How to Stay Productive During Inclement Weather

Inclement weather can drain your work energy and leave you feeling unmotivated. The good news is there are steps you can take to improve the situation. Here are tips to stay productive during cold and wet weather.

Move Around

Exercise regularly and move your body during, before and after work — preferably outdoors. Adequate exercise improves sleep and reduces stress. Despite the bleak weather, taking a walk can uplift your spirit.

Keep Your Cubicle or Office Warm

In chilly weather, your preoccupation with getting warm can distract you from your work. Locate the thermostat or find out who controls it, and make sure they set it at a comfortable temperature for you and your colleagues.

Consider Working From Home

Teleworking can be highly beneficial during the cold season. Working from home is becoming increasingly popular as it gives you more control over your work environment than working at the office. Unlike the case with the previous point where you have to talk to someone to adjust the temperature, you have complete autonomy over the thermostat at home.

Spend Time Outdoors

Get as much as sunshine as you can, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Spending time outdoors — even if it’s only a few minutes in the sun when it’s out — can improve your general outlook. It’s a reminder that spring is on the way. Take a brief walk around your office building block to clear your mind.

Commit Yourself to an Exciting Goal

Taking initiative triggers a sense of accomplishment, boosts your productivity and earns you points with your boss. Set goals. The cold season can be an excellent time to take on new projects. Even though you may be feeling somewhat lethargic, volunteer for a new assignment.

Stay Healthy

The cold season brings with it an increased risk of catching a cold or flu. Missing work because of illness makes things more difficult when you return to work and try to catch up. As a result, your productivity takes a hit. Take care of your health by washing your hands regularly and taking your vitamins and flu shot. Maintain a healthy diet, including what you drink. Sugary drinks and comfort snacks tend to leave you feeling bloated and lazy. Even though having a heavy meal before taking a nap is fine on the weekend, it’s not a good idea to eat a lot of carbs and sugar during the week. If you want to warm yourself, a hot cup of green tea gets the job done.

How to Build a Seasonal Marketing Calendar for Your Small Business

An effective marketing calendar is a series of secondary goals that help you achieve your primary marketing goals. Proper planning reduces the pressure of decision-making, freeing up your team to be creative. Here are tips on how to build a seasonal marketing calendar.

1. List down the seasons and holidays relevant to your brand

Identify different seasons that you can develop a marketing strategy around. Examples of such seasons include the four climate seasons, holiday seasons and back-to-school seasons. Further identify the main dates within these periods. Depending on how structured you want the calendar to be, you can drill down on the month, week or day.

2. Include relevant international days of observances

Include appropriate fun days that are recognized internationally. Examples include April Fool’s Day, National Pizza Day, National Pet Day and so on. Find out what international days of observance your customers and fans would appreciate. Observance days for food and animals are popular, but there are many other options. Don’t shy away from including funny and even weird holidays.

3. Determine the appropriate products to market on the seasons

As a small business, you may provide five or fewer products — perhaps even a single product. If this is the case, you can market these products relentlessly. However, if you have several product categories, be smart about the way you direct your customers’ attention. Steering their attention to what they’re already thinking about on specific holidays and seasons maximizes the results of your marketing efforts.

4. Use analytics tools to sharpen your strategy

For example, if you have a business account on Instagram or Facebook, use business insights to monitor your customers online activity. Analytics tools can help you figure out the best time of day to promote your products or services. As a small business, you’re better off keeping it simple and promoting only one product on a particular day.

5. Consider using a project management software

Using the right apps or software can streamline your seasonal marketing strategy. Google Calendar gets the job done if you work with a small team. For a larger team, consider using project management software such as Trello or Asana. The important thing is to pick a good software and stick to it.

Bottom line

A well-thought-out seasonal calendar can expand the reach of your overall marketing strategy and improve your brand awareness. Marketing is one of the business operations that benefit most from a thematic approach to planning.

Too Busy to Be Sick: Staying Productive When You’re Under the Weather

Every year, Canadian workers take an average of 9.3 sick days, but for small business owners, sick days often aren’t possible. The business needs to keep running smoothly, even when you’re under the weather. Here are some tips for staying productive when you’re too busy to take a sick day.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Most business owners have long to-do lists, but not all of those tasks are urgent. When you’re sick, prioritize your tasks and only complete those that are absolutely essential. Save the less urgent jobs for when you’re feeling better. For example, functions like submitting payroll on time need to be done even if you’re sick, but answering emails can probably wait.

Keep Flexible Hours

When you’re healthy, you may stick to a 9-to-5 schedule, but that may not be possible when you’re sick. If you keep nodding off and can’t get any work done, get some sleep. Later, when you feel a bit better, your work will still be there. This may mean that you work outside of your normal business hours or that you don’t work a full day, but this is better than not working at all.

Work From Home

If possible, work from home when you’re sick. At home, you can work from the comfort of your bed or couch, and this may help you get more work done. By staying home, you can also avoid spreading your cold or flu germs to your employees, which helps your business remain productive.

Delegate to Your Employees

Canadian small business owners work an average of 51 hours per week, and this workload may not be manageable when you’re sick. When you’re not feeling well, you may only be able to work a few hours a day. To ensure the business runs smoothly, delegate some of your tasks to your employees. Reducing your workload and stress levels can help you focus on your recovery.

During cold and flu season, employees may take sick days, but business owners often can’t. If you can’t step away from your business, follow these tips to stay as productive as possible.

Cold, Flu, and the Open Office Floor Plan: Time for a Change?

All too often, the real effect of open office spaces is an irritable, stressed-out workforce and an increase in sick days, a situation where constant noise leaves many employees feeling tired and overloaded. Add germs that run rampant with no wall to stop them, and your company’s productivity could plummet when cold and flu season arrives.

Creating a Wellness Program and Wellness Room

Approximately 83% of employees feel their employers should ensure their mental and physical well-being in the workplace. According to the Staples 2019 Canadian Workplace Survey, just 39% of employers offer a wellness program, and only 25% have a dedicated wellness room for workers who aren’t feeling well.

A robust wellness program involves activities that promote employees’ health and wellness. Many companies also designate quiet areas for employees to destress or take some quiet time if they feel sick. This can be particularly important in an open office plan.

Tips to Prevent Colds and Flu at the Office

Employees who are already ill should work from home or take time off to prevent others from getting sick too. Here are other tips that can decrease the spread of colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands several times a day with soap and warm water. Germs survive on surfaces up to 48 hours.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when moving from one area to another.
  • Disinfect your telephone and keyboard every day.
  • When you cough, cover your mouth and sneeze into a tissue, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes to keep germs out of your body
  • If you’re sick, stay home.
  • Consider taking the annual flu shot to help prevent contracting the flu.

The government produces Weekly Influenza Reports to help you determine what your level of risk is. However, the best way to assess your risk is to listen to your coworkers. If you work in an office and something is going around, you’ll hear a lot more coughing and sneezing. That’s the time to take action, including working from home more frequently, if that’s an option.

By using common sense and talking about your concerns to your company leaders, you can encourage them to develop policies and procedures that keep everyone safe and more productive.

7 Great Winter Wellness Tips for Your Workplace

As the cold weather sets in, it’s easy to go through a whole day without seeing the sunlight and to develop unhealthy eating and exercise habits. One study has documented the health improvements of six weeks of continuous activity and healthy eating in a large group. Participants who came in for a follow-up health assessment after one year showed improved blood pressure and sleep quality as well as less stress and fatigue.

Here are seven tips to help employees stay fit and healthy.

Lighten Things Up

The lack of sunlight in winter can trigger anxiety, lethargy and difficulty sleeping and concentrating. This is known as seasonal affective disorder, and 15% of Canadians will experience some form of it this year.

Consider these tips to light up the office and lighten the mood:

  • Let as much natural sunlight into the office as possible.
  • Employees can organize daily walks around the office with co-workers. For those who want to go it alone, simply taking the stairs can make a big difference.
  • If your business is set up for it, dedicate a quiet area for employees to relax or meditate during breaks. If the space is large enough for a group, stretching or yoga helps keep endorphin levels and morale high.
  • As a perk, employer-sponsored exercise and wellness programs often qualify for health insurance discounts.

Healthy Eating and Exercise at the Office

It’s so easy to grab something unhealthy to snack on or eat for lunch. Here’s a quick guideline for a healthy diet: 50% vegetables with some fruit, 25% lean protein, such as egg, fish or beans, and 25% starch or carbohydrates, such as quinoa or wholegrain pasta.

  • Employers can provide healthy snacks, including fruit and vegetables or nuts for the afternoon doldrums.
  • Start a friendly “biggest losers” competition based on group weight loss, or kick-start new year resolutions by encouraging employees to set fitness goals, such as committing to 30 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Winter weather tends to dry out the skin and lead to dehydration. Hand out water bottles and make sure there’s fresh filtered water available on every floor to keep employees hydrated, which may also improve their mood.

Employers can encourage employees to share recipes, exercise tips and mood-boosting habits with co-workers to help everyone get through the chilly days and improve office productivity. Getting out of the office for a bowling day or other activities also helps build team cohesion and raise morale. The possibilities are endless, and it can be fun for everyone to pitch their ideas.

How to Help Your Employees Stay Productive in the Winter Months

Ups and downs are common with office workplace productivity. According to a study by Redbooth, a company that helps businesses get organized, winter is by far the least productive month. Only around 7 percent of all workers say they get their work completed daily in January and February. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to boost workplace productivity and keep your office active year-round.

Provide a Flexible Work Environment

Inclement weather, cold and flu season and winter boredom often increase the chance of absenteeism. Instead of traditional 9-5 office days, let employees work from home and even schedule their own work week. When it comes to creative tasks and projects, office workers tend to excel better from their home office than they do from a cubicle environment. Set a schedule to let certain groups work from home for a few days or a week at a time.

Utilize Light Therapy

In the warmer months, sunshine helps keep workers happy and motivated especially if the office is filled with a large open window. In winter, the benefits of outdoor activities and sunshine are often impossible due to poor weather conditions. To make up for this, add additional lighting into your office spec. Keep all lights operational, and consider adding light boxes at all workstations.

Encourage exercise

Exercise keeps you healthy and happy and makes it easier to cope with stress. It also keeps the mind sharp, improves sleep and improves your creative energy. By simply exercising 20 to 30 minutes per day, workers can maintain their productivity and reduce the chances of the winter blahs. Consider going for a short walk with coworkers after work, or organize a company fitness challenge with bonus checks or gift cards as a reward.

Stay Social

According to the Quills Group Office Solutions, 70 percent of employees say that having friends at work is extremely important and may be the key to interoffice unhappiness. In the same study, the results say that employees with workplace friend are three times as likely to show loyalty to their companies and are less likely to leave. Happy employees are productive employees, so try to keep employees happy by listening, addressing problems quickly and providing encouragement.

The winter blues can cause employee productivity to decline, but by paying attention and keeping workers happy, you might be able to avoid downtime.