Getting Your Best Sleep on a Busy Schedule

A busy lifestyle can cut into your sleep time, leaving you feeling tired during the day. However, that doesn’t have to be case. There are a number of things you can do to improve the quality of sleep you enjoy, even if you do have to work it in around a hectic lifestyle.

Improve Sleep Quality

You can get a jump start on a good night’s sleep by doing some transitional things after work or before you go to bed. These things include:

  • Incorporate a short yoga session, soothing stretches, meditation or taking a walk after work. This helps you let go of the day’s stresses so you transition from work to private time and finally to bedtime.
  • Install light-blocking window coverings or wear an eye mask. This is especially helpful if you’re a shift worker who doesn’t get to sleep when it’s dark or if you live in an area where there’s a light source outside your window.
  • Set up an ambient noise machine or wear earplugs to block out noise if you live somewhere that’s not quiet when you need to rest. That way, neighbours, family members, traffic and pets aren’t keeping you awake with excess noise.

Enjoy a Good Nap

When you don’t get a full night’s sleep, your energy may crash during the day, but a nap can turn that drop in energy into a positive thing. A nap after lunch, ranging in length from 20 minutes to one hour, offers rejuvenating benefits. It also helps make up for reduced night-time sleep. Choose a comfortable spot where you won’t be interrupted during your nap. Use some of the techniques that improve night-time sleep quality, such as wearing a mask to block light and turning on soft music to block noise.

Sleep is more than a luxury, it’s a necessity, and sleeping well can be part of the difference between delivering an average performance at work and being a high achiever. When you enjoy quality sleep, whether in one long night-time session or by taking a nap after lunch, it increases your ability to function at peak performance levels.

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4 Important Measures for Workplace Health and Safety

Employers are responsible for making sure workers remain safe on the job, and as recently as 2016, 904 workers died after being involved in workplace accidents, according to the University of Regina. Understanding what’s required of you as an employer makes it easy to help employees work safely. There are several important measures to include in a workplace health and safety plan.

Understand and Correct Workplace Hazards

Things at work that cause harm to the human body are considered workplace hazards. The ideal time to explore the work area — to identify potential hazards to correct — is before anyone sustains an injury. Some common workplace hazards include:

  • Chemicals that present an inhalation risk or burns
  • Poor ergonomics that can lead to repetitive stress injuries and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Biological hazards such as bacteria that can lead to illness
  • Physical hazards such as mould, extreme temperatures and high noise levels

Create an Emergency Response Plan

When your company has an emergency response plan in place, it increases safety for everyone. An emergency response plan begins with an inspection of your work area to determine potential risks. The plan is then developed around what steps need to be taken to protect people’s lives if a disaster occurs. Examples of details to include in your emergency response plan include:

  • What to do if there’s a fire
  • Steps to take if chemicals spill
  • What to do if something explodes
  • The escape route if there’s a flood

Help Employees Reduce Workplace Stress

It’s important for employers to help workers deal with stress from the tasks associated with a job or from dealing with challenging co-workers. Set up an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, to help employees who are struggling with life’s challenges. EAPs are designed to be used for short term relief and should be part of a long term wellness program, according to CCOHS.

Encourage Balance Between Work and Life

Consider setting up a work-life balance initiative for your employees to help them navigate through the work day while allowing for life away from work. Some examples of work-life balance initiatives include:

  • Fitness facilities or gym memberships
  • Offering childcare on-site
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Training and education for things that improves the quality of life for workers

Implementing measures to ensure workplace health and safety has many advantages. It keeps your company in legal compliance. It bolsters employee morale, and it reduces work time that could otherwise be lost to sick days and on-the-job injuries.

Five Amazing Workplace Strategies for Stress Management

Statistics Canada notes that more than 25 percent of Canadian workers have reported experiencing high to extreme stress daily. Work is the primary source of stress for 62 percent of workers, while time and finances are the main pressing matters for 12 percent of them. More than ever, companies are developing novel methods to help employees manage stress. These outstanding strategies are cultivating and empowering loyal, focused workers to be their best.

Help Fund Employee Vacations

Although companies often offer paid vacation time, many workers cannot afford to do much more than stay at home. At well-known human resources tool provider BambooHR, every employee receives money for vacation expenses once a year. The company wants to help employees enjoy enriching experiences and create memories that provide a reprieve from pressures.

Pay Employees to Give Back

Helping others is a powerful way to foster gratitude and gain fresh perspectives on issues that cause stress. Companies like pipeline operator NuStar Energy and Salesforce give workers at least seven full days of paid time annually to volunteer with a charity. Fortune observed that organizations who make this investment see reduced turnover.

Offer Counseling Services

Financial stress is epidemic, and the weight of it impacts employee productivity at virtually every level of many organizations. BambooHR hosts a “Financial Peace University” course on money management as well as financial advising. They also provide help with substance abuse, care for dependents and elders, and more.

Let the Dogs In

Workplace insights provider kununu reports that people who bring their pets to work have less stress and more job satisfaction. Ben and Jerry’s, Amazon, and Proctor and Gamble allow pets to accompany their owners on the job. This would not be feasible in certain scenarios like factories or construction sites; however, where open-door pet policies can work, employers can utilize this strategy with no major cost to the company.

Provide Great Spaces to Unwind

Allowing employees time to take a break is a given. If employees have access to stress-reducing environments, they are more likely to come back refreshed and ready to focus again. Some possible ideas include meditation rooms, yoga and wellness classes, onsite gyms and paths for walking and hiking.

3 Ways Your Business Can Commemorate Victoria Day

Victoria Day, much like Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas, is an opportunity for small businesses to boost their revenues. Here are some ways you can market your business as you commemorate Victoria Day.

1. Sales in the Spirit of the Day

One of the best ways to offer value to your current and prospective customers is through a sale. Unlike Cyber Monday or Black Friday, Victoria Day has history and tradition behind it: starting out as a royal jubilee, it has evolved into a long-standing signal of the coming of summer and a time for outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Beyond just cutting prices, you can get thoroughly involved in the holiday’s joyful spirit and focus your sales event on things specifically useful on a day that sees more barbecues and picnics than perhaps any other day in the year.

2. Video Content

Video is currently one of the most influential media for marketing your business. It is also extremely effective in communicating a powerful idea, since most people find it easiest to remember what they saw rather than what they read. For example, you can create a brief video about an interesting aspect of the history of Victoria Day and tie it into your business’s mission.

You can also connect with your audience through user-generated video content. This type of content garners far more views than official brand videos. User-generated videos about Victoria Day have a higher potential for being shared, and they’re more likely to go viral. These videos give your brand credibility because they offer original perspectives regarding how relevant your products or services are to the audience.

3. Gamification

Gamification can be a powerful marketing strategy and an interesting way of commemorating Victoria Day with your current and prospective customers. It encourages users to complete specific tasks and receive recognition and rewards for their participation.

You can tie in concepts like high scores, levels, leader boards, budgets and points as an incentive for users to complete the tasks and share their accomplishments with other users. Rewards for winners include unlocking badges and special discounts.

Even small incentives can inspire contest participants to put in additional effort. A Victoria Day contest can help your brand cultivate lasting relationships with your audience and turn your online followers into loyal customers who make repeat purchases.

A Salute to Moms: Mother’s Day Promotions for Small Business

Mother’s Day is the time to celebrate and remember mothers and mother figures. Many people take advantage of this special day to show appreciation to women, treating them with extra love, attention and gifts. This presents a prime opportunity for your business to help customers honour their moms.

According to a recent RetailMeNot survey, shopping for Mother’s Day begins to spike around three weeks before the big day. However, 97 percent of moms surveyed cherish being with their families and the thoughts that go into their gifts more than the actual presents. It seems that businesses that facilitate shared family experiences have the greatest impact and a higher level of customer satisfaction.

An Ebate.ca poll indicates that Canadians spend just over $60 on average for Mother’s Day presents. They consider cost, practicality and uniqueness when shopping for gifts. The poll states that the most popular gifts among Canadians are gift cards or certificates, eating out, flowers, money and clothing or accessories. The RetailMeNot survey noted that experiences and candy are top Mother’s Day purchases as well.

How can you meet your customer’s needs and expectations for this special occasion? Most of all, moms wish for expressions from the heart. Implement some of these promotion ideas to turn customers your way for Mother’s Day.

Gift Guide

Over half of Mother’s Day shoppers wait until Mother’s Day weekend to make their purchases. At least 60 percent lament that they struggle with deciding what to buy. Gift guides can help make Mother’s Day shopping easier for loving relatives. Publish a guide and email it to your mailing list or post it on your website. You could also print copies to give to customers.

Kid-Friendly Discounts

Encouraging children to shop with you is one way to attract customers during the Mother’s Day shopping season. This would bring kids and their guardians into your business, increasing your exposure tremendously. Offer a selection of budget-friendly buys or give children a special discount on Mother’s Day purchases.

Handmade Gifts

Handmade cards and gifts touch every mother’s heart. If your facilities can accommodate young children, provide space and materials for them to create crafts for their dear moms. Consider allowing space for wrapping gifts purchased at your store too.

To steer traffic toward your business for Mother’s Day and beyond, seek ways to streamline shopping for customers, appeal to children and provide opportunities for creative and memorable experiences. Mother’s Day is an ideal opportunity to connect with your customers at the level of values and emotions and earn their long-term loyalty.

5 Steps to Starting an Office Recycling Program

According to a recent study, Canadians produce about 31 million tonnes of garbage a year, and only about 30 per cent of that material is recycled.

Thankfully, you can take five simple steps to help the environment by starting an effective recycling program at the office.

  1. Mobilize a team of coworkers for the program. You can’t do it alone. Put together a team of coworkers from various departments to help you come up with an office recycling program and successfully execute it. Include the janitorial staff and make sure they are also invested in making the project work.
  2. Determine the type and amount of waste the program will manage. Consult your waste hauler to find out how you’re required to handle your recyclable items as this varies with municipalities. Carry out a waste audit to determine what portion of your waste is recyclable. Determine the flow of waste traffic and place bins in strategic locations throughout the office.
  3. Consider implementing a centralized recycling program. Here, office workers take the waste in the mini bins by their desks to a central location and sort it. This system fosters accountability in workers for the waste they produce and boosts diversion rates by decreasing stream contamination.
  4. Choose the most suitable bins. Go for bins that collect all stream of waste in a single container. Having separate bins for recyclable and non-recyclable waste discourages people from using the right bin because they will use the nearest one instead. Use bins that can adapt to changes in the type and volume of waste managed by your program. Use easily recognizable images to label your bins.
  5. Finally, implement the program. Educate workers in the office to make sure everyone is on board with the program. Use signs and posters as reminders and schedule meetings to discuss the results of the program and steps to improve it. These regular audits help the program grow increasingly effective.

Once you have an established program that’s woven into your company culture, you’ll find it easy to maintain in the long term.

Tips for Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. All over the world, people gather at a variety of activities to learn, celebrate and demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day includes events in more than 193 countries and is the largest secular observance in the world. It’s estimated that more than a billion people each year celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day in Canada

Although Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, the first Canadian Earth Day was held on Thursday, September 11, 1980. Earth Day Canada founded in 1990, helps people across the country celebrate this special holiday. Earth Day Canada has created an award-winning employee engagement program called EcoConnexions, which is designed to encourage environmental and sustainability values and initiatives in the workplace.

EcoConnexions emphasizes three pillars of environmental responsibility: conserving energy, reducing waste and improving housekeeping. If you’re looking for fun and interesting ways to celebrate Earth Day in your workplace, plan educational workplace events and celebrations around these three pillars.

Conserving Energy

Help employees understand how they can conserve energy in their homes and the workplace with tips from an organization such as Save on Energy. Hold a free lunch seminar to discuss these ideas and improve team spirit at the same time.

Reducing Waste

To celebrate Earth Day this year, consider providing each employee with a reusable water bottle branded with the company name. It’s a thoughtful gift that also prevents waste and saves money because they will use fewer cups, straws and other one-use items.

Employees are more likely to recycle bottle, cans and paper when it’s convenient. If you haven’t already provided recycling bins in employee break areas and around printing stations, consider adding them and asking employees to use them considerately as part of your Earth Day celebration.

Improving Housekeeping

When discussing housekeeping in an environmental sense, you’re not just talking about washing up. Housekeeping is a concept that involves improving work efficiency, utilizing assets and making advances in safety. Even small changes can have a big impact.

Consider replacing light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones, asking employees to shut down their computers at the end of the day and changing company-wide cleaning products to more eco-friendly options. You could even provide incentives for co-worker carpooling or organize a workplace volunteering event with a group like TreeCanada.