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We’ve all come across the sentence on a job advert; “You’ll be working in a fast-paced environment with a dedicated team”. But what should you expect from working in a place like this and how can you harness the most out of it to excel in your career?

The thought of a job in a high-intensity environment can seem daunting or challenging at first, but many people soon thrive in these environments, as they can quickly become exhilarating and exciting places to work. These are key factors in keeping staff motivated and dedicated to the role.

However, unrealistically high standards and expectations can quickly burn out even the highest performers. In order to prevent this from occurring, employers need to keep staff driven, while employees need to use a combination of good time management skills and a smarter approach to working in order to excel in a fast-paced environment.

Know your role

Prior to starting a new job, or ideally before even applying for one, make sure you’re educated on what exactly the role is and what will be expected from you. There would be nothing worse than turning up for a new job thinking that you can work at 50% capacity when much more of you is expected – you’ll quickly burn out and find yourself unsuited for the role.

When you’re sure a fast working pace is for you, be aware that there might not be the capabilities in place for much in the way of on-the-job training, especially if your line manager is also particularly busy. So the more you know about the job and the company before you start the better. If you do have any questions, try to catch your line manager/supervisor when they’re not rushed off their feet.

Challenge employees

In a hectic environment, employees can quickly become unmotivated if they aren’t kept challenged. This can soon lead to boredom with the potential for staff to begin looking elsewhere for a more rewarding role.

Employees should be set challenges to analyse their work or be encouraged to participate in something where they will feel their intellect is being noticed. If your employer is not setting you challenging tasks speak to them about this – chances are they are just concerned about making you feel overwhelmed in an already stressful environment. By feeling challenged employees will hopefully head to work feeling motivated to change this uncomfortable situation.

Take a time-out

Taking your mind off the work you are doing, even if just for 10 minutes, can make a huge difference to your working mentality, particularly when working in a fast-paced office. Try to get outside for a bit of fresh air, a leg stretch and a change of scenery (if the British weather allows for it...) or grab a fellow employee for a chat about weekend plans or that show you both watched last night. By taking a break you’ll be in a fresh state of mind to start work again – research has also shown that those who take a break tend to be more productive than those who work straight through the day.

Practicing a few relaxation techniques can help to speed up the transition between busy and calm. Practicing yoga in the middle of the office floor might be inappropriate (unless you have a gym on-site, in which case this would be a great way of clearing your head ready to start work again) but learning a few breathing techniques or counting to ten can make a real difference in helping to switch off from work.

Longer working doesn’t equal better working

In a busy environment you might think that the longer you stay at the office the more work you’ll get done. While this might be true for some, by changing your working ethics to a smarter way of working you can achieve the same amount of work in 8 hours as you would in 10 or 11.

If you’re currently working long hours but find that by 6pm you’re beginning to procrastinate, get tired or get very little done compared to the rest of the day it might be time to re-evaluate your working style. This ultimately comes down to great time management skills and an ability to be organised. Once you’ve settled into your role you might be able to look for shortcuts or time saving techniques to help you multi-task and get more done in the same amount of time.

Team work

Most companies that involve a fast-paced environment also involve a lot of team work. Get to know the other people in your team (and other departments) as quickly as possible so a working relationship can begin to form. It’s also worthwhile finding out what exactly it is they all do, as well as how what you do influences their work.

Getting to know your team will also be useful as you settle in. If you have any queries during your first few weeks but don’t want to go to your line manager or supervisor, speaking to a member of your team might be a suitable alternative.

Prepare yourself

Going into a fast-paced environment unprepared isn’t a great idea. With everything happening so quickly you’ll be more prone to making mistakes, especially during your first few weeks. Ensure you’re prepared for this by having plans in place for how you would deal with a problem should one arise. No one likes to make mistakes, but if you’ve got a plan in action to quickly resolve it you’ll look much better around your new employer than getting yourself into a flap.

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