The secret to finding that work/life balance
There’s no denying that we live life at a fast pace and that many people are part of a very driven society, particularly when it comes to work. Because we’re working so hard to be productive, it’s becoming more and more of a challenge to fulfil both our roles at home and at work satisfactorily.
This is often a source of great stress and strain as we try and navigate our way through the conflict that seems to occur naturally between our work lives and our private lives. When it comes to finding that ideal work/life balance, there is no single formula that works for everyone as each person integrates the various aspects of their live differently – you have to find what works for you and your family. In your quest to do this, we’re sharing some strategies that might be useful.
In order to get closer to finding that work/life balance, it can help to have a conversation with your significant other and your children. Use this as an opportunity to open up to one another and share perceptions as well as expectations with regards to time spent at work and with the family. Being aware of these things will allow you to pinpoint the main issues and find solutions for them. Having this kind of discussion can also encourage more understanding from both sides: you can better grasp how your family feels about your relationship with work, whilst they can very often better understand what you work responsibilities are.
Put boundaries in place
Boundaries are often put into place as a means of protection and the same is true when it comes to work/life balance. You need to determine for yourself what you consider to be acceptable actions or not, because once you do that, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decisions when it comes to work vs life. Having defined limitations that you stick to can help you say no more easily when need be but most importantly, the boundaries also make it easier for you to tell when something you do is not in favour of one aspect of your life. Structure is needed when it comes to the work/life balance and that is exactly what clear boundaries will provide.
Be more flexible and learn to accept
We plan as much as we can for things to come but sometimes life just throws you a curveball and those plans have to change. In these instances, the key is to be flexible. Things can change in an instant and so it’s important to be able to bend with the change – being adaptable will make finding that balance somewhat easier. More than that, it’s beneficial for you to let go of the guilt and learn to accept: accept that sometimes imbalance is unavoidable and that one part of your life will be prioritised over the other. If you have an ill child at home, then you need to acknowledge that you may just have to miss that work event, and on the flip-side, if you have a looming work deadline, then that means having to miss a few dinners at home until it’s met. Remember not to be so hard on yourself.
Grant yourself some “me time”
Leading on from the previous point, it’s recommended that you find time for yourself on a regular basis. This will allow you to relax, regroup and relieve some stress. Taking time off can end up benefitting you as well as everyone around you, in that when you feel refreshed, chances are you’ll perform better at work and have more energy and focus when spending time with those you love. With a clearer head you’re likely to find that work/life balance much more easily.
Allocate time to be spent with your family
Just as we have schedules and calendars in our work lives so that things run more smoothly, so too should we be blocking out time to spend with family and friends. When it comes to those plans, it’s also important that you give your loved ones your full attention and that you’re present – the last thing your kids or spouse will appreciate is if you’re running off every few minutes to answer phone calls and send emails. When you set aside quality time to be spent with your family it’s vital that you honour your commitment and make it count in the ways they’ll value the most.
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to finding that work/life balance and there will be times when it simply doesn’t seem possible. At the end of the day, we can only do the best we can. Work and life will always be in competition with one another, but if there one thing you always remind yourself, it should be that whilst working hard is important, it shouldn’t necessarily come at the cost of the things that matter the most: and that’s family.
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How to keep your staff happy and motivated
Keeping staff happy and motivated is important at the best of times, but even more so during the time leading up to the festive season and New Year. It’s very easy for employees to get distracted and lose interest at this time of the year, so it’s vital, as a manager or small business owner, to do whatever you can to maintain momentum, keep morale up, and encourage employees to stay focussed on their year-end goals.
Keeping staff happy and motivated is important at the best of times, but even more so during the time leading up to the festive season and New Year. It’s very easy for employees to get distracted and lose interest at this time of the year, so it’s vital, as a manager or small business owner, to do whatever you can to maintain momentum, keep morale up, and encourage employees to stay focussed on their year-end goals. Apart from this, it goes without saying that very often, feeling happy and appreciated in a role at a company can automatically lead to staff experiencing a high level of job satisfaction. Read on to find out what you can do to keep your employees engaged, motivated and productive, especially when they need it most.
Let your vision be your guide
Ensuring that the vision you have for your business is clearly defined and understood by all your employees is a good place to start when it comes to keeping them engaged. In many ways, your vision acts as a guide, a sort of roadmap for your staff, as once they have a solid idea of the goals of the business and what their role is in getting it there, it will be easier for them to remain focussed and work hard to achieve the ultimate vision. Understanding the company’s vision also means that employees know what to expect and won’t be caught by surprise by any twists or turns.
Walk the walk but more importantly, talk the talk
The power of having open lines of communication within a company should never be under-estimated. As a business leader or manager, it’s your responsibility to create a culture of communication and ensure that all lines of communication are both open and effective. Employees should be made to feel comfortable enough to speak their minds and secure enough to know that whatever they say will be received and noted. Developing an open, two-way conversation between staff member and manager is vital if shared goals are going to be achieved by working together. Regular meetings, training sessions, Q&A opportunities as well as consistent updates can be helpful when it comes to maintaining effective communication.
In the past we’ve spoken about incentivising employees, but on top of this, it’s also important to provide regular feedback and recognise those who do great work. These can both be excellent motivators and when people receive public acknowledgment, they will almost always be inspired to continue producing quality work. When an employee feels “forgotten” or that their hard work goes unnoticed, they are likely to lose motivation and possibly begin to under-perform as a result. This is why it’s vital for managers to recognise such individuals and thank them on a regular basis – you’d be surprised at how far a pat on the back can go.
Give employees what they want and need
Supporting and nurturing employees can play a significant role in how they perform. If staff are made to feel comfortable, encouraged and assisted in their day-to-day tasks, the chances are that they will feel valued, and therefore more inclined to do a great job. Checking in with employees personally every so often can help managers ensure that staff remain happy and receive all the assistance they require (such as tools, training etc).
Keep people engaged
If employees feel involved they’re likely to remain engaged and energised. Finding ways to include them in planning and decision-making can really lead to them feeling empowered, as well as driven to achieve excellence in all they do. For example: If people feel responsible for a project from the start, they are likely to fight for it and work extra hard to ensure its success. So don’t be afraid to entrust certain staff members with tasks you feel they will “make their baby” and do whatever they can to make it great – they will appreciate it and be more engaged than ever before.
Make things fun
Although this can be a tricky one, injecting some fun into the mix can end up boosting productivity and motivation levels. Things such as exciting outings and Employee Days can really help improve morale. Providing free food at the office can also help put a smile on peoples’ faces – after all, it’s the little things that count. If people are happy and enjoying themselves, they’re likely to want to put more effort into everything they do.
Customer satisfaction undoubtedly begins with employees, so happy staff is almost always going to mean happy customers. You may have the best products and services on offer, but without motivated and committed employees behind them who are willing to go the extra mile, this becomes almost meaningless. So do what you can to keep your employees happy, engaged and motivated – it will undoubtedly show in their work.
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Ergonomics shmergonomics: The art of sitting at a desk
For those of you unsure of what the term ‘ergonomics’ means, let’s begin with a short definition: ergonomics is essentially “the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment”. Without realising it, your work environment can have a direct effect on your mood, performance and general wellbeing. As an owner of a business, you want to ensure that your employees have a safe and comfortable place in which to work, because ultimately, happy employees are productive employees.
For those of you unsure of what the term ‘ergonomics’ means, let’s begin with a short definition: ergonomics is essentially “the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment”. Without realising it, your work environment can have a direct effect on your mood, performance and general wellbeing. As an owner of a business, you want to ensure that your employees have a safe and comfortable place in which to work, because ultimately, happy employees are productive employees. Very often, those who spend many hours sitting at a desk suffer from aches and pains associated with their sitting position and general working habits. With a few simple tweaks though, your work space can be transformed to become more comfortable and supportive, and ultimately, something that facilitates good work, rather than hindering it. What follows are five things you should be aware of each time you sit down at your desk.
All things chair
Your chair is the most important piece of office equipment you will ever own. Ideally a chair with lumbar (back) support is preferable, and the support should be positioned in the curve of your back. Movement is also key – unlock your chair so that you can move back and forth. This will help to free up your back muscles a bit more, hopefully preventing that feeling of stiffness. In terms of height, you always want to make sure that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. This opens up the hip area and puts less strain on the lower back. Make sure you sit with your feet flat on the floor as well.
The height of your desk actually depends on the height of your chair. For example, if you need to raise your chair to allow your hips to be higher than your knees, you may have to also raise your desk slightly too. The important thing is to get the height of your chair right before looking at your desk. In the end, when sitting nice and close into the desk and resting your arms on the desk, you want to have about a 90 degree angle at both your elbows. If you sit at a desk that is too high for you, you will find increased tension in your shoulders as you’ll effectively be reaching up and over the desk, causing a build-up of strain in the shoulders. The golden rule: get your chair height right first, then look to get your desk sorted.
Helpful hint: if you have to raise your chair considerably to make sure those hips are a little higher than those knees, then simply use a footrest to make up for the distance – don’tlower your chair!
Everything has its place
When it comes to where equipment should be placed on your desk, remember that in most cases, close is best. Your screen should be positioned at roughly an arms’ length away from you – if your screens is miles away, you’ll be more tempted to slouch forwards in your attempt to get closer to the screen. When looking straight ahead, your natural eye line should fall within the top third of your screen. If you’re looking straight over your screen, then that means you’ll be looking down unnecessarily on a regular basis. Use something to boost your screen – you get monitors stands, but a stack of paper can always work well too. Also make sure you keep your keyboard and mouse close by – over-reaching for your mouse can put a lot of strain on your shoulder, and if your keyboard is too far from you, you’ll end up leaning forwards all the time, which will ultimately result in hunching. Keep everything you need within arms’ reach.
Take a break
Getting up regularly from your desk and walking around for a few minutes can really help to loosen up the back muscles and prevent a build-up of strain. Many back problems are due to people not getting up enough and sitting for long periods of time. Ideally, take a break every half an hour or so, even if that means standing up at your desk and stretching for a few minutes. It really works so be sure to take regular breaks throughout your work day.
Posture is important
Remembering to sit correctly at your desk all day long can be hard, but it’s important you try. Make sure you sit upright (avoid slouching) with your back firmly against the backrest of your chair. Constant contact with the back of the chair will give your back the support it requires. If all your equipment is in its correct place, it will help to reduce those elements that can negatively impact on your posture and overall back health.
There are little things we can do to improve how we sit at our desks and since we spend large portions of our days there, it’s worth it in the long run. It pays to invest in some quality office chairs to ensure that it’s easier for your employees to be comfortable and therefore, more productive.
Speaking of wise investments… Why not also consider investing in a quality system that can help you handle your payroll each month? Look no further than Sage One Payroll.
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The condescending boss – Top eight things to avoid saying to employees
Work is usually a stress-charged environment, and it’s easy to say something rash in a moment of anger or frustration. What we often forget, however, is how much of an impact such a small slip can have on the morale and production output of our employees. Here are eight things every boss should avoid saying to his employees.
Work is usually a stress-charged environment, and it’s easy to say something rash in a moment of anger or frustration. What we often forget, however, is how much of an impact such a small slip can have on the morale and production output of our employees. Here are eight things every boss should avoid saying to his employees.
“I don’t have time for this”
As a manager, you’re expected to have time for everything, and if you don’t, you need to make some. If your employees come to you for help and simply receive antagonism, they won’t do so again. That scenario could end in you not being able to put out fires before they start, simply because your employee is trying to deal with it alone.
“If you don’t like it, I’ll find someone who does”
You have no right to throw your weight around in a superior position. If someone doesn’t like something you do or expect others to do, it would serve you better to find out from them why they have that opinion, rather than to shut them down immediately.
“You’re lucky to have a job/a bonus/a salary”
This is a backward way of telling someone they don’t deserve to be in a position they’re in. If they believe your statement, they’ll most likely end up not trying to do any good work at all, because they’ll believe that whatever they do, their efforts will go unappreciated.
“You have no idea what stress is”
This belittlement of someone’s personal and emotional situation is not only insensitive, but downright rude. Stress, like any other emotion, is relative, and what’s easily dealt with for you may be terrible for them, or vice versa. Try and be more understanding and don’t put how you would react to things on others.
“Whose job is on the line if this doesn’t work?”
Creating an atmosphere of fear won’t work in anyone’s favour. Threatening jobs or positions over a mistake will not only increase tension, but decrease actual productivity. This will mostly be because everyone will be too scared to try creative, risky ideas, and those can often be the most successful.
“That’s not your job”
Severely limiting people’s innovation and desire to think and work “out of the box” means they will do exactly that. They will think in the box, and never overreach, never try harder than they absolutely have to, and never, ever, turn your company into something more than absolutely ordinary.
“That won’t work/We’ve tried that”
Don’t ever shoot down someone’s idea without substituting a correction, or an idea of your own. In addition to that, just because something didn’t work previously doesn’t mean it won’t work in future – the cards may be laid just right this time for its success. Sometimes it pays to try something for a second time.
“I don’t want to listen to your complaints”
Regardless of how frustrating someone may be, there are many better ways to rephrase this. Ask someone to structure complaints for presentation in a meeting, or come up with ways to resolve the issue. If you take the lead in ignoring problems, your employees will do the same, and avoided issues could turn into catastrophes.
“We’ve always done it this way”
Technology and inventions change and appear faster than we can keep up, and the rate will just keep increasing. If you don’t encourage your business to stick with the times and think innovatively, you’re going to fall behind.
As an employer or manager, you expect the very best from your employees, so it’s only fair to give them the same – respect, encouragement and understanding. You are the glue that binds the company together. For more workplace tips visit our blog. To see how Sage One can make accounting easier for your business, visit our Products Page.
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Crossing the line: Why having work friends can be a good thing
Whilst some people are of the opinion that they “didn’t come here to make friends”, others wonder how’d they get through each work day without their group of work buddies. When working very closely with people on a daily basis it’s only natural for special bonds to form and for the lines to blur between co-worker and friend.
Whilst some people are of the opinion that they “didn’t come here to make friends”, others wonder how’d they get through each work day without their group of work buddies. When working very closely with people on a daily basis it’s only natural for special bonds to form and for the lines to blur between co-worker and friend. Very often this evolution happens without people even trying, and although some feel like there should be a clear distinction between friends and colleagues, there are also many pros to having work friends. Read on and discover what some of these are.
You share a common understanding
Because some of your colleagues work with you on certain projects and tasks, they experience some of the same stresses and pressures you do. As a result, you all have a common understanding of and insight into what the other person is going through and therefore you’re able to be there for one another unlike anyone else can. Your experience tends to bring you closer and you can end up counting on each other for moral support and encouragement – especially when times get tough. Lastly, because your work friend has first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to work in the same company as you, they can empathise and provide the kind of support that often family members are unable to.
You keep your eyes on the prize together
When a work relationship develops into a friendship it’s very often preceded by a level of trust that has been established. It’s because of this that you trust each other to be honest and to point out when the other seems to be veering off course. Sometimes a reality check is needed and when it comes to work, you can almost always rely on your work mate to provide just that. You can hold each other accountable when necessary, but also cheer each other on and help to remind one another to keep your eyes on the prize. It’s very often your work friends who help keep you on track.
You perform at your best
Numerous studies have shown that there are lower staff turnovers in businesses in which there is a strong sense of camaraderie. This is most likely as a result of the fact that many people feel more compelled to stay in a job where they feel supported by their colleagues and “part of something”. When people feel happy and a sense of belonging, they are more committed and disciplined when it comes to work. A shared purpose, mutual respect and a feeling of being “in it together” definitely helps to boost productivity levels. Ultimately, having work friends can very often lead to longer-lasting and more fulfilling work experiences.
You have each other’s backs
We all go through difficult times in our lives and sometimes personal issues can have an impact on our work. Our work friends are like soldiers who fight alongside you, with both of you doing what you can to defend the other. They cover for you when you need them to and you can always rely on them to lift your spirits when you’re feeling low. Basically, you fight in each other’s corners, something that helps keep you motivated and focused. Sometimes this may mean they end up being brutally honest with you, but as long as it’s constructive, it’s well worth it.
Overall, forming work friendships can be a positive thing, helping to make your work experience more enjoyable, manageable and worthwhile. A strong sense of camaraderie aids company loyalty and satisfaction, two of the ingredients that are vital if a business is to be successful. As long as your work friendships are genuine and based on trust, as well as both parties being on the same page, you’re likely to enjoy lasting friendships that go above and beyond the office.
On the flipside: Yes, work friendships can be beneficial and wonderful, but there are some people who look to use friendship to get ahead. Be selective about who you choose to befriend and only share personal information with those you trust. Also remember that some people don’t wish to form work friendships – recognise this and respect their choice.
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Unconventional tips for how to empower your staff
At the end of the day, without a dedicated group of staff members, your business would not be able to function. They inevitably play a vital role in ensuring whether or not your business is a success so it only makes sense to treat them well and keep them happy.
At the end of the day, without a dedicated group of staff members, your business would not be able to function. They inevitably play a vital role in ensuring whether or not your business is a success so it only makes sense to treat them well and keep them happy. Every company goes through its ups and downs, and all too often employees can feel as if they’ve fallen into a dull routine. It’s up to management to think up ways to beat the monotony and rekindle that office excitement. Thinking out of the box and finding interesting ways to increase office morale can be quite the challenge, so here are a few unconventional methods for motivating your employees and keeping those spirits high.
Give employees the opportunity to pursue their passions
Responsibilities of some kind accompany any position within a company, but it’s also important that employees have some freedom to work on their own personal projects. Putting time and effort into your day job shouldn’t equal not being able to pursue your own passions. Some businesses have designated hours set aside during the week when employees are encouraged to work on their own projects (that are somehow related to the company). They then share the results which sometimes even lead to projects being adopted by the business. Working on something you really love can often help to inject some much-needed creativity into your other work and can get those fresh and exciting ideas flowing. Why not give this a go with your employees? You may just be pleasantly surprised.
Introduce nap rooms
This may sound completely crazy but getting those extra 40 winks during the work day can really help to enhance productivity and recharge those batteries. Consider introducing a “nap area” for when employees just need to catch some shut-eye during the day. Hopefully this privilege won’t be abused but rather used as a means of sparking creativity through rest. It may sound counter-productive, but when managed correctly, it can really produce positive results.
Make fun part of your business model
Employees often need to be reminded that work doesn’t have to be all about work and no play. Management can introduce something fun each month (even if it’s something small) that is sure to get people to relax and have a good time. Something like a “Game Day” always goes down a treat and gives people the opportunity to get to know each other as ordinary people, not just as colleagues. An in-house competition will encourage team work and hopefully strengthen ties while simultaneously allowing people to enjoy themselves within the office space.
Offer family discounts
It’s one thing to show your employees that you care about them and their growth, but it’s another to extend that thoughtfulness to the families for which they work so hard to provide. Look into partnering up with certain businesses so that you can offer family discounts to your employees and their families. It’s a gesture that will not go unappreciated and will show your employees that it’s not only their best interests you’re looking out for, but also those of their family members.
Make employees feel special
Sometimes going that extra mile can really make all the difference. When it comes to thanking employees for their good work, try personalising your ‘thank you’ with something like a handwritten note. The fact that you’ve taken time out of your day to write a special note will convey to your employees that they matter and that they are viewed as an individual, not just as another cog in the wheel. Personalisation can a powerful thing so try and bring this to everything you do for as long as you can (before your business gets too large).
Take a chance and consider implementing a few of these suggestions – you and your staff may be pleasantly surprised.
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Maintaining a positive attitude: How to stay motivated when times get tough
Starting, running and building your own business definitely comes with its ups and downs, and as with many things in life, we have to take the good with the bad. It’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to business, but it’s important for you as the business owner to do whatever you can to push forwards and stay positive.
Starting, running and building your own business definitely comes with its ups and downs, and as with many things in life, we have to take the good with the bad. It’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to business, but it’s important for you as the business owner to do whatever you can to push forwards and stay positive. Remaining motivated during tough times can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few helpful tips on what you can do to keep those motivation levels up and maintain a positive outlook, even in the middle of the most trying of times.
When your business is going through a rough patch, it helps to know that you’re not the first person to experience it, and you most certainly won’t be the last. Whilst you may be the captain of the ship, you’re only going to make things harder for yourself if you choose to carry the burden alone. There’s no shame in reaching out and asking for help from those who have been in the same position as you in the past. Sharing your troubles and talking about them will not only help you feel lighter, but more importantly make others aware of what you’re going through. In doing so, the right people will hopefully be able to provide some valuable advice that just may help you get your business out of a rut. Having a neutral party look at the overall picture may also provide you with a perspective that could change the course of your business – and, for the better.
It’s very easy to get swallowed up by negativity, especially when you spend so much time at the centre of your business, close to all the action. Why not take a step back so that you’re able to look at the bigger picture? Very often you become fixated on the small things and this stops you from seeing things as a whole – something that can be very detrimental when it comes to trying to move forward. In some cases, without seeing the bigger picture, it’s more difficult to spot the areas of your business that require special attention. Being able to identify those problem areas is the first step in improving the situation and distance allows you to do this. It helps you to focus, zoom in on the problem and tackle it as effectively as possible.
A burnt out, over-worked and super stressed business owner is the last thing a business needs, especially when it’s going through a difficult period. At the best of times it’s vital that you take time away from the office to unwind and recharge, and this is even more important during tough times. Taking a little time off and spending time with those close to you very often helps you not only to up those energy levels, but also to gain a fresh perspective on things. Sometimes all you need is to take some time away so that you can return with a clearer head, a stronger fighting spirit and a better way of dealing with the obstacles in your business’s pathway.
Part of running a successful business is having adaptability – simply because business is constantly evolving. Once you’ve identified the area/s within your business that need work, it won’t help to turn a blind eye and hope they’ll come right. Positive action must be taken and the necessary changes made so that the business can get back on track as soon as possible. Find the problem, identify its source and do what you can to rectify it – if something isn’t working, change it. Change may be scary but the reality is that it’s necessary in the ever-changing world of business.
Focus on the Positives
It’s no use dwelling on your mistakes – what’s done is done and now all you can do is learn from it. Rather choose to focus on the positives within the business and to put your energy into finding the solutions that will help you move past this rough patch. It’s far more beneficial to focus on what you have and how those aspects can take you forward. This doesn’t mean ignore the problems areas though – it just means don’t allow them to take over.
Every business experiences its good times and its bad along the way, but what counts is how you as the business owner cope during the hard times. Someone once said that “tough times don’t last, but tough people do”, and this is something that every entrepreneur should hold on to. Finding ways to stay motivated and positive during the darkest periods is surely the mark of a truly great business leader.
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Four ways to create an impressive office culture
With so many things to worry about and oversee as a small business owner or manager, it’s no wonder that cultivating an impressive office culture all too often falls by the wayside. Running your own business can be stressful and jam-packed with responsibilities, leaving little time to apply the “priority” label to “office atmosphere”.
With so many things to worry about and oversee as a small business owner or manager, it’s no wonder that cultivating an impressive office culture all too often falls by the wayside. Running your own business can be stressful and jam-packed with responsibilities, leaving little time to apply the “priority” label to “office atmosphere”. However, the reality is that the kind of office culture your business possesses can have a direct impact on employee motivation, and subsequently on the business’s success or failure. So take a step back from managing those finances and working on that marketing plan, and take a long, hard look at your current office environment. If it needs some improving, then why not try these four useful tips.
Have some fun with work spaces
Since we spend large portions of our time at work, it wouldn’t hurt if parts of the space were injected with some fun and excitement. Being surrounded by dull, dreary walls day in and day out can really take its toll on employees’ moods and attitudes, leaving people feeling down and unmotivated. By introducing exciting, engaging and even colourful spaces into the office environment, employees are bound to feel happier and more inspired. Fun areas can also encourage inventiveness and creativity – things that are sure to boost morale and lift people’s spirits. Allowing employees to express their personalities in their personal work space is also an excellent way to help them foster a positive attitude, something that can lead to more productivity and job satisfaction.
Helpful Hint: Introducing something like a “chill area” or “games room” can also help to create a more relaxed environment and provide the perfect place to which people can escape when they need a little break.
Encourage socialising outside of the office
It’s all good and well having team bonding sessions within the work space, but it’s equally important to encourage employees to get to know one another better outside of the confines of the office. This will allow people to get to know one another on a more personal level and stronger bonds formed between colleagues outside of work can lead to a higher level of camaraderie within the office itself. If people work better together as a team, the chances are that they’ll be happier and more motivated, two vital ingredients that are key in producing great work. Putting a culture team together can be a smart way to get regular social events organised, such as quiz nights, after work drinks and fun outings – all things that bring people together and promote bonding in a fun way.
Volunteer as a team
Leading on from the previous point, doing things together outside of the office can contribute greatly to the creation of an amazing office culture. Taking it a step further, volunteering as a team can only add to the culture as employees will not only be doing something together, but something that gives back to the community. Helping others, even in the smallest of ways, can help people feel good about themselves as well as the company of which they’re a part. On top of that, businesses can establish relationships with other local businesses, as well as strengthen existing connections. Lastly, it’s a rewarding way for businesses to promote themselves – all the while cementing a truly impressive office culture.
PS: Don’t forget to do team-building activities and challenges within the office itself – there’s nothing like a bit of friendly competition to get the atmosphere abuzz and the energy levels up.
Establish core values and goals with your team
So whilst it’s all good and well to have some fun at work, people are there to do a job and help a business succeed. This is why there need to be clear core values and goals all team members are aware of and working towards. These two things will provide the team with the guidance they need to do great work – ultimately, they inspire success. Employees are also more likely to be more dedicated and hard-working once they believe in their work, understand what they’re working towards and how what they do fits into the business as a whole. As a manager, you should come up with a set of values with your team, as this can help you achieve the goals set out, as well as unite people, making them feel as if they have a say.
Underestimating the power of a truly amazing office culture is something that should be avoided. There is a direct connection between the office environment and an employee’s happiness, motivation and job satisfaction – having inspired and satisfied employees inevitably leads to the development of a profound connection to the company and a desire to play a part in its success. Simply put: once you’ve got your irresistible office culture down pat, chances are you’ll have happy, hard-working employees driven to take your business to new heights.
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Business insurance essentials
If you’re a small business owner, there are plenty of essentials that need to be considered. For one, making sure that you have the right accounting and payroll software is of utmost importance, as it means your books will always be balanced and accurate. Another essential is business insurance, as it will protect you and your business when you need it most.
If you’re a small business owner, there are plenty of essentials that need to be considered. For one, making sure that you have the right accounting and payroll software is of utmost importance, as it means your books will always be balanced and accurate. Another essential is business insurance, as it will protect you and your business when you need it most. However, insurance policies can often be tricky to understand. While it takes some time to wrap your head around everything that your policy may state, before you sign anything, make sure you are covered for the following instances:
In the event of an accident
For small businesses, making sure you are covered in the unfortunate event of an accident is paramount. When you read through your policy documents, make sure you are covered against something called “public liability”. This means that if anything happens to a customer or client while they are on your business’s property, your insurance will cover the necessary costs.
For the safety of your employees
One of life’s harshest truths is that anything can happen in the blink of an eye. This is why it’s so important for your business to have policies in place that ensure the safety of your employees. Naturally, the nature of your small business determines the risks involved. For example, an independent contractor runs the risk of employees sustaining onsite injuries. If an employee is injured in the line of duty, they are entitled to a workman’s compensation claim. Medical expenses can add up significantly, so having insurance that will cover these could save your business a great deal.
For your specific needs
Every business is different, and as a result, so is every insurance policy. Most brokers offer tailored solutions for specific business needs. For example, if a piece of machinery in a factory breaks, the insurance is likely to cover the costs of the repairs. Similarly, if your business relies heavily on fresh food supplies but there is a power failure and the food spoils, replacement stocks will need to be sourced. No matter what your needs may be, make sure your insurance policy is customised to meet each and every one.
As a small business owner, you need to do whatever you can in order to safeguard your business from any nasty surprises. Do as much research as possible before signing any policies, chat to your broker and make sure your business is protected with insurance essentials and solutions that meet your needs while keeping you covered.
How to incentivise your employees without breaking the bank
There’s no denying that employee incentivisation forms an important part of their overall work satisfaction. As a small business owner, finding the right ways to incentivise staff properly can play a key role in improving their performance on a daily basis and helping to create an environment that fosters growth and job satisfaction.
There’s no denying that employee incentivisation forms an important part of their overall work satisfaction. As a small business owner, finding the right ways to incentivise staffproperly can play a key role in improving their performance on a daily basis and helping to create an environment that fosters growth and job satisfaction. Whilst monetary rewards, such as bonuses, are often welcomed, there are various other ways in which you can incentivise your employees that don’t involve breaking the bank – in other words, the “soft” benefits should not be underestimated. What follows are a few suggestions for how you can motivate (and keep) your current employees while keeping costs to a minimum.
Introduce telecommuting or flexi-hours
There’s nothing employees will find more satisfying than knowing that they are part of an organisation that takes an interest in them and their needs. Initiating the option of telecommuting or flexi-hours can be a great way to give back to your staff and show them that you are committed to making their lives easier where possible. Telecommuting can help save time and money, with flexi-hours giving employees the freedom to decide when they come in and leave the office. As the business leader you will of course have to make the decision whether or not these are things that will work within your company environment. Once in place, these systems should be monitored with acceptable guidelines being laid down from the start to ensure things run smoothly.
Set aside designated communication sessions with employees
Finding the time to get to know your employees, listen to their needs and take a genuine interest in them can be a difficult feat, especially with many peoples’ daily schedules being so jam-packed. Introducing a programme whereby you make the time to meet with a different member of your team each week for a mini catch-up session can be very rewarding for both of you. Talking to people one-on-one helps to build trust and shows employees that they are truly valued – something that has proven to be one of the most powerful incentives for retaining staff. The sessions could be used to talk about anything (work related or not) and an opportunity to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas within a safe space.
Give a nod to those who matter to your employees
One of the best ways to show your appreciation for your employees is by including and looking after those close to their hearts. Initiatives such as “Bring Your Kid to Work Day” or “Family Movie Night” can help those who support your staff at home, feel part of their life at work, something that is bound to strike a chord with employees. These kinds of activities will remind staff that they are part of a company that is willing to go the extra mile and one that holds the value of family in high esteem.
Take staff wellness seriously
Doing what you can to promote wellness within your business can do wonders for morale and the overall well-being of your employees. Educating staff on various aspects of health and lifestyle through talks, awareness campaigns and leaflets can help to reduce absenteeism, something that can lead to resources being drained. This will show that once again, the company is taking an interest in its employees and intends to invest in them in the long-term – the result: an empowered and happier work force.
Good old-fashioned public recognition and cash rewards for great work will always have their place within most businesses, but with some creativity and thought, you can come up with other ways to incentivise employees, because after all, motivated workers inevitably mean success for your business.
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