Seven Strategies For Effectively Maintaining Stress In The Workplace

Workplaces are officially starting back up again after their prolonged downtime due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you’re going back to work and find yourself stressed out and don’t know what to do, there are a few simple strategies and tips you can participate in to reduce your stress.

Stress is natural and happens to most everyone, especially at work, but that doesn’t mean you just have to live with it without doing something. Follow these tips and strategies to effectively reduce the stress you feel at your workplace.

Keep Perspective

One of the worst parts about stress is the hopelessness it may make you feel. People usually feel much smaller and completely insignificant when they’re feeling stressed, which can lead to a spiraling effect of more stress and greater isolation.

It’s important to keep yourself and your life in perspective when you’re feeling stressed. You can go over what the best- and worst-case scenarios are for any given situation and find the sliver lining in the emotions you’re currently feeling. You can also look back to find other situations which felt worst than what you’re currently experiencing to cheer yourself up.

Maintain Control

Another common response to stress is to completely let go of the things you can control and start to feel bad for yourself all the time. It’s important to avoid this pitfall and remember that you still have some control of the situation you’re experiencing. Don’t tell yourself that everything is hopeless and that you must have others to help you out of the spot you’re in.

This can lead to spiraling and discourages you from taking account of the situation. While you can absolutely call on friends and families for help (more on that later) don’t feel like they’re obligated to solve all of your problems for you. It’s important to find yourself in the midst of your stress and relax yourself.

Just Breathe

On a more micro level, there are a few things you can do which will be immediately rewarding. The first thing you should do is take a deep breath and simply breathe in and out. This will help calm your nerves and make your body more relaxed.

Relaxation is a great way to counter stress because the two are essentially diametrically opposed. It’s incredibly difficult to feel panicked when you’re calm and breathing in and out in a measured and conscious manner. Take a few minutes to empty your mind and remind yourself that it’s not as bad as you think while you’re breathing.

Ask For Help

Once you’re sufficiently relaxed for the time being, you can take it upon yourself to ask for help. There are plenty of people in your life who are willing to help you through tough times, such as your friends and family members.

You should have a closely knit network of friends and colleagues so that you can turn to them whenever you’re feeling stressed or insignificant. There’s nothing like the comfort and touch of a good friend to keep you sane and move you through your day in a measured and calm manner. Never be afraid to ask your friends or family for help.

Develop A Course Of Action

In addition to calming yourself and asking for help, it’s important to understand that your stress will be mitigated if you have a plan of action for your day and life. Making plans greatly reduces stress because it helps you calm down further and signals to your body that the situation is in your control.

Plans and schedules also help keep your mind off of what you don’t know or may be stressed about during the day. You can make a plan during your breaks or throughout the day and stick to it to keep yourself calmed and stress free.

Develop Your Own Strategies

In addition to these strategies, you can make your own plan about the best course of action to take for yourself. You can devote yourself to a project that you’ve needed to do or meditate at your desk. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress because it gets your endorphins running and helps adrenaline escape in a healthy, measured, and controlled way.

Whatever you choose to do, there are several ways to help yourself relax and keep calm. You should stick to the activities that help you and discard those that may not be doing anything that you can see or feel.

Make Positive Relationships

While you can always go to people you know and trust when you’re feeling stressed, you can also make new relationships at work or at other locations throughout your day. Keeping your heart and mind open to other people will help you destress and combat any feelings of inadequacy.

You should try to stay off your phone during the day and pay attention to what others are doing around you. In addition, you can start a mentorship program or become a protégé. Being molded by someone else’s hands is a great way to feel in control of your life and help you destress.

Seven Tips For Enhancing Workplace Collaboration

Workplaces are returning to normal, and managers are reconnecting with employees in real time and in person again. Colleagues are also coming back together and relearning how to work together again for the betterment of the team and the company.

This process can take some getting used to but there are many tips and techniques for speeding up the awkward return to work that can help your workplace become more productive and efficient than it was even before the pandemic ran across the nation. If you’re looking for a happy and collaborative workplace, try these seven tips and techniques.

Have A Common Purpose

Nothing rallies troops together like a shared goal or purpose, and it’s no different for workplace employees. You should bring your employees in on the first day and remind them about your company’s values and vision for the future.

You can inspire them to work productively by giving them a goal to strive for and a hypothetical future to look forward to. Employees are much more likely to make a meaningful contribution if they believe in the vision of your workplace and can see their hard work doing great things in real time.

Make Friendships

Another technique that inspires employees in the workplace is the belief that they’re working with people they can trust and rely on. In order for this idea to take shape, you need to foster friendships within the workplace and attempt to have your employees see eye to eye with each other on a number of topics.

Of course, you can’t force people to be friends, but you can instill a culture of friendliness and dependence for multiple people working on the same team. Your employees will be more engaged when you use this method, and they’ll work harder and faster knowing their friends are depending on their efforts.

Use A Corporate Social Network

Social networking is not just for your customers. Your employees like to social network to and you can take advantage of this love by allowing them to hop on a corporate social media page and engage with their colleagues and supervisors.

Many companies have found that social media networks boost the productivity and engagement of their employees and lead to better and more consistent work across the board. This works because social networking will make your employees feel like a part of the team and like they’re contributing to something meaningful.

Make Reflection Key

Just like in an individual’s life, reflection is often the first step to improvement and the cement used as the foundation to a better and more productive life. You should hold retrospectives for your employees and allow them to voice their complaints and positive messages about the work the office has been doing over the last few weeks.

You should record these sessions and take notes about the things that are on your employees’ minds. This recording and the notes you take will help you give direction to their frustrations and positive feedback and allow you to show them what they could be doing differently from week to week. Introspection and retrospection are two key ingredients for collaboration and engagement.

Establish A Culture

This is a fundamental idea that many businesses today struggle with. Corporate identity is often put first, and employees struggle to find themselves with the confines of the business mentality on a daily basis.

You can nip this fear and frustration in the bud quickly by giving your employees a culture to rally around and engage in without feeling self-conscious or fearful. Once you establish a culture of high-quality work and confidence, your employees will follow suit, and they’ll collaborate in an easier and more relaxed manner.

Be A Top-Down Leader

One frequent mistakes many managers make is to lock themselves in their office and focus on tasks that may not be as important to their direct employees. While you obviously have to keep an eye on your outside responsibilities and make sure your bosses are happy, your employees should also feel like they can talk to you at any time of the day.

If they’re feeling swamped or beaten down, they should be able to enter your office and talk to you about it. Managers are with their employees in a personal way, walking among them and making sure everything is going smoothly. Taking just a half-hour out of your day will go a long way in helping your employees with the task at hand.

Highlight Strengths

Finally, one of the best ways you can manage and make sure your employees are collaborating together well and frequently is to highlight the strengths of each person in your office and delegate in turn. No one person is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. If you can find and accentuate the strengths of your employees, you’ll be one step closer to bringing the office together and making sure everyone is doing their best work at all times.

Technology Advice And Tips While Working From Home

The Covid-19 pandemic may finally be winding down in most areas of the country (and hopefully it will stay wound down) but people all over the nation are still working from home. The new normal is apparently here to stay as many individuals as possible across the nation have been working from home for over a year and there appears to be no signs that they’ll stop anytime soon.

Indeed, the time is still right to learn all about your new digital workspace and take advice on the best tips and tricks to successfully work every day. If you’re still working from home, here are the seven best tips for staying connected and focused with technology.

Keep Your Data Secure

It’s incredibly important to have a secure Wi-Fi connection from your house. If your workplace didn’t provide you with a Wi-Fi connection, you need to stay on top of your own, ensuring you have a password put in place to stop others from stealing your information.

There have been many attempts at theft by neighbors and others who know people who work from home and have easy access to their work secrets thanks to unsecured Wi-Fi. Your work should provide you with a way to stay safe and secure if you have to work from home and handle confidential and classified information at the same time. Don’t trust public Wi-Fi and always keep your passwords a secret from those around you.

Use Technology For Idea Storage

If you’re working in an office that has recently moved online or are managing that same office, there are a number of problems that can arise in the span of a few days. Workflows will be disrupted, and new routines will have to be thought of and implemented as employees become accustomed to their new working environment.

The workload and workflow can be streamlined, however, by using the technology available at everyone’s disposal to make changes and keep track of notes and differences in the two workplaces. You can use your laptop and other technology to capture and organize ideas and processes which may still be new to your workplace easily.

Utilize Video Messaging

One of the largest changes that’s been made in the recent year is the idea of using video conferencing to work through problems and connect with teams in a more consistent and unified manner. Platforms such as Zoom and Loom have been made the norm and have allowed employees to share and discuss ideas in an easy and time-sensitive way, without wasting many resources or disrupting their daily routine.

You should always be recording your screen when hosting a video conference because this is the easiest way to remember what was said and when. Video conferencing technology also allows you to go back and replay what you may have missed in the meeting easily.

Videos Are A Must

If you’re having trouble adjusting to your new workspace and flow of progress from your home, Loom can help you in another way as well. There are dozens of how-to videos and training sessions on the platform, as well as FAQ videos about a number of subjects, mostly pertaining to working from home. You can use this technology to help guide yourself through your new circumstances and connect with your colleagues or employees more easily and fruitfully.

The best part is the affordability, as there is a multifeatured free version of Loom available to employees and employers. Use this technology to become accustomed to working from home and giving yourself an easier time with the work you have to do on a daily basis.

Don’t Fall Prey To Phishing

Phishing and phishing attempts are almost as old as the internet itself. When someone tries to phish you, they’re usually trying to get you to click on a link and provide them with personal and extremely sensitive information. They then use this information to access personal resources such as your bank account and other private entities you use. Your workplace can be the victim of phishing attacks to if employees and colleagues are not careful.

You should know the signs of phishing: the e-mail you receive will come from an unofficial from address, it may seem urgent or dire, and it will almost definitely include a link to an obscure website. The text may also be poorly written to weed out those who won’t fall for the attempt from those who will. Make sure you’re wary of these attempts and don’t yourself or your company fall prey.

Back Up Your Data

Finally, you should regularly back up your data to ensure no progress is lost on your work. Computers and laptops can malfunction and shut down at a moment’s notice, and you may end up losing dozens of hours and hundreds of files’ worth of information from your laptop if this happens to you.

Your files can also become corrupted, and hackers can gain access to your software if you don’t back it up often. You should keep additional copies of your work in a secure location and make sure your work computer is frequently updated to make sure none of these negative outcomes are met.

Seven Habits To Make You Happier At Work

Work can be a struggle for even the happiest, most outgoing people. The stress and demands of the workday can wear many down and make life more difficult and complicated than it needs to be. If you struggle to get motivated at work and generally feel worse there than you do anywhere else, there are a few things you can do to improve your mood and productivity. Here are seven habits you can form to make you happier at work.

Move Around

Stress is sneaky and can affect you in unforeseen ways. One element of stress is the way it can “pile up,” making you more and more stressed as you sit at your desk, clicking through your workday. To help mitigate stress and avoid feeling anxious at work, you should take frequent breaks.

Moving around helps pump blood through your system and is healthy way to activate your brain and muscles, which keeps stress at bay and keeps your body feeling healthier and happier. Whenever you start to feel stressed or worn down, simply move around the office or take a quick walk outside.

Block Out Response Times

One of the most focus-destroying tasks is responding to e-mails, especially those which are non-essential. You can help yourself focus more readily by blocking out time to respond to such e-mails, improving your concentration and giving you a more robust and concentrated workday.

Cutting out time to scroll through e-mails and respond to those which are important but not urgent will give you a natural little break throughout the day while letting you get important work done. Blocking out time will also give you incentive to finish other work first so that you can check your e-mail and respond to inquiries.

Curate a Playlist

While not every work environment is suited to listening to music while you work, popping in your headphones and listening to some of your favorite songs will go a long way in improving your mood and making you more productive.

While your comprehension may wane while listening to music, your general endurance and ability to focus on one task for a longer period will improve. If you work in an environment where listening to music is not frowned upon or out of the norm, consider making a “focusing playlist” and listening to it while at work.

Eat And Drink Regularly

Other undervalued tasks at work are eating and drinking. Eating and drinking give you the needed energy and nutrients to focus on the task at hand and work out your problems in a timely and controlled manner. Eating will also stave off hunger before lunch, which is guaranteed to put you in a better mood throughout the day and help you focus.

Hunger pangs can often distract workers and keep their mind on other things (like lunch) but eating and drinking throughout the day will mitigate these and allow you to concentrate. It’s never healthy to ignore your hunger at work, as this can actually lead to stress and panic attacks more readily.

Exercise Before Work

Many workers enjoy a nice cup of coffee, or multiple cups, before they arrive at work. While there’s nothing wrong with a cup of joe a few times a week, caffeine dependence can have negative effects on your body.

Instead of drinking a cup of coffee everyday before heading into work, you should consider stopping by the gym to exercise or simply taking a walk or jog around your neighborhood. Exercise will get your endorphins running and make you more alert and awake before you go into work, and it will also have multiple positive health outcomes on your body.

Always Clarify

One of the easiest ways to improve your life at work is clarify any task you’re given. Your managers and coworkers may mean well, but misunderstandings can still arise that complicate your workflow and make you less productive.

To avoid the stress of such misunderstandings, you should always double check instructions and never assume anything you haven’t already been told. Being upfront with your colleagues and bosses may seem a tad rude at first, but it will ultimately pay off down the road when you know exactly what you’re doing and how to do it.

Delegate Whenever Possible

Not every employee is in a position to delegate tasks that mean less to them or that they’re simply not suited for, but if you’re in a role which allows you to delegate, you should take full advantage of that position. Workers today are incredibly specialized, and odds are there’s someone at your workplace who can do the job assigned to you in a quicker and more efficient manner.

You should find multiple colleagues who are great at other tasks and, at the very least, ask for their help or input on objectives you don’t fully understand, or you’re not perfectly suited for. Asking for help is free and will greatly help you with the task at hand.

Great Business Resources To Use During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the business paradigm like nothing before. Stores across the country and the world have had to close shop and rely on their digital presence to see them through these difficult times.

However, it’s great to know that there are several large companies which are doing all they can to help small businesses stay afloat and perform the crucial tasks they need to ease their administrative burdens. Here are a few services your company can use during the pandemic to help your employees in a variety of ways. (images are also links to the sites)

DocuSign

Everything in this time is done digitally, so it makes sense to have software which allows you to sign documents electronically. This is where DocuSign comes in, and new customers who sign up for the software are currently getting three free months, including one hundred “envelope sends.”

In other words, companies who sign up for soon can send multiple documents to be signed in the same envelope, which is always a nice feature to have. The software is a godsend for law firms and other companies who need to acquire legal signatures from remote locations.

Microsoft

Easy and efficient communications have become one of the most important cornerstones of the new business realm. Luckily, Microsoft has developed Microsoft Teams to become one of the most effective and widely used platforms for connecting teams from home.

When customers commit to an annual plan for Microsoft Teams, they also receive a free six months of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, which is a great way to connect your many communication channels. Better yet, the licensing fee for the products is extremely affordable and includes online versions of popular Microsoft applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy has been one of the premiere businesses for acquiring a domain name, but they’ve recently started to help small businesses during the pandemic. Most prominently, GoDaddy is helping small businesses improve their marketing and advertising efforts due to shrinking budgets and other constrictions brought about by the virus.

Companies which sign up with GoDaddy’s service actually receive a free website, on top of use of GoDaddy’s e-mail marketing resources, which include Google Busines and Facebook. For those companies who already own a site, GoDaddy is also offering great tools for social media marketing.

PayChex

Administrative burdens are always a headache in the best of times, and the pandemic has made them overwhelming obstacles to daily activities for many businesses. Working remotely is extremely different for administrators who need to be up-to-date and cognizant of every detail and problem within a payroll system. There’s good news for companies who are struggling to keep up with their administrative duties, however; Paychex is currently offering three months free for their payroll services.

In addition to the help Paychex is providing through their streamlining of payroll services, they’re also providing State Unemployment Insurances services for three months when customers sign up to their software. As an extra help to small businesses, Paychex is also helping businesses retain and pay their employees until the economy recovers from the shock of the pandemic.

Freshworks

Despite its name, Freshworks actually provides software which eases communication efforts and helps teams everywhere stay connected while working remotely. Business with less than fifty businesses can currently purchases their customer engagement tools for free; these tools include their popular Freshchat and Freshcaller services.

Freshchat is a platform which makes chatting and messaging easier within organizations and Freshcaller is designed to move your call center to the cloud, creating a hotline which can be answered at any time by members of your team working remotely. These services substantially ease the pressures of communicating within your team and with valued customers.

Hootsuite

Social media is more important than ever as customers are accessing companies and their services through digital means. Social media allows companies to engage and interact with customers but the breadth and complexity of social media sites can sometimes be difficult to manage. That’s where Hootsuite comes in.

Hootsuite allows businesses to manage their social media platforms and make posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram easier and coordinated more consistently. It presents your social media sites and presence in one easy-to-read dashboard and makes the creation of an overarching strategy simple and easy.

1Password

Password protection and security is a crucial but undervalued component for many small business owners. Good quality protection for passwords is a great way to ensure security and stability for your site and offer great peace of mind for years to come.

1Password is a great tool to use to generate and manage passwords so your company keeps hackers off balance and unable to access your site through a direct attack. In addition, 1Password is helping small businesses by providing their services for free for the first six months.

Flocksy

On top of all of these great companies, you can always trust Flocksy to handle and execute your media needs with ease and professionalism. Flocksy is a trusted platform which handles the needs of many companies from a media perspective.

Their team of trusted copywriters can create original content, edit your already created content, shoot video, write scripts, and perform many more tasks in all areas of creation and brand management. If you need a partner to help you with your media needs, there’s no better ally than Flocksy.

How To Help Employees Handle Newfound Isolation And Loneliness

The pandemic has altered the way men and women all over the country do business. On top of bringing seismic shifts to work and home life, the virus has taken a toll on many peoples’ psyche because of the isolation and loneliness it’s caused over the last seven months. This general malaise often extends into the workplace too, and it’s imperative that you help your employees cope with their stress and sadness in a timely, sensitive manner.

BetterUp has recently released a study which found that lonely workers are less satisfied with their jobs, receive fewer promotions, and, most importantly to your business, switch jobs at a far higher rate than those whose mental health are more stable. These lonely employees are also far more likely to switch jobs within the next six months, which means turnover in your company and the training of new staff and the costs of recruiting.

Epidemic Status

The issue of loneliness isn’t something new just due to the pandemic, even if the virus has expanded the complexity and scope of the problem. Workplace loneliness and fatigue problems have both been of increasing severity in the last decade, as many individuals are feeling disconnected from life in general; the problems have gotten so bad that some experts have started describing them as an epidemic. The virus has worsened these feelings, however, as many are home alone for extended periods of time. In such isolation, mental health quickly begins to degrade, and many are undergoing a sort of extreme form of “cabin fever.”

Humans need interaction and connectivity throughout the day, two essential components of life COVID-19 has invariably removed for most. Employees who are single and childless are at the greatest risk of mental health decline, as are those who are well educated and possess graduate degrees. To improve the lives of your workers and save money and time in the process, you should be tuned in to the mental health of your workers. Here are four steps you can take to mitigate their loneliness and isolation in these uncertain times.

Create Meaning In Daily Life

Undoubtedly the greatest step employers can take is to create a shared sense of meaning for their employees. Many today don’t feel as if their work has purpose or meaning and are struggling to stay enthusiastic and connected to what they do on a daily basis. Managers and other supervisors can counteract these feelings by taking time to speak to employees and connecting them to the work they’re doing.

Employee/manager communications are essential to help boost morale and demonstrate the worth of the work your workers have performing every day. It’s best to foster a shared sense of purpose for all of your employees, try to bring them together and know as a unit that what they’re doing is worthwhile and appreciated. Make an effort to single out many individual employees when they perform well and help unify them around a common goal, such as a project they’re working on. Recognition is a huge part of creating shared meaning and boosting morale for the entire office.

Check In Often

The virus has forced many workplaces to use Zoom and other video communications to connect for work purposes, but your employees want a deeper, more personal connection after work is done for the day. Your managers should take time out of their days to connect with employees on a more personal level, unrelated to work or Zoom. Regular phone calls are still good for connecting with people one on one, there’s no need for a video chat when calling in to ask about an employee’s day or home life.

The call should be totally unrelated to work; just two human beings having a chat about how the employee is doing and if there’s anything the manager can do to ease negative feelings at work. Whoever makes the call should open themselves up to vulnerabilities, just as you want your employee to do. Managers and supervisors have a story to tell during this pandemic too, and they should be free to do so to ease the minds of the worker.

Open Paths To Team Connections

Although difficult, it’s a smart idea to remake the kinds of connections and camaraderie that would be present in the office. Try and allow your employees to connect in the same organic way they would if they were all in the office during a regular year, chatting and making small talk to generally relieve their minds from the stress of work and life. This can be a difficult process, but there are a few steps you can take to create this sort of healthy work environment.

There are channels you can make on applications like Slack that allow your employees to share their feelings and interact with each other in a non-work context. You can also set up “social hangouts,” which are virtual meetings for your employees to join and chat with one another outside of work. Any method which allows them to meet and connect without having to worry about talking about their work is a great start to decrease loneliness and isolation.

Provide Mental Health Help

Your company’s health package should provide some form of mental health aid. It may be costly, but it’s well worth the peace of mind and psychological easing it will provide your employees. People all over the country are dealing with stress levels not seen in a long time and providing them with a mental health option will help them relieve this stress and tension.

Not only is this a generally ethical option to provide, your employees will also work more efficiently and effectively if they’re not mired in stress and fatigue throughout the day. Even if your employees are working from home, you should provide access to remote counseling or another form of mental health help. Do everything you can to ensure your employees are receiving the attention and care they need during these tumultuous times.