Breaks – Good for You & for Business

Multi-taskers get stuff done.

Keep your nose to the grindstone.

No rest for the wicked.

Seriously, it’s 2018 and we all know that all work and no play made Jack a very dull boy.

Boost your energy, your mental capacity and even your metabolism with some stress-relieving breaks throughout the day.

Numerous psychology and business leaders see great results when employees take time to walk away from their work.

“A workday without breaks drains our mental capacity and lowers productivity; while taking breaks throughout the day is extremely beneficial, both physically and mentally,” says Doug Fleisner, sales executive at JRG Advisors.

Breaks Improve Productivity and Morale

Walking away from my computer is sometimes the exact step I need to gain perspective and gather my thoughts. I come back renewed and with a fresh set of eyes on a project.

My years working in the food service industry and in retail reinforced the boost breaks have in morale. Sometimes a 10- minute break joking with colleagues and letting off some steam or a social lunch in the break room can turn a tiring day into a productive one.

So, why do so many American workers skip out on this essential benefit?

In a recent Tork survey, nearly 20% of North American workers feel their bosses believe they aren’t working hard if they take regular lunch breaks. About 13% feel they are being judged by coworkers for taking breaks as well.

It’s time to stop eating at your desk or working until you’re so hunched over you literally creak when you sit up. Walk, or run if you must, outside or to the nearest break room and let yourself return refreshed.

Sitting is the New Smoking

According to Dr. William Shrank, Chief Medical Officer with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health Plan, sitting for more than three hours without a break is harmful to your overall health.

While it doesn’t cause the drastic health issues of smoking, sedentary lifestyles lead to increases in the risks for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and back/neck pain.

A quick walk away from your desk helps gather your thoughts, increase circulation, release dopamine and stretch the muscles. Plus, you can use breaks as an opportunity to be social in the office, check personal messages or calls and even grab a healthy snack.

Benefits of regularly taking breaks include better posture, increased calorie burn and metabolism, and improved alertness.

Treat your work area like you would have if it were in the sixties, seventies or eighties. Take the stairs, walk over to a colleague’s desk, offer to water office plants or tidy the break room. Find reasons to get up and get moving.

Encourage a Healthy Work Environment

Satisfied and energized employees are the best tools of any organization.

Encouraging employees to reduce stress and improve productivity through breaks can be challenging when there are goals to meet and customers to engage. However, leading by example is the best way managers can highlight the importance of taking breaks.

Managers may consider scheduling a monthly lunch for employees to socialize and dine. Create relaxing spaces with plants, natural light and seating where employees can take a break. Stock the break room with healthy options and plenty of seating to help them unwind and regroup.

Should managers find themselves looking for an employee who is on a break, relax. The step away could be bringing your organization more benefits than you think!

 

A Messy Desk Isn’t Always a Sign of Genius

We’ve all seen the pictures of Albert Einstein sitting a messy desk and equate disorganization as a sign of genius.

Science has shown the correlation to be valid, but a sloppy work space isn’t always well received by customers, coworkers or management.

Work Space Debate

In the  majority of modern offices, private work spaces are few and far between. Coworkers, more often than not, are sharing a desk or table for their 40-hour work week.

For as many people who thrive in chaos, there are the same who require neatness to produce their best work.

Coworkers with sloppy habits can be doing harm by encroaching on shared work space and negatively affecting productivity.

Finding the balance for your business and your employees requires a group effort before important documents or information could be lost in the clutter.

How to Approach Sloppy Employees

Imagine a high-end client coming to your office for the first time. Would you cringe or would your office space be an accurate reflection of how your organization operates?

Dive deeper into CareerTrend tips on approaching employees who need clean up.

  1. Take a helpful approach – offer assistance with organization or time management
  2. Provide Organizational Tools – provide filing supplies or storage space
  3. Issue Corporate Directive – avoid singling any one employee
  4. Be Diligent but Flexible – recognize even the neatest employees may have a disorganized desk every so often

As a business owner or manager, you don’t want to spend time harping on your staff to keep their space clean. However, it is your responsibility to maintain standards and keep productivity on track.

Your Messy Desk Reflects Your Professionalism

Those of us who love working under deadlines, and have a method to our madness for desk organization, can function in the chaos.

On the flip side, it could make others lose confidence in our abilities to perform our jobs well.

One of the most known staffing agencies, Robert Half, offered insight into Office Team’s study about workplace tidiness.

When asked what was most distracting or annoying about employee work space, 54% of managers surveyed stated a messy or disorganized work space while only 10% said the same for a overly neat work space.

Additional stats from the survey by the Adeco group show 42%of Americans have judged a coworker more negatively if his work space is dirty. It’s not clear how many are managers in that number.

Sure, most people don’t swim in paperwork and Post-It Notes. I doubt the majority of workers dust their neatly organized desk weekly. We all work best in a happy medium of these extremes. Just remember, your work area is a reflection of you, your company and how you appear to clients – Keep it decluttered at best.

 

5 Simple Tools to Help Small Businesses Save Time And Money

As a small business owner, I am often pulled in many directions at once.

I love tools that help simplify my daily routine and improve my productivity while not affecting my bottom line.

Investing time, money and effort into software and training helps propel my business into a high-production mode. Here’s a few of my favorite tools that help my business run smoothly and help me keep costs low.

Canva

If you don’t have experience in graphic design, but you need eye-catching media, Canva is your new best friend.

With a host of free tools, images and templates, anyone can create bright, engaging and professional designs. Draft polished newsletters, business cards, social media posts and marketing collateral with one source.

Gather your team through one portal to share design ideas, gain feedback and save projects in one location.

HootSuite

You can spend all day attracting and interacting with your followers on social media, but it’s not the best use of your time.

Through HootSuite, your marketing team can plan full campaigns or schedule a week’s worth of posts from a single dashboard.

With four tiers of plans, any organization can find the perfect match for their social media marketing and analytics. Post to Pinterest or YouTube and everything in between by simply managing a calendar.

In addition, HootSuite offers additional education, idea generation and guides to assist in your marketing efforts.

PayPal

Getting paid for services or products rendered shouldn’t be stressful.

For many small businesses, invoicing and receiving payments is simplified using one of the most popular applications, PayPal.

Use PayPal for your online store or send invoices for services. No matter how you use it, the tracking and accounting services help small businesses manage their accounts easily.

Social Media Groups

Become a joiner.

Small business owners take on a lot of responsibility for the success of their business. But no one can become successful alone.

It’s time to join some social media groups and allow those groups to inspire, rejuvenate and even be constructively critical of your business.

Through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest, you can find a professional group that can help boost your business. Use the groups to bounce ideas and share experiences, wins and losses.

Skype

Although it’s been around for years, Skype continues to make improvements for business and social use.

Whether your business works with international clients or you have coworkers who join the team remotely, this video and phone platform helps make conference calls easy and keeps costs low.

Throughout the business call, participants can instantly share files relevant to the conversation or for future use.

Don’t limit this platform for business calls only. Skype is a great tool to use for vlogs, podcasts and even live streaming at events or meetings.

If you know a tool that has become essential for you business, share with us!