasing personal and collective success.

Rubin’s big on strategies, too. In fact, she lists 21 strategies which she suggests can make or break habits. And great minds think alike: many of her strategies mirror the PEP principles we know and love (the “Strategy of Clarity”, for example, may sound familiar). So here’s the practical part. Read on for a few PEP-style pointers on how to take each team member’s Tendency into account:

April 27, 2018

Cult of Personality Part I: Why Your Crew’s Characteristics Count

We’ve all optimistically purchased something described as “one size fits all”. But how often does that turn out well?

Exactly. And it’s the same in the workplace. For managers trying to enable their people to achieve their best, certain strategies will work better for some than for others. That’s why we’ve been reading up on author Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) who has some thought-provoking ideas on how personality types affect the way we work. As you’d expect, we’re all over anything that encourages better work habits. So in this and next week’s post, we’re going to take a closer look at what Rubin calls the “Four Tendencies” – and then discuss the PEP strategies that work best for each.

Let’s start with a quick explanation. Rubin sorts people into four categories according to how they respond to outer expectations (others’ expectations of them) and inner expectations (their expectations of themselves). These categories – and Rubin helpfully provides a quiz for those keen to clarify which category they belong to – are:

April 12, 2018

How to prioritise when projects pile up

Managing to prioritise? Or is workload-induced panic leaving you paralysed instead?

We all know the importance of prioritising. It’s certainly a topic dear to our hearts (you may have picked up on this). However, what we’ve observed more frequently of late is that people are under so much pressure that they’re defeated by even the simplest decisions. “It’s no longer about ‘Oh well, it’s crazy this week, but we’ll catch up next week,” observes PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda. “Now it’s more along the lines of ‘I can’t see how I’m ever going to catch up.’”

March 29, 2018

Tools of the Trade: Clever Collaborating, PEP-Style

Be honest. Does that whole “team player” thing sometimes get a bit – well, tiring?

We hear you. Sometimes a team effort involves a whole lot of the “effort” part and not quite enough of the “team”. We all know that collaboration is key to creating teams that work efficiently and deliver successful results. And let’s not forget that effective collaboration also minimises unnecessary distractions in the form of multiple emails and calls. With this in mind, we’ve recently undertaken a little collaboration experiment at PEPworldwide:nz. We’ve been using OneNote as a collaboration tool for a variety of projects we’ve worked on over the last few months. We wanted to see how OneNote in particular could improve communication within our team and potentially benefit our clients. So what have we learned in the process? Have a read of our tips below:

March 15, 2018

Time Out or Burn Out? Your Call

Non-stop. Jam-packed. Back-to-back. Do these terms sound familiar? Well, they shouldn’t.

We know you have a million things you need to achieve today. But we’re here to remind you that scheduling periodic pockets of downtime into your day is just as essential – if not more so – as everything else on your to-do list. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the benefits of building buffers into the structure of your workday will ultimately enable you to achieve more, not less. And we’ve got the science to prove it.

When you’re concentrating on a task, the most evolved part of your brain – the prefrontal cortex – is what keeps you focused. The prefrontal cortex controls your attention span, your working memory and the other cognitive abilities required to help you achieve your goals. However, research consistently shows that taking our minds off a goal for short periods of time can actually increase motivation. It’s a bit like rebooting your computer. However, what we advocate is doing this before you reach your own equivalent of the multi-coloured spinning wheel of doom and its partner in pain, Ctrl+Alt+Delete. So here’s a few points to consider before you race madly into your next meltdown:

March 8, 2018

Best Practices For Keeping Your Employees Happy This Year

2018 has just barely begun, and interesting trends in this year’s human resource management field are already becoming evident. As businesses strive to create productive and satisfying work environments, employee engagement remains the top focus.

Frequent Employee Performance Feedback

As always, communication is a crucial factor. Studies show that the more an employee understands what is happening with their company and how their role contributes to its success, the more favourably they view the company and their own work.

Businesses continue to get rid of the traditional process of annual and semi-annual performance reviews. Instead, ongoing feedback has demonstrated to increase engagement, as employees will no longer feel excluded from seeing how they are performing and contributing to success.

Pulse surveys have also become more popular. Checking in with staff more regularly keeps management apprised of issues, sentiment, and concerns that can be addressed before they turn into major problems. Employees like them because their voices are being heard and they can contribute to solutions that can aid in achieving work objectives.

March 2, 2018

Use It or Lose It: The Importance of Pruning and Purging

Desk. Pantry. Wardrobe. Garage. All potential caches of clutter. If you’ve accumulated enough accoutrements to see out the apocalypse, this one’s for you. And even if your living and working spaces are more minimalist than a monk’s, read on. Because with the ever-increasing deluge of information we receive these days, it doesn’t take long before even the most disciplined of us starts to feel swamped.

Consider this statistic: the US Department of Energy reports that 25% of people with two-car garages don’t park any cars in their garages – and only 32% have room for one car. Or how about this: one estimate (from the American National Soap and Detergent Association, no less) suggests that culling clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in the average home. (If the statistic itself doesn’t interest you, surely the existence of a “National Soap and Detergent Association” does. Who knew?)

In other words, the need to create a habit of regular “purging and pruning” has never been more relevant. While this behaviour is one of the most important ones we teach at PEPworldwide:nz, this time, we’re not just talking about your workspace. The following principles apply just as readily to organising your garage, or your wardrobe, or your pantry:

February 15, 2018

Constantly playing catch-up? Take time out for these tips.

Did “manage my time better” make it onto your list of New Year’s resolutions?

If it did, join the club. A basic Google search on “new year’s resolutions” brings up the issue of time management time and again (sorry). And if this didn’t make it onto your list, perhaps it should. Because as tired as this term is, chances are we could all be tackling our time constraints more effectively – and increasing not just our efficiency, but also our mental wellbeing. After all, running ourselves ragged without much result is hardly conducive to calm.

But what does “time management” really mean? PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda dislikes the term: “For me, it’s far too vague,” she says. Instead, she deconstructs it as “being efficient, effective and organised”. “And that’s where changing your behaviour is critical,” she explains. “It all comes back to keeping it simple: there’s no point trying to follow elaborate time management principles when you haven’t got the basic behaviours right first.”

And these are? “There’s two key parts to the concept,” continues Anda. “One is to prioritise. The other is to organise. These two skills alone underpin everything we teach at PEPworldwide:nz.” So far, so straightforward – but like so many things, what sounds simple in principle can be more challenging in practice. So read on for a friendly reminder about how to apply these two essential disciplines (and the key word here? Yep. Discipline.)

February 13, 2018

8 insanely easy ideas to a healthier, happier and motivated workforce

What is the greatest asset of a company? The people that work for it, of course. Their health should be at the forefront of any companies interests. This includes stress management and plenty of physical exercise as well.

Any investment into the area of wellness is bound to yield fruit. Employees will be more motivated. They will do better work. And finally, they will appreciate the company more.

Here is a comprehensive list of some easy steps for some heavy hitting healthy results.

February 5, 2018

Being driven to distraction? Try focusing on this.

How many times have you been interrupted today?

Frustrating, isn’t it? And if you consider that it takes around twenty minutes to regain your focus after every interruption, then it’s pretty clear to see that interruptions go well beyond personal irritation to have a significant detrimental effect on your – and consequently your company’s – productivity.

January 18, 2018

First Things First: How to Focus On What Matters

Managing to make progress on those new year’s plans? Or just managing?

The start of a new year can be as chaotic as the close of the previous one. Everyday issues crowd in and suddenly, all those awesome resolutions you had at the ready get relegated to the back of the queue. If your year has started with a bang and a whimper, don’t lose hope. We’re going to provide a little positive reinforcement in the form of two key criteria you should keep front of mind as projects pile up and demands increase. Now take a breath and read on:

January 5, 2018

New Year, new resolutions. Are you ready?

Still hanging on to your post-holiday high?

That’s great – because with energy levels up and enthusiasm at its peak, now’s the perfect time to ready yourself for some New Year’s resolutions. And we’d like to put the emphasis on “ready” – because in our experience, even the most optimistic ambition is achievable with the right preparation. With this in mind, we thought it would be pertinent to begin the year with our key tips on setting realistic goals for the months ahead. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training first, right? So have a read of our checklist below before you tear off down the track:

December 21, 2017

But wait – there’s (a tiny bit) more.

Starting to feel a little more jaded than jolly?

We hear you. And we hope that our pre-Christmas planning advice has helped you to manage at least some of the mayhem. Hopefully you’ve prepped, purged and planned ahead. Organised your inbox? Even better. Reader, you’re almost there!

But before you switch off the office lights for the last time, we have one final tip for you. This piece of advice was sent in by one of our clients, and it’s just the sort of suggestion we love to share: simple, straightforward, but super-effective. We’ll keep it short and sweet, we promise. Here goes:

Regardless of where you’ve chosen to spend your holiday, technology will almost certainly enable those work emails to keep on coming. And with all these emails comes the compulsion to check them. If you struggle to switch off – both literally and figuratively – Allianz Finance Manager Jordan Kightley recommends the following:

December 8, 2017

Pre-Xmas Inbox Cull – or Post-Xmas Inbox Chaos? You Choose.

Is your inbox already inducing exhaustion?

This time of year is not called “the silly season” for nothing. All those communications can quickly spin out of control as everyone rushes to meet deadlines and clear desks before Christmas. As stress levels rise and survival instincts kick in, it’s no wonder so many of us choose a “flight” over a “fight” response and cave in to the chaos. Those emails can wait till the new year, right?

Well, we’re here to give you the “fight” option instead. We’ve provided our three favourite inbox organisation tips below. Follow our advice and you’ll not only keep your head above water – you’ll be well out of the water and beachside with a cocktail instead.

November 23, 2017

Plan. Purge. Prep. A Pre-Xmas Survival Guide (You’re Welcome).

Feeling more Christmas fear than Christmas cheer?

A wee heads-up: there’s less than five weeks now until Christmas. And if that realisation leaves you feeling more frantic than festive, don’t panic. We’ve put together a few pre-Christmas planning tips to ensure that you not only make it out of your office in time for your holiday, but that you leave with your workload completely under control. And we know you’re super-busy, so in true PEP-style we’ve prioritised. Listed below are what we – and our participants – believe are the three most important things to tick off before the turkey timer pops:

November 9, 2017

Want to Work in the World’s Best Workplace? Work on Yourself First.

A re you crazy about your company? Or does it just drive you crazy? And if it’s the latter – what are you going to do about it?

Fortune magazine recently released its annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, with Google topping the rankings for the sixth year in a row. And it’s easy to see why, with its covetable combination of generous perks, employee-friendly policies and a safe, supportive work culture. As more and more organisations work to attract and retain the best people in their industries, it’s no wonder that prospective employees now join companies armed with some pretty high expectations.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with having high expectations of your workplace. And let’s face it, all of us (not just much-maligned millennials) tend to operate from a certain sense of entitlement. However, we think it’s time to acknowledge that even the most appealing perks and policies are pointless without employees’ buy-in. So let’s stop for a minute and challenge ourselves to look at this from a different perspective. Instead of asking what’s in it for us, let’s explore what we as individuals contribute to our company’s work culture instead. We’ve given you a few points to consider below:

November 2, 2017

Keep Calm and Carry On: The Professional’s Guide to Persistence

G o on, admit it. We’ve all got something – a work project, a gym membership, occasionally our children – that we quietly fantasise about abandoning. And if one particular project doesn’t quite make it over the line, it doesn’t really matter, right?

Actually, it matters more than you’d think. A recent collection of studies performed by two professors at Northwestern University in the US piqued our interest. In one experiment, the professors gave participants ten minutes to come up with as many creative ideas as they could. They then surprised the participants with an extra ten minutes to finish the task. Before the additional ten minutes began, they asked the participants how many extra ideas they thought they could produce. On average, participants came up with 66% more ideas than they had predicted they would – and these ideas were even more creative than the ones produced during their first effort. In other words, they completely underestimated how persevering could power up their creative potential.

Now, as you know, we’re all about achieving your potential (creative or otherwise), not underrating it. But developing the ability to persevere is easier said than done when our society’s rapid turnover of ideas, products, projects and information makes moving on seem much more attractive than simply moving forward. So how do we counter this culture of easy surrender and push ourselves to press on when willpower starts to wane? Here are a few key tips:

October 12, 2017

Forget About Staying Ahead. Stay Relevant Instead.

D igital transformation. Artificial intelligence. A Bladerunner reboot. If you feel like you’re struggling to keep up, you’re not alone. So perhaps you shouldn’t.

Technology in various forms is rapidly changing the modern working landscape. PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda knows of at least two organisations that are planning to cut jobs in favour of automated technology. “However, until they fully understand how they will use the automation, they can’t be certain which jobs it will affect and how it will affect them,” she says. So the problem is this: how does an individual in this or any other organisation stay ahead of technology that no one yet understands?

Short answer? You can’t. But what you can do is work on staying relevant instead.

September 28, 2017

Power to the People: The Importance of Employee Engagement

S o how’s the mood in your office right now?

Could you answer that straight away? If so, fantastic – we’re preaching to the converted. And if you had to stop and think a little, that’s ok too – we know how busy it gets. But we’re here to remind you that maintaining employee engagement is one of the hottest issues in the workplace at the moment. It’s certainly an issue that’s always on our radar: before undertaking our training, our clients on average rate engagement with their companies at only 6.5 out of 10*. Room for improvement? We think so. Read on, then, for our perspective on this topic – and a few pointers on powering up your employees’ performance.

The easiest way to diagnose the mood of your office – if it’s not immediately obvious – is simply to bring staff together, says Anda. “Work with your team to understand what they’re hearing, what they’re seeing, what challenges they’re facing. Ask them what motivates them and what doesn’t. Help them to understand the difference their roles make to the organisation – what impact they have as individuals. Don’t be afraid to have that conversation – it’s not a tough conversation to have.”

September 14, 2017

Eyes Off the Prize: Rethinking Your Route to Success

W e’re all pretty familiar with the importance of goal-setting, both in our personal and professional lives. But what if all the focus on a final result is actually causing us to under-achieve?

A recent post by American author James Clear piqued our interest. In it, he suggests that goals can actually “reduce your current happiness”. Now, as you know, at PEPworldwide:nz we’re pretty big on goal-setting – so we thought this warranted a little further investigation. Does this contradict those PEP principles we know and love?

Not at all, says PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda. Clear’s point is that we should take a step back and focus on the process, rather than agonising over the end result. “Sometimes something is so big we don’t even make a start, and then it hangs over us,” she explains. “How many times have you got to the stage where you’ve created a goal – and then you haven’t managed to progress it any further? The key is simply to initiate a process.”

What we propose then is not so much a paradigm shift in our approach to goal-setting as a slight readjustment of perspective. Clear uses a sporting analogy as an example: if you were a basketball coach and focused only on what your team did at practice each day, rather than focusing on winning the championship, would you still get results? He believes that you would. And we agree. Sure, we’re all about setting goals (realistic ones, remember!) – but we also encourage our clients to both carefully plan and successfully execute each step they will take towards achieving them.

August 31, 2017

Is Less Really More? How Working a 30-Hour Week Really Works

A 30-hour working week? What’s not to like, right?

Sweden recently completed a two-year trial in which a handful of companies ranging from start-ups to nursing homes experimented with allowing workers to work six-hour days on full pay. And last year launched a trial of a 30-hour working week option for some teams of staff, offering those employees 75% of typical pay and full benefits.

While’s experiment is ongoing, Sweden’s trial clearly demonstrated improvements to both workers’ productivity and work/life balance. However, critics argued that the cost of such a scheme outweighed the benefits, with one of the trials – a 23-month study at an elderly care facility in Gothenburg – costing the city about 12 million kronor (around $NZ2 million). Yikes. So – game over?

Not necessarily. You don’t need an established 30-hour week scheme at your company, says PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda. The key is simply to work as if you do – and this means maximising your productivity. “It’s not about the hours you work – it’s what you do in the hours you work,” she says. She points out that the results of the 30-hour week experiment in Gothenburg demonstrate that it was quite feasible for the nurses to perform their roles in thirty hours rather than working their usual eight-hour shifts. Working fewer hours made them more efficient – and perhaps more importantly, it made them happier. “The extra ten hours a week that we usually work so often comprises work that isn’t important – work that, even if it’s not completed, is of little to no consequence,” she says.

August 17, 2017

Digital Detox: Daring to Disconnect

T ime to ’fess up. Are you an after-hours email addict?

France’s new “right to disconnect” law has got us thinking. Isn’t it ironic that the country which gave us champagne and croissants has become a champion of moderation? But more importantly: is similar legislation necessary here? And if such legislation were implemented, would it be effective in banishing burnout?

Think about your after-hours email activity. Is checking and responding to emails outside your regular office hours a compulsory part of your job? Or is it just a compulsion? PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda contends that our modern culture’s “urgency addiction” undermines our efforts to maintain a work/life balance. She once worked with a senior executive whose wife would ban his mobile phone from the house when he arrived home at night. “He had to leave his phone in the car, so that he wasn’t distracted around his kids,” she says. “But his wife went looking for him once and found him sitting in his car in the garage checking his emails, simply because he couldn’t stop himself.” In other words, it’s going to take more than legislation to encourage email addicts into rehab.

Guilty as charged? Then let’s stage an intervention. We’ve listed a few pointers below about how to kick the habit of compulsive after-hours correspondence. (It’s not quite twelve steps, but it’s just as effective.)

August 3, 2017

Personal Perspectives on Productivity: Part III

W ork/life balance. Nailed it? Then you’re in the minority, because in our experience this particular productivity issue remains a constant challenge. And in everybody’s defence, the goal posts – particularly in our modern environment – are always shifting. So in this week’s post we asked our executives what they think are the biggest challenges for people in maintaining an effective work/life balance. Read on to see what key factors they identified:

July 20, 2017

Personal Perspectives on Productivity: Part II

W e launched our new blog series on workplace productivity with an interview with John Campbell, the Group Manager for Business Improvement and Innovation for the New Zealand Customs Service. As we continue our series, we’d like to explore each of the questions we put to John in a little more detail. So this week we asked other executives what issues have the biggest impact on their workplace productivity. Is there a common denominator? We’ve collated their observations below:

July 6, 2017

Personal Perspectives on Productivity: Part I

As promised, it’s time to get personal: we’d like to kick off our brand-new series of posts on workplace productivity with an interview with John Campbell, the Group Manager for Business Improvement and Innovation for the New Zealand Customs Service.

As someone who’s passionate about inspiring, motivating, training and maintaining enthusiastic and productive staff, John is perfectly placed to share his views on the issues affecting professionals in the modern workplace. Check out his thought-provoking responses to our questions below:

July 4, 2017

Personal Perspectives on Productivity: Executives Identify the Trends, Challenges and Ideas Transforming Their Workplace

M any of our previous posts have discussed our take on – and solutions for – productivity issues affecting the modern workplace. However, in our next series of posts, we’d like to change the perspective.

We’re going to look at these issues from the inside out: we’ve interviewed a number of professionals in a variety of industries for their ideas and insights on workplace productivity – the trends they’ve observed, the challenges they’ve encountered and the strategies they’ve implemented or would like to implement to increase the success of their businesses.

Over the next few posts, we’ll share their opinions, ideas and observations with you to create a snapshot of the modern workplace in New Zealand. As you read their responses, be sure to send us your own opinions too: we’d love to know how you identify with the issues raised. Are we all encountering the same difficulties, or do productivity issues vary across industries? Let’s generate some discussion. After all, everyone benefits from a little shared inspiration.

May 25, 2017

Scrapping Paper: The Perks of Paper Independence

C ome across the term “paper independence” yet? If you haven’t, you will soon. And since we’re here to keep you informed about the latest workplace trends, let’s explore this concept a bit further:

You’ll notice we don’t use the term “paperless”. “Companies make the decision to ‘go paperless’, but this is very difficult to achieve when you have potentially four generations working in one workplace – people who have only ever worked with paper and others who barely know what paper is unless they have to scan it to put it into their systems. So we are loath to use the word ‘paperless’, because for some it is neither practical nor productive,” says PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda.

PEPworldwide:nz advocates paper independence instead: “Paper independence means it’s ok if you want to print something – for example, a contract or proposal – to read it,” explains Anda. “Some of us still find it easier to read on paper rather than electronically. The key to paper independence, however, is what we do with it when we’re finished with it. You don’t need to keep it because you have an electronic version. Challenge yourself to ask, ”Have I finished with this piece of paper? Am I ready to recycle?’ with everything you deal with.”

May 12, 2017

All About Outlook Part III: Keeping Control of Your Calendar

H ave our posts inspired you with what Outlook has to offer? Been motivated to conduct an email overhaul? Great! So now that you’re on a roll, what’s next? In this, our final post on PEP participants’ favourite time-saving Outlook features, we’ll explore Outlook’s Calendar and Tasks functions. Here are the key tips that our clients tell us have made the biggest difference to their working lives:

April 27, 2017

All About Outlook Part II: Top Time-Saving Tools

In our previous post, we provided strategies to help you clear your email backlog and set yourself up for efficient mail management. Did you take on this challenge over Easter? Fantastic – because now we’re taking it a step further. In this post, we’re going to identify and explain the specific Outlook features our clients love the most (in other words, the ones we all wish we’d known about years ago).

April 13, 2017

All About Outlook: Managing More than Just Mail Part I

L iving in your inbox? We hear this complaint so often we thought we’d provide some more specific strategies on using Outlook to manage your mail. In this post we’re going to focus on clearing any backlog and setting the right systems in place to prevent any future pile-ups. The upcoming Easter break provides the perfect opportunity to show that inbox a bit of tough love. Up for the challenge? Read on:

March 30, 2017

Your Challenges. Our Solutions. Essential Advice for Managers Part Three

O ur previous posts for this month discussed both the essential strategies every manager needs to know and the best ways for managers to motivate their teams. Well, now it’s time to put those theories into the context of real life situations: thank you to all subscribers who have shared their experiences with us. Read on, then, to see what challenges other managers regularly face and what strategies we’ve recommended to overcome them.

March 16, 2017

Smells Like Team Spirit: Essential Advice for Managers Part Two

In our previous post, we discussed two key strategies that enable managers to perform their roles more effectively. This time round, we’re going to explore the best ways that managers can motivate their team members to succeed (and remember, we’d love to hear your stories for inclusion in our final March post). Once again, we’re taking a PEP less-is-more approach: four key strategies are all that’s required for you to engage, support and motivate each member of your team.

March 2, 2017

Methods, Not Madness: Essential Advice for Managers Part One

At PEPworldwide we’ve observed that managers often struggle to, well, manage – to balance the diverse needs of their teams with the specific requirements of their own roles. So this month’s posts will focus on the key strategies that help managers both boost their individual performances and maximise the performance of their teams. We thought we’d kick off the month by sharing what, in our experience, are the two most important ways to improve your ability to manage effectively and ensure you are maximising your company’s biggest asset: your people.

We’d love to hear from you, too: what are the biggest challenges you face as a manager, team leader or decision-maker? Tell us your stories and we’ll explore these experiences and more in our final March post.

February 17, 2017

Working It Out: Are Those Plans Still in Place?

T he working year (and, typically, the glorious summer weather) is now well underway for most of us, so we thought the time was right to check in, review our previous posts and ensure that our suggestions are proving useful. So please take a few minutes to think about what challenges you face in the workplace and what sort of posts would provide the most value for you – and then drop us a quick message. Now’s a great time to join our online community of like-minded professionals who are all sharing their advice, challenges and successes: everyone who fires through a bit of feedback goes in the draw to win an elegant glass carafe set and a copy of Personal Efficiency Program founder Kerry Gleeson’s definitive book on productivity, The Personal Efficiency Program: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Win Back Control of Your Work.

February 2, 2017

Breaking Out of Your Inbox: Tips for Managing Your Mail

W e see it time and time again, at every level of an organisation and in every industry: employees who are overwhelmed by the volume of email they receive and stressed about their inability to process it. And the ramifications of an overflowing inbox go beyond increased stress on individuals: any issue which affects an employee’s efficiency has an impact on the productivity of the entire company. So if you’re inundated with email, have a read of our suggestions below. Not only is it possible to regain control, it’s easier than you think.

January 19, 2017

And…Action! You’ve Set Your Goals – Now Set Yourself Up to Achieve Them

IN our previous post, we discussed five of the best ways to set realistic, relevant goals. But that’s only half the story – because how you set about accomplishing those goals now is just as important as how you clarified them in the first place. Once again, a well thought-out approach is essential. So this time, let’s take a look at five ways to set yourself up for success:

January 6, 2017

Taking Aim: How to Set Goals for Success – Not Stress

E asing yourself out of that recliner and back into work? Simply sitting back down at your desk can feel like an accomplishment (bonus points if you’re not holding a cocktail). However, since you no doubt followed our advice on pre-Christmas planning, hopefully you’ve enjoyed a stress-free start to the working year and are already thinking about exactly what you want to achieve over the coming months. But before you get too far ahead, remember that effective goal-setting does require a bit of careful thought. Let’s take a look at five of the best ways to ensure your goals are the right combination of aspirational and attainable:

December 21, 2016

Home Help: Managing Your Personal Life and More with PEP

B ringing your work home with you is never a good idea and, if you’ve completed PEP, this won’t be an issue for you anyway. But if you haven’t already, do consider bringing home the PEP strategies you use at the office – because as our suggestions below demonstrate, PEP’s principles for increasing efficiency go well beyond the workplace. Let’s explore a few ways these strategies can transform your home life, too.

December 12, 2016

Keeping Your Distance: How to Stay in Control When Working Out of the Office

T ough day at the office? Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular and for many, working in a traditional office environment is a thing of the past. In fact for some, remote working becomes a necessity rather than a choice: with the news that a number of office buildings in Wellington remain closed after the November 14 earthquake, now seems a good time for us at PEPworldwide to share our tips on how to stay just as productive when you work out of the office as when you work in it.

November 23, 2016

Family Matters

T oday is Thanksgiving Day in the States – although it’s possible that the widespread unrest following the US presidential election will continue to blight celebrations for our American friends. While Thanksgiving is not typically a holiday that New Zealanders recognise, perhaps this is a good time for us too to be thankful that – at the moment at least – we live in a country of comparative political stability.

Most New Zealanders, however, will now be looking forward to Christmas. And as the year draws to a close, we tend to start thinking about family. At PEPworldwide, we like to think of all our clients and past participants as part of our extended PEP family – so we thought this would be a good opportunity to share a little family history with you. We’d like to think that providing a brief backstory – how PEP evolved from one man’s practical suggestions into a global network of businesses in over thirty countries – will help to put our commitment to our company into context. Read on, then, for the story of PEP:

November 10, 2016

It’s the Thought that Counts: Top Tips for Productive Pre-Christmas Planning

It may seem early to be thinking about Christmas, but look around: chocolate Santas are already tempting us in supermarkets, save-the-dates are filling your in-box and the usual suspects are releasing Christmas albums (Neil Diamond, we’re looking at you). Don’t leave it until twelve days before Christmas to plan your work calendar around your holiday: now is the perfect time to be thinking ahead. So with this in mind, we’ve collated the top suggestions from our own facilitators, from outside the productivity industry and from the Internet about how to successfully manage your Christmas deadlines. At PEP we’re all about achieving what matters – and in this case, it’s a well-earned break from work concerns

October 27, 2016

Tricks and Treats: Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination

H alloween’s just round the corner, but forget creepy clowns and sugar-crazed kids: sometimes nothing’s more frightening than a growing pile of tasks you’ve been putting off. Time is arguably our most precious commodity – so why are we so good at wasting it? Because this is what procrastination does: it robs us of the opportunity to achieve something meaningful. It undermines our efficiency, decreases our productivity and increases our stress. And let’s face it: these consequences are unlikely to have a positive effect on your work or personal life.

There’s a substantial quantity of research into the psychological origins of this universal human trait. And one of the biggest causes? Fear of failure. At its most basic level, fear is designed to protect us from pain – including emotional pain. We cling to the hope that if we procrastinate long enough, we will feel more confident, be better prepared or a difficult situation will improve. Unfortunately, more often than not, the reverse is true.

So how do we counteract this unhelpful instinct?

October 11, 2016

Welcome to our inaugural post

It’s been a fantastic year of growth and change at PEPworldwide:nz, and we’re keeping the momentum rolling with the launch of our latest initiative: the PEPworldwide:nz blog. Welcome to our inaugural post!

P erhaps we should begin by saying that we know that the Internet is already crammed with blogs on procrastination, time-saving strategies, tips on email management and more.

Obviously, as productivity specialists, we don’t want to contribute to this clutter. But as leaders in our industry, we do feel that we’re in a unique position to provide valuable commentary on the varied issues confronting executives in the modern workplace. And so what we intend to do with our blog is act as your filter: we’re going to sort through the latest research on boosting business performance, we’ll identify workplace trends and we’ll collate the newest and most effective ideas in maximising efficiency – so that you don’t have to. Think of us as quality control. After all, this is what we do best: help people to regain control by identifying what matters most.