Top 4 Tips for a Healthy Work-Life Balance

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Work-Life Balance|Top 4 Tips for a Healthy Work-Life BalanceWork is inescapable; it pays the bills and it brings food to the table. Before, the boundaries between work and home were separate. However, with the rise of workaholism, people’s jobs have taken over their personal lives.

Recovering from one’s workaholic habits can be challenging; however, it is not impossible. Here are the top 4 tips for building a healthy work-life balance.

What is Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance refers to finding a happy medium between one’s job and one’s personal life. Examples of a poor work-life balance include working longer hours, cracking under pressure, and/ or suffering abundant responsibilities both at work and at home.

According to Kevin Lucas, co-founder of New Hope Regeneration, “how the body relates to an environment directly impacts the way a patient [lives and] moves.” When a person’s job takes over their life, their relationship to such an environment can result in stress, a weakened immune system, and/or burnout.

Preserving a work-life balance is essential for the human body and brain; it can benefit health and well-being, reduce physical and emotional stress, and encourage positive self-esteem.

Abandon Perfectionism

A lot of overachievers tend to root for perfection in their assignments. As well-meaning as that is, this kind of ambition can also encourage emotional pressure and stress.

Rather than strive for perfection, one should strive to get the job done. By investing too much energy on perfection, it ultimately makes the task at hand harmful and more difficult.

Start Small

It all begins with baby steps. When one attempts drastic changes, like cutting work hours in half or vowing to attend daily family gatherings, the effort often ends in failure. Building a work-life balance isn’t a simple task, but a lifestyle.

Baby steps are preferable as they help make the transition from old habits to new ones digestible and much more obtainable. Rather than cutting one’s work hours in half, one should cut one or two hours. Likewise, instead of vowing to attend family gatherings each day, one should begin with one event each week. Once a person gets accustomed to these small changes, they can then make longer strides without feeling intimidated.

Set Boundaries

Having a lack of boundaries is what enables one’s work to infiltrate their personal life. One should set boundaries for themselves and their co-workers. For example, one should learn how to say “no.” As scary as it is, having the power to reject an activity one can’t or does not want to handle helps one re-assess and evaluate their priorities. When a person says “no” to more work, they say “yes” to dedicating more time for themselves.

Exercise and Meditate

Nowadays, self-care is often misinterpreted as a luxury, not a necessity. The truth is, taking care of oneself is essential in order to reduce stress and keep on living. Exercise and meditation are great ways to preserve one’s mental and physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can improve a person’s mood by promoting endorphins, otherwise known as feel-good hormones. Meanwhile, meditation can help reduce a person’s stress levels through breathing and other peaceful exercises. Meditation does this by activating a person’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxing the body. As helpful as exercise and meditation are, they should not be perceived as a chore; reserve at least 3-5 minutes for a quick breathing or meditation exercise, and at least 5-10 minutes for a short workout or stretch.

How The Pandemic Changed Everything For Entrepreneurs

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Pandemic|How The Pandemic Changed Everything For EntrepreneursThis pandemic has made us realize that we cannot predict the future. Business entities now have faith that their success depends on their ability to adapt to change. The preventive measures taken by governing bodies disturbed the entrepreneurial systems. The social and economic mediums of businesses were adversely affected due to this pandemic. The majority of the businesses got liquefied due to the adversities caused by this pandemic. Small-scale businesses and startups were the most vulnerable to these restrictions.

But entrepreneurs are a peculiar kind of successful people. They have the vision to extract opportunities from disasters. They are the ones for whom challenges are gratifying rather than frightening. Numerous entrepreneurs responded to the change optimistically instead of straying away from it. The change in business models and strategies has resulted in new entrepreneurial norms and a more digital atmosphere. It’s safe to say that the pandemic changed everything for entrepreneurs, and here’s how.

1. Digitalization Becomes Inevitable

Since the coronavirus broke out, we have witnessed an exponential increase in the need for digitalization. Entrepreneurial procedures are being shifted to digital platforms. All the major sectors like agriculture, education, trading, banking, and various business models are now rapidly transforming into digital versions.

As an entrepreneur, you must be acquainted with the digital processes in the business world. Luckily, learning resources for digital domains are increasing with the demand as well. They assist you in aligning with the exclusive integration of digital and business ecosystems. Several courses are now available on physical and virtual platforms to help. You can opt for courses like MBA programs no GMAT to gain access to virtual education to tackle your studies and startup at the same time.

Entrepreneurs who went digital were the only ones who successfully retained their market existence last year. Marketing campaigns are now run via mobile phones, emails, social media platforms, etc., reaching customers digitally rather than going door to door. Several service providers have even evolved their services to be contactless.

2. Shift Towards Remote Working

One of the biggest changes is the shift of workstations from offices to remote locations. Offices have now been shifted to home lounges from high-rise buildings, and “work from home” is the new slogan. If businessmen cannot meet people in person, they have found a way to work remotely. Virtual meeting rooms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are on the hotline since then.

Remote working has provided multiple benefits to the employees as well, like work-life balance, saving transportation costs, and an open room for time management. But, on the other hand, some entrepreneurs faced deterioration in work effectiveness due to remote working due to the addition of domestic responsibilities. According to a survey done by Kings College London, almost 22.6% of entrepreneurs faced difficulties due to such responsibilities. But, entrepreneurs must adapt to the need of the hour to ensure the success of their business.

3. Worldwide Supply Chain

The commerce and procurement sector is connected worldwide. This community took disastrous effects from restrictions over the international borders. It was a dire issue for supply chain executives when they could not communicate with vendors in the virus-affected zones. Most of these executives had their supply chains linked to the Chinese industry. Unfortunately, it became the center of covid-19 and abruptly disturbed the supply chains of every scale. Shortage of goods and materials caused an immense reduction in the productions of electronic and automobile industries. Production hubs like Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India used to outsource their products from China. As a result, they faced a significant reduction in their entrepreneurial activities. The scarcity of supplies led to numerous challenges for the majority of the industries in meeting their targets. Supply chains have begun to gain momentum recently, but promising forecasts cannot be made yet.

4. Challenges For Small Scale Entrepreneurs

Since the pandemic, it has been a difficult time for small-scale entrepreneurs. Covid-19 has brought agonizing challenges to the newbies, and the majority of them are struggling with their businesses. A study by the Asian Institute of Research declares that 41% of small-scale entrepreneurs fell in the red zone during the pandemic and lost control over their cash flow. It was also seen that 20% of the startup got their commitments declined by investors. In addition to that, 53% faced a slowdown in the process, while only 27% were able to function normally.

In addition to this, almost all of the startups had to reduce their expenses. Some entrepreneurial firms even recorded a reduction of 76% in their operational costs. Almost 70% of the firms had to nullify contacts with their full-time employees, which affected their workmanship.

Closing Remarks

You can observe entrepreneurs enjoying hikes in their revenues during this pandemic. This is because they are the ones who have adapted to change and have stayed resilient. The essential step for staying resilient is to accept that you have certain boundaries, and being rigid won’t help much. This approach will lead you to regain control over the aspects that you can influence rather than dwelling on constraints that you can’t control.

Developing Cybersecurity-Aware Employees To Protect Your Business

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Cybersecurity|Developing Cybersecurity-Aware Employees To Protect Your BusinessWith more and more businesses adopting remote working models, there’s an increased focus on having effective cybersecurity measures in place. With employees working from their homes or other locations, the threats to businesses are increasing.

An overwhelming 90% of cyberattacks happen as a result of human error, making it even more important that your employees feel knowledgeable and confident about cybersecurity. Through training and clear guidance, you can reduce the threat of cyberattacks to your business, and strengthen your overall resilience.

Here are some suggestions for raising cybersecurity awareness amongst your employees.

Identify the threats to your business

To ensure your business is protected from cybersecurity threats, you need to understand what they are and how they could impact your business. Even small businesses are vulnerable to security threats, making it vital to put safeguards in place.

Some of the major cybersecurity threats businesses face today include malware and phishing scams and ransomware. These types of attacks can occur easily as a result of human error, and it’s important that you recognize the potential risks for your business so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Provide the right training to your employees

Cyberattacks are growing in sophistication, and if your employees don’t know what to look out for, they become a liability for your business – especially when they’re working off-site. Providing the right cybersecurity training can help employees feel more confident in identifying potential risks, and helps them understand the actions that need to be taken if they come into contact with something suspicious.

If your business has made the move to remote working, you will need to provide updated training, while also ensuring the infrastructure is in place to protect your systems.

Publish regular reminders and updates

Providing training to your employees can help equip them with better cybersecurity knowledge, but training alone won’t protect your business. You’ll need to provide regular updates and reminders to ensure your employees are aware of the latest risks, and any policies that have been updated in line with emerging threats. Making cybersecurity an ongoing topic of discussion can normalize it for your employees, helping them make more informed choices at work, and in their lives outside of work too.

Review the situation regularly

As new threats emerge regularly, your business will need an ongoing strategy for cybersecurity, including dealing with breaches and interruptions to your service. Working with an IT company with experience in managing these types of disruptions can help you benefit from round-the-clock support, knowing you’ll be up and running again in no time. Many businesses look to outsourcing their IT to maintain their service while benefiting from the expertise that can keep their business safe.

Cyberattacks have the potential to seriously damage a business, both financially and on a reputational level. With the right measures put in place to protect your business, you can feel confident knowing your business is in the best place to defend against attacks both now, and in the future.

Remote Positivity: Emulating Optimism for Your Work-From-Home Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Work From Home| Remote Positivity: Emulating Optimism for Your Work-From-Home EmployeesThe work from home dynamic has come into our society in full force. Since the pandemic’s effects have significantly impacted our ability to congregate in groups, many companies have used remote work to keep their workflow on a proper level and collaborate with employees working from home.

There are numerous ways that technology has adeptly adapted to this, with apps and services across multiple platforms able to aid in employee communications no matter their location. However, one must remember that there are psychological effects on social isolation, ranging from anxiety to sleeplessness.

It starts with a company leader addressing these issues and taking the initiative to create a realm of positivity for his or her working community. Once done, employees can more easily thrive in a workplace with core values of workplace strength and support.

Collaborate and Listen

The applications that the tech world has developed have been a mainstay in the work from home atmosphere. No longer do people need to leave messages, wait hours for contact, or wonder which roles they have on a company project. Whether utilizing instant messaging, video conferencing, or campaign tracking, apps like GoToMeeting and Slack have all been heavily downloaded and integrated into remote work environments. Digital transformation will only continue to evolve with further refinement of workflow customization tools.

However, it’s important to note that “collaboration” is an integral part of these workflow collaboration apps. That means rising together towards the desired group result–but more than anything, it means a leader willing to step up and create a constructive and enthusiastic environment.

Project management is an essential part of any brand, for example, but proper communication with employees is necessary to steady productivity. Make sure that your working community knows that they’re valued on a personal level. Checking in for friendly workforce chats weekly, making employee onboarding a priority for future work efforts, and rewarding especially excellent efficiency with warm messages are all ways in which you can exemplify your positive work atmosphere.

Zooming the Right Way

If you’ve been working from home, then you’ve probably been using Zoom: the video communications service that’s connected a multitude of remote work employees through web conferencing. However, during the past few weeks, there’s been a concern over the notion of excess comfort in personal home office use with Zoom.

The concept of “Zoom etiquette” is one that has recently been in conversation across multiple sectors. Specifically, there is debate about how many behaviors one may or may not allow when videoconferencing in groups. Addressing this topic with your employees will eliminate any chance of discomfort for them during video conferences.

For example, if one hasn’t had the time for a lunch break and needs to eat during a long meeting, should one wait and not interrupt? The consensus seems to be that it is alright. However, temporarily switching off one’s camera and muting one’s microphone so as not to disturb the other members with possible sound interventions is best.

Other possible scenarios involve establishing that social media alerts or other interruptions don’t divert your employees. These will limit their ability to remember aspects of your video meeting, as well as demonstrate a lack of professionalism that other employees might catch onto.

However, ensure that your workforce member isn’t excessively stressed if a child or pet causes a minor interruption. Know that there are some elements in the new normal that you can control as an authority leader and some aspects that you cannot. Your working community will notice you, and your bolstering environment, more for it.

Communicate and Know the Purpose

With an untold amount of startups in the current atmosphere and a market that seems to change every second, there is a measure of instability that can occur when a company operates on an unstable foundation. Profit may be coming in with a trending product or service, but long-term success is built upon leadership that understands its key areas of skills and fortitude. Having each of your employees understand your brand’s–and your own life’s–mission will give better clarity to your organization, helping align short-term wants with long-term goals.

But communication doesn’t just come from one direction. Through videoconference, asking your employees what they believe their strengths to be and what they want to achieve in life will open up mental pathways on both sides. It will give them a sense of purpose and resolve, knowing that you have a sincere interest in their skillset.

They’ll see that they can chat with you if they notice an additional lead or avenue that the business can take in the future. And for you, as a leader, you may learn an additional power area from one of your working community members that you can now count on moving forward.

Communication has evolved to a level that few of us expected to see a year ago. With digital transformation, we’ve seen video conferencing and webinars take hold in our day-to-day work experiences. However, this doesn’t mean that the foundational aspects of a positive work environment need to lessen. Using the proper strategies, an optimistic working community can advance and lead to a brighter future for every work-from-home member.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Veronica BaxterVeronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with Todd Mosser Esq., a busy criminal appeals lawyer, Philadelphia PA.

Should Your Business Pay Home Office Costs For Remote Employees?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Remote Employees|Should Your Business Pay Home Office Costs For Remote Employees?The COVID-19 pandemic has forced so many businesses to adopt remote working overnight. While there are a lot of benefits to remote working and it’s much safer for everybody right now, there are some challenges for your employees.

Creating a positive working environment in the home can be difficult and expensive. But many companies aim to solve this problem by giving their employees a stipend to create their own home office.

Shopify and Twitter, for example, offered to give each remote employee $1,000 to set up their home office. This money is to be spent on things like ergonomic office desks and chairs, or new laptops. Some companies are also offering a monthly payment to help cover things like internet or phone bills.

For big companies like Twitter, this expense is manageable and it seems like a no-brainer if it makes life easier for their employees. However, it’s not so easy for small businesses and paying your employees a similar stipend will put a lot of financial strain on you, so is it really worth it?

What Are The Benefits Of Paying Home Office Costs For Your Remote Workers?

Although it is a big expense to cover, it may be the best thing for your business in the long run. If you pay this money to your employees you will notice a big increase in productivity. It’s difficult to work productively if you don’t have a comfortable, well equipped space to do it. But if you give your employees the money to buy a proper office desk and chair so they can stay comfortable and focus, they will get a lot more done.

Giving your employees some financial assistance also increases access to tech tools, which employees may not otherwise use. Expecting your employees to pay out of their own pocket for a brand new laptop is unreasonable, especially considering their utility costs are likely to increase while they are working from home. The same goes for upgrading their internet connection to accommodate video conferencing. This means that many employees will struggle to work effectively because they are using outdated tools. Giving them some money to update their tech tools will benefit them as well as the business.

You should also consider it an investment for the future because it’s likely that the business world will be changed permanently by the pandemic. Remote working is going to become far more common, and that’s good for businesses because it cuts your office costs. However, if you expect your employees to continue working remotely in the future, you need to help them get their homes set up for it.

What Are The Downsides?

The obvious downside of these payments is that they put a lot of financial strain on the business in an already difficult time. So, before you make any promises, crunch the numbers and make sure that you can afford it.

The other thing to be aware of is that employees may spend the money elsewhere. Although this is unlikely, you may decide to ask them to purchase items and then reimburse them afterwards to avoid this.

Overall, if your business can afford it, paying home office costs for your remote employees is a good idea.