Why Stress Management Belongs on Your Office’s To-Do List

Stress is one of the main factors that affect the quality of the workplace environment at your office. You can’t eliminate stress in the workplace, but you can find ways to manage it.

Important ways to manage stress include:

  • Providing job security
  • Maintaining reasonable hours
  • Promoting a healthy working environment
  • Supporting employees without micromanaging them

Symptoms of stress originate from a chemical reaction called the fight-or-flight response or stress response. Designed to enable fast reactions to crisis, it increases your heart rate, quickens your breathing, tightens your muscles and raises your blood pressure. In short bursts, the stress response is an asset and even a survival necessity, but extended periods of stress are another thing entirely.

People handle stressors differently, and their symptoms can likewise have a lot of variety. Proper stress management improves your organization’s performance and productivity and creates an environment that attracts and retains talented employees. It lets you get ahead of the mental and physical effects of prolonged stress and deliver great results for your company and brand.

Importance of Stress Management in Your Office

Improved company culture: When employees learn how to manage their stress in healthy ways, they like to manifest positive behavior in the office and to be supportive of the coworkers. The workplace becomes a pleasant environment, and your employees will look forward to arriving to work every day.

Consistent attendance: Employees who enjoy good mental health and freedom from unmanaged stress are likelier to be punctual and reliable.  With support from the company and their colleagues, they can manage their stress in healthy ways, and they’re less likely to call in sick as a result.

Talent acquisition and retention: When you go out of your way to mitigate stress at your office, you’ll enjoy higher staff retention rates. When an employee does leave, they’ll have positive things to say about the workplace environment they enjoyed at your organization.

How to Set Your Goals & Plan to Achieve Them in the New Year

Setting goals is the first step when you want to make big changes, and it’s an easy task when you follow a few basic steps. Effective goal setting begins with knowing what you want to end up with and comparing it to your current state. Make an honest assessment of where you are compared to where you want to be as an ideal way to get started.

Choose Goals That Really Matter to You

Anyone can set a great goal, but if it isn’t meaningful on an individual level, it’s likely to fall by the wayside. As an example, it’s easy to set a goal to lose a lot of weight, but if you aren’t driven by a “why” that’s important to you, it may never go beyond the wish to lose weight.

Sticking with the weight loss goal example, add the “why” behind each goal to make it personal and meaningful. Instead of setting a generic goal to lose weight, set a goal to lose 20 pounds so you’ll be healthier and live longer.

Make it Easy to Succeed in Your Goals

Be realistic about how quickly each goal may be reached, and break goals into long-term and short-term goals. Think of each step necessary for reaching a big goal as a short-term goal. Put a specific timeline on reaching each goal.

This gives you a guideline to compare to your results when you evaluate your progress. It also gives you an opportunity to feel great about each smaller goal you reach. Building positive feelings into the process of reaching your goals increases your chance of succeeding in your biggest goals.

Set an Objective and Make an Action Plan

Make a commitment to achieving your goals by putting your objectives in writing. Setting an objective is a key part of making an action plan because when you prepare an objective statement, you include the details and steps you need to follow to succeed.

SMART is an acronym that’s commonly associated with goal-setting objectives. It stands for specific, measurable, audience-specific or attainable, realistic and time-bound, and those are the details needed to set successful goals.

No matter what your goals are, the best time to create an action plan and start working toward them is now.

How To Stay Motivated After the Holidays

Time off with family and friends for the holidays can provide a wealth of benefits, including helping you gain a better work and life balance, and can help you reset yourself mentally. However, the parties, food and relaxation may make you feel less than motivated to go back. To help you get back into the swing of things, consider these tips.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Map out your workday by creating a to-do list. Instead of focusing on the hardest tasks first, start with a few simple projects to help you ease back into the daily hustle. Marking items off your to-do list will help motivate you to keep going, even if the tasks are small. Break down very large projects into several smaller ones to help you complete the task in steps.

Take Frequent Breaks

If possible, stop every hour or every two hours for a short break. Stretch your legs by taking a short walk, drink some water or simply stand up at your desk and stretch. Get your body moving to help fight fatigue and to keep you alert and focused. Regular breaks can reduce stress and create a more positive work environment, according to the Canada QuickBooks team.

Socialize with Coworkers

Friendly chatter with coworkers can help make your day pass quickly and can create a more positive environment to work in. Make a point to stop and chat with close colleagues, and ask about their holidays. If you took time off while others worked, ask if you missed anything while you were gone. A simple conversation with friends at work can make your entire day better. Friends at work can also make you motivated to do more and can help boost your overall job satisfaction.

Clean Up Your Inbox

An office inbox can fill up quickly while you are on vacation and answering everyone at once can seem overwhelming. The Daily Muse suggests creating three separate folders in your email: one for emails that must be addressed immediately, one for emails that can wait and a third for those that can potentially be deleted. Read through the subject line, and sort your emails into three folders. Address your priority emails and save the others for another day.

Going back to work after the holidays doesn’t have to be a stressful time. By easing your way into your work and the work environment, you can be productive without feeling overwhelmed.

5 Ideal New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Success

The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to look back on what worked or didn’t go well with your business over the past year. Growing and maintaining a vibrant, profitable organization calls for reflection and a determination to drive and adjust to change. Take on the new year with these tips for your business and personal life.

1. Delegate More

Delegation is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Thorough training and open communication can equip employees with the knowledge and power to handle some of your responsibilities. People often rise up to what is expected of them. Outline goals and deadlines clearly and dedicate more of your time to work on high-level tasks.

2. Keep Wooing Current Customers

An existing customer base could be a huge catalyst for sales growth. Ongoing relationships with clients can generate consistent revenue in the thousands or even millions over time. Resolve to appreciate and listen to current patrons, always looking for ways to meet their needs and surpass their expectations.

3. Get a Tighter Grip on Cash Flow

Over 60% of small businesses worldwide have serious cash flow concerns, and about 40% of Canadian small companies miss out on significant revenue-generating opportunities because of insufficient cash flow. Since profits often don’t equate to available funds, it’s important to know how much working capital will keep your business going. Make projections, and automate receivables and payables with a software program.

4. Charge What You’re Worth

If you feel that you deserve more for your product or service, now may be the time to raise your prices to reflect the value you provide. Author Dorie Clark wrote in the Harvard Business Review: “Charging a fair price … allows you to create long-term value.” This may cost you some business, but there are many clients out there who are willing and able to pay what you want for top-quality solutions to their needs.

5. Learn a New Skill

Pick up a new skill this year, whether or not it is related to your business or industry. This is an important investment in yourself that will yield returns of greater personal fulfillment and broadened perspective in your business life. You may also meet and cultivate relationships with new people who may turn into friends, clients, potential employees or vendors.

4 Great Ways to Get the Most Out Your Holiday Post-Mortem

The holiday season is over. Before you get too far into the new year, you need to carry out a holiday post-mortem to review your performance over the holiday and uncover areas that require improvement. A good post-mortem takes a comprehensive look at your business operations during the holiday to gain useful insights for holiday spending as Canadians spend up to $2.781 billion exchanging gifts. Below are four steps to performing a proper post-mortem.

1. Involve Everyone Who Contributed

An effective post-mortem involves everyone who participated in creating the results. So, in addition to your marketing team, you need to include your web design team, for example, if you believe that your web interface affected your sales. Or, if you worked with an agency to create the marketing campaign, someone from the agency’s team needs to be present at the post-mortem.

2. Use Reports to Gain a Clear, Broad Picture

Comprehensive data should inform your post-mortem. Departments involved in the post-mortem should provide detailed reports that help you determine what the business did right and what it did wrong. These reports will help you figure out how to tune up your holiday marketing campaign’s strengths and work around its weaknesses for improved performance.

For example, the reports may reveal that some of your promotions were ineffective or that a drastic uptick in online sales resulted in frequent cases of understocking. You avoid repeating the same mistakes by using these insights to inform your marketing campaigns in the next holiday season.

3. Review Fulfillment and Shipping to Identify Friction Points

Fulfilling and shipping deliver on your brand promise so be sure to pay attention to these areas. Some of the aspects of fulfillment and shipping that you need to review include delivery times, return rates, customer complaints and the effect that shipping prices had on sales.

Determine friction points, which tend to become increasingly obvious during the holidays as increasing orders overwhelm merchants. Use your analysis to identify business processes that require optimizing or outsourcing for improved efficiency. As the influential management consultant (Peter Drucker) noted, nothing is as useless as optimizing a process that doesn’t serve your objective.

4. Do the Post-Mortem Immediately After the Holiday Season

Devise a detailed plan to improve your performance next year. You need to carry out the post-mortem as soon as possible after the holiday season is over and promptly create a plan while the analysis is fresh in your mind. Doing so gives you enough time to incorporate the plan into your preparations for the next season.