Random Acts of Kindness to Perk Up Your Workplace

Employee happiness at work is linked to increased productivity, low turnover rates and even company success. Random acts of kindness are one way to help employees feel appreciated and to motivate them to do more. It’s also an added plus to encourage staff members to join in and deliver random acts for co-workers because it often feels better to give than receive.

Leave Small Gifts

Take note of the co-worker who has a candy dish, and fill the dish with their favourite candy after they’ve left for the day. Purchase coloured pens for the individual who loves jotting notes in a rainbow of hues. Fill an office with balloons or other decorations on unofficial holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. Make the gifts random and secretive for the best effect.

Reach Out to the Community

Encourage employees to reach out to the community with random acts of kindness. This could include carrying groceries to someone’s car, cleaning the snow off a front stoop or purchasing lunch for a stranger. The goal is to document the random act, and the company will choose at least one person to reward with a gift card or monetary award for the kindest act.

Send Random Encouragement

Take the time to send encouraging texts at the start of each day. Cheer your team on during a big project or when someone is meeting with a new client. Jot a quick note of appreciation for a job well done, or simply thank someone for being consistent. A simple kind word can mean a lot to someone who’s struggling.

Offer Random Recognition

Encourage everyone at the next team meeting to identify someone they appreciate. Also, be sure to call someone out who consistently works behind the scenes for a job well done. Offer small rewards such as a gift card or printed award certificate. This gives everyone an opportunity to shine and encourages employees to help others in hopes of peer recognition.

Programs and company cultures that work to serve the greater good help keep employees happy and benefit the company as a whole. By initiating random acts of kindness in the workplace, you help create a place that everyone is proud to be a part of.

References:

http://www.thecanadaguide.com/symbols/holidays/

https://blog.join.me/random-acts-kindness-perform-remote-coworkers/

https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/science-says-random-acts-of-kindness-week-has-astonishing-health-benefits.html

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/pierre-battah-workplace-kindness-1.3350472

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141205160304-39785422-5-random-acts-of-kindness-that-are-great-for-business/

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Three Great Ways to Stress Less at Work

Anyone who’s ever had a job has inevitably experienced work-related stress. This type of stress may be caused by a heavy workload, conflicts with management or co-workers, long hours or job insecurity. It’s important to learn to identify stress and address it to avoid both the short-term and long-term health effects and generally make work into a positive force in your daily life.

Identify Problem Areas

Start by keeping a stress diary for at least a week or two. Write down all situations that create stress and note how you respond to them. Record your thoughts and feelings and what it took to make you feel better about the situation. You should also log the time and date. Keeping a journal can help you identify patterns among your list of stressors and make it possible to see if there are certain times of day when you are more prone to feeling stressed out.

Develop Healthy Responses

One of the most important ways to deal with stress in the workplace is to learn how to manage your reaction. This is accomplished in a variety of ways:

  • Taking a deep breath instead of responding immediately
  • Learning to keep a positive attitude
  • Asserting your feelings and opinions instead of reacting aggressively
  • Setting limits and learning to say no to requests that create excessive stress
  • Seeking out support by talking to a supervisor
  • Consulting a psychologist or mental health professional trained in stress management

Learn Stress Management Techniques

Some of the most common stress management techniques include meditation, deep breathing exercises and other relaxation methods such as yoga and tai-chi. You can also learn to manage your time wisely so you don’t feel as overwhelmed when you are overloaded with work. Prioritizing tasks to focus on what’s most urgent and important can be a great help.

Stress is common for nearly anyone in the workplace. With a few tips and tricks, you can learn how to effectively manage your stress levels, stay productive and feel good about your time on the job.

References:

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_01.htm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2013/03/20/12-ways-to-eliminate-stress-at-work/#3d0fac307f29

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/lifestyles/your-health-mental-health-coping-stress-health-canada-2008.html

https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/stress_workplace.html

4 Great On-Line Courses for In-Demand Job Skills

One of the best ways to improve your chances of promotion is through outside coursework. This might include a community college, a university certificate program, or for convenience, you may choose to enroll in online courses. Whether you want to stay in your existing field or are interested in going in another direction, online classes can provide you with the skill set to help you climb the corporate ladder. Consider the following four types of online courses to give your resume a boost.

1. Coding

Coding is the process of using a programming language that includes a set of syntax rules to create applications, computer software and websites. According to Randstad Canada, workers with IT and coding training are intensely in demand across the country. South of the border, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the market’s need for software developers will rise by approximately 24 percent from 2016 to 2026. In other words, coding is an extremely valuable skill, and a variety of online sites teach it for free, including CodeAcademy, Coursera and EdX.

2. Writing

Whether creating content for products or writing blog posts to drive traffic to a company website, writers are needed for nearly every aspect of a successful company. While it does take some degree of natural skill, it’s possible to learn how to create compelling content to engage readers. Many colleges and universities offer self-paced courses for free or for a small fee, including the University of Toronto.

3. Project Management

If you’re on the fast track to a career in management, it’s a plus to understand how teams work and how to delegate authority. Online courses in project management may help your prep for certificates such as the PRINCE1, the CBAP or the PMP.

4. Digital Marketing and Social Media

It takes a lot to understand the ins and outs of how social media applications benefit a company. This includes knowing how to make keywords and hashtags works, how to promote products and services on social media and how to interact with clients and customers. Many social media courses are self-paced and free. Some even offer certifications. Some excellent ones to consider include the Hootsuite Academy Social Marketing Training and Udemy.

If you’re looking for ways to give your career a boost, taking an online class in an in-demand skill is an excellent way to get ahead. Whether you’re a people person or prefer working behind the scenes, there are a vast number of paths to advancement.

 

Choose the Perfect Education Supplies for Your School

Aside from traditional classroom items, teachers, leaders and organizers often buy extra school supplies for their projects. Even in the smallest setting, high-quality and affordable accessories and supplies are essential to success.

Day Care Centres

Sometimes the little ones need the most support, and a day care centre is a great place for them to find it. Give the young minds the tools they need to grow with a solid interactive learning environment. Educational toys, colourful blocks, intriguing storybooks and an inspirational learning centre sets the pace for early intellectual development. Don’t forget facial tissues and hand sanitizers to keep everyone clean and healthy.

Preschools

Preschools lay the foundation for more formal schooling and lifelong learning. You can make the beginning of the educational journey fun with interactive games and puzzles, crafts, projects and experiments. Engage their curiosity with amazing demonstrations and interactive lessons, all constructed from simple, easy-to-find materials and supplies.

Private Schools

Often, private schools can provide that something extra to those seeking more. Accelerated curriculum and self-paced opportunities can bring out the best in students and let them excel according to their own abilities.

Whether you’re seeking to challenge the overachiever, motivate the underachiever or simply provide an alternative learning framework to traditional schools, it’s important to have the right tools and supplies on hand. Supported by advanced technologies and an inspiring, well-supplied environment, students can thrive.

Extracurricular Activities and Student Clubs

Alongside traditional classroom instruction, extracurricular activities and clubs can play a vital role in engaging and motivating students. Designed to connect students to others with similar interests or talents, these groups provide specialty support and guidance for a wide range of scholastic and athletic endeavours.

Trend Enterprises, Eureka and Teacher Created Resources are all suppliers of the kinds of colourful accessories, decorations and supplies that encourage fun and creativity in after-school programs. You can find these and other major brands here.

Whatever the environment, the subject or the age of students, a properly stocked and well-organized classroom or learning centre gives students the best opportunities for academic, athletic or scholastic excellence.

References:

Canada Revenue Agency, https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/newsroom/tax-tips/tax-tips-2016/eligible-educators-you-claim-your-school-supplies.html

Statistics Canada, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/81-004-x/200409/7017-eng.htm

Eway.ca

Employee Engagement for Your Mid-Sized Business

While many CEOs and business owners of mid-sized companies often feel that they’re at a disadvantage when it comes to engaging their employees, the opposite is often true. Although large companies usually have the cash flow that supports lavish amenities in the office and superior benefit plans, mid-sized companies have a considerable advantage when it comes to building and maintaining meaningful employer/employee relationships, which almost always result in a higher level of employee engagement.

Gaining Trust from Your Employees

A large part of building relationships with employees stems from an employer’s ability to gain their trust and keep it. As the ILO explains, in addition to having a friendly rapport with employees, it’s essential to maintain a professional employer/employee relationship. A boss who is overly familiar with their employees may be viewed as a friend, but when it comes to handling business, most employees will have a difficult time taking that boss seriously. Positive employer/employee relationships rely on an employer who’s able to exert authority when necessary while having a positive relationship with their employees.

Forbes notes the open door policy as another tactic used by many CEOs and owners of mid-sized companies to encourage their employees to engage with management. This promotes open communication between the employer and their employees and helps employees become more engaged with business decisions and allows the business to operate with a certain level of transparency.

Benefits and Perks That Stand Out

It’s no secret that companies who treat their employees well see less turnover and better employee engagement. Many mid-sized employers have a hard time putting this into practice, however, as they don’t usually have the large budgets that big companies do. What many employers don’t realize though is extra perks don’t have to be as expensive as a fancy on-site fitness center or enormous health spending accounts for every employee. While it’s a good idea to offer some level of health benefits to employees, something as inexpensive as a subsidized gym membership at a local fitness chain or fresh fruit in the break room every day can go a long way in making employees feel appreciated.

Build a Strong Company Culture

A strong company culture that includes celebrating achievements, holiday events and new team members is a great way to promote employee engagement. Creating a committee with loyal and trusted employees can ensure that everyone on the team is involved in decision making when it comes to special events and encourages everyone to be a team player.

References:

http://ilo.org/ifpdial/areas-of-work/labour-law/WCMS_CON_TXT_IFPDIAL_EMPREL_EN/lang–en/index.htm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2013/10/07/new-managers-4-reasons-you-need-an-open-door-policy/

 

Expert Tips for Crushing Your Deadlines

Meeting deadlines can mean the difference between success and failure in business. While there are some circumstances beyond your control, it’s important to approach all deadlines with a high level of efficiency. Use the following tips to help you crush deadlines and meet goals.

Prioritize With the Eisenhower Model

When faced with a pressing deadline for a project, start by managing time across all work tasks with the Eisenhower Model, which breaks down your workday into small, more manageable tasks. Tackle urgent items first and allow unimportant items to fall off the list for the time being. This decision-making tool uses four easy steps.

  • Address the urgent and most important tasks first.
  • Tackle important but not urgent to-dos.
  • Take care of urgent but not important items.
  • Perform the neither urgent nor important tasks.

Create Checkpoints

Most projects include a set of goals that are structured along a timeline to make them manageable and defined. Create a series of checkpoints to ensure each project moves along at an even pace. Distribute the checkpoints over your timeline, and give yourself plenty of time to complete each task. You can always move ahead to the next step early, but work until you reach each checkpoint on time. The five universal checkpoints for any project include:

Kick-off

Meet with the client, agree on a budget and address the expectations. If you need additional team members, this is a good time to gather coworkers to help.

Requirements

Understand what you are trying to accomplish. Perform your initial research and use this step to prepare for action.

Design

Make a list of the technical aspects of the project. For example, if you require a spreadsheet that can perform a specific task, in the design phase, you identify how to create it.

Build

Put the design phase to work and create something you can use. This can be a product, service, program, application or system.

Commissioning

Present the project to the client.

Eliminate Distractions

According to Time Magazine, the average person checks their phone approximately 46 times per day. These constant distractions could be time spent working toward your goal. Turn off your phone, wear headphones, clear off your desk or find a remote corner to work until the job is done.

By meeting deadlines, you show clients or customers why they should bring repeat business your way.

References:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233054

http://prebenormen.com/project-management-2/risk-project-management-2/the-five-universal-project-checkpoints

http://time.com/4147614/smartphone-usage-us-2015/

3 Great Business Podcasts to Inspire You

Podcasts can be quite insightful and fascinating with interviews, interesting hosts, meaningful advice for the everyday workplace and inspiration for achieving your very best in work and life. It’s the kind of listening that can make your day better and motivate you to learn and try new things. Sample some of these great shows to explore more informative and entertaining listening.

1. WorkLife with Adam Grant

WorkLife features interviews with some of the most prominent movers and shakers in the business world and is hosted by an organizational psychologist who specializes in helping people to work better, smarter and healthier. Or as he puts it, “I study how to make work not suck.” Episodes focus on unusual workplaces, from the International Space Station to professional basketball teams to the writers’ room at a late-night comedy show. The results are compelling and surprisingly relevant to the far more prosaic workplaces most of us inhabit.

2. Rise and Grind with Daymond John

Daymond John is the charismatic and surprisingly easygoing host of Rise and Grind, which take its title from his book of the same name. In his working life, he’s the hard-charging founder of the FUBU clothing brand. He’s known for his killer work ethic, so he brings a uniquely informed point of view to conversations with similarly successful guests. Those interviews can take surprising twists and turns, though, and they have much more to offer than standard management-culture boilerplate.

3. The Tim Ferriss Show

Often cited as the gold standard of business podcasts, and one of the most popular entries in Apple’s podcast library from any genre, the Tim Ferriss Show is all about extracting tips, tactics and techniques people can use for greater success in everyday life from discussions with an eclectic cast of high-performing people. The star-studded guest list has included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Thiel, Malcolm Gladwell and hundreds more..

References:

https://www.ted.com/read/ted-podcasts/worklife

https://art19.com/shows/rise-and-grind

https://tim.blog/podcast/