Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

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3 Ways to Use a Period of Self-Isolation to Prepare for Self-Reinvention

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As of this writing, much of the world’s population is undergoing self-isolation, in connection with the COVID-19 epidemic.

At first glance, a period of self-isolation may seem like an entirely detrimental thing. It likely interferes with your professional life in one way or another, it prevents you from socialising in the way you would usually do, and it presents a broad array of limits and obstacles of other sorts, too.

In fact, though, what at first seems to be a curse might in some sense be a blessing in disguise – because a period of seclusion can be an excellent way of initiating a process of self-reinvention, both personally and professionally.

Here are some tips on how to use a period of self-isolation to prepare for self-reinvention.

Refine your professional and personal goals for the future, and reflect on them a lot

You’ve probably heard words before, to the effect that: “if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.”

It might be more accurate to say: “if you don’t take control of the journey, you’ll likely end up somewhere you don’t want to be.”

Having professional and personal goals is essential for ensuring that your actions have coherence, and that they build on top of one another in a productive way, and lead you in a broadly positive direction.

That being said, many people – even entrepreneurs – frequently get into the habit of essentially stumbling forward either without any real goals, or with outdated goals that they haven’t refined and kept current in light of changing circumstances.

A period of self-isolation is the perfect opportunity for doing some serious contemplation on your personal and professional goals for the future. Clearly visualise what it is you want to achieve. Consider different contingencies. Articulate those goals as clearly as you can, and create broad outlines for action. Then, reflect on those goals more and more to refine them further and further.

Investigate the logistics of direct actions you can take in the near future

If you’re stuck at home, you will obviously be limited in the range of actions you can take right now in order to reinvent yourself either personally or professionally.

But, you can certainly investigate the logistics of various direct actions and strategies, and can plan accordingly, so that you’re ready to “explode forth” when things get back to normal.

Your research may involve finding reliable self storage solutions that may have a professional application. Or, it may involve a marketing action plan for generating new leads.

In any case, be primed and ready to go.

Organise your home environment, and spend a good deal of time in quiet contemplation

Keeping a broadly tidy and organised home environment is a great way of maintaining a sense of control and structure during otherwise uncertain times.

Beyond that, though, organising your home, and also finding a good deal of time for quiet contemplation, can help you to calm your thoughts, engage in meaningful “discussions” with yourself, refine your values, and get a clearer sense of the kind of person you want to be.

Busy day-to-day life often doesn’t allow much scope for silence and contemplation, meaning that we rarely practice the degree of healthy introspection we perhaps should. Now is a great time to change that.

How To Move To The Beat Of Your Own Drum In Business

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Innovation in business and industry takes courage and hard work. But it also takes the right mindset. If you want your business to be another version of a business that has gone before, then at best you will become mediocre and never enjoy true success. However, if you want to stand out and lead the way, you need to find your own groove and move to the beat of your own drum.

Here are some examples of the type of mindsets you should employ if you want your business to stand out from the crowd and be truly innovative and original.

If There Is A Problem, Find The Solution Yourself

If you hit a stumbling block on the road to getting your business off the ground, it can be very easy to turn to other companies that have come before to see how they have solved that same problem. And, while you may well come across the exact same problem, often you may only find similarities, instead of an exact match.

In order to solve a problem that is specific to your business model, you should not try to put a square peg into a round hole. If something works for someone else, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Use bespoke solutions that are innovative and deal directly with your own specific set of circumstances.

This might mean investing in enterprise software development in order to get software that your business can use. Instead of trying to use other people’s software that might not be the best fit for your needs.

Understand The Need Your Business Is Filling

So often businesses just exist as a means to make money and are driven by the profits. It may be that they were started with an aim and vision, but this might have quickly become diluted when they teamed up with the wrong investors. But it is important to understand exactly what the benefit of your business is.

You need to know why you are different from other companies that might offer something similar. What is it that your customers specifically need that they can only get from you? Your unique selling point should be central to your vision and you should make sure that you thoroughly capitalize on this fact. You should also protect your USP from intellectual property theft, and from the need to deliver on profits rather than on your companies vision.

See Long Term Success As Your Goal Rather Than Short Term Gains

A true visionary in business will always see the bigger picture. Do not be blindsided by the potential to make short terms gains. Businesses like Facebook, for example, held off from monetization during the first couple of years in operation, believing that their product had a wide reach. Once it had attracted their customer base and created a need that could not be found anywhere else, only then would it be time to actually start making money.

Why Business Training Really Matters

Training is important, there’s no arguing that it assists your team in ways you may not have even thought about. If you don’t do effective training practice then it’s a fact that your company could lose money, so good solid training is definitely a bonus. Further, ineffective training costs companies around 13.5 million dollars per year. Company training should be a part of your company’s long term goals and strategy and to ensure that your staff are growing and developing as you wish them to. You want your team to be productive constantly.

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Good Training Programs Prevents Issues In Many Areas

Many companies come across regulations that require you to put your staff through specific training or programs and you must be sure that you submit proof of this in order to be in compliance, and that you can prove that you are doing what is expected of you. Once they have been able to go on these training courses, they will return to the office with a better knowledge than before and this will prevent issues that could have been caused previously. Such as better customer service, being able to work the systems more efficiently and also to be able to get a better knowledge of the brand as a whole which will only be beneficial for everyone in the long run and be better for the financial status of the company. You could look at Kentico training also for your staff. All staff should be able to reach their full potential.

Training Boosts Engagement Among Your Entire Team

Well trained employees are more engaged with themselves, the team and the customers and this will be great to keep your team engaged longer. You can provide a way for employees to stay busy and interested and incentify them either by financial means or by just improving their lives day to day at work. You can assist them with the ability to create multiple learning paths, and this can be beneficial to the company if you branch out, they will then have better skills to cope with the pressure of change. It promotes a good culture of learning and they can learn the rudiments of the company much better with a desire to learn too. They must enjoy what they’re doing and the staff who are worthy of working with you will stay whilst others may drop off altogether.

Can Keep up With Industry Changes And Trends Which Can Be Vital For Growth

If you are in a rapidly changing industry, with many facets then you must ensure that you are remaining competitive to others so that people choose you over others. If you fail to complete non-mandatory training programs, then you’re decreasing your chances of being able to keep up to new changes and even any new and difficult industry demands, that may need good staff and resources to aid. You will find yourself exerting resources instead and being caught up in the chaos without progressing at all. Be smart.

4 Ways to Improve Your Business Management

Whether you are a business owner or you have a top managerial role within a company, effectively organizing the overall management can be hard. Smaller businesses with less locations and staff members might find it easier, but that doesn’t mean they don’t face similar challenges. Here are 4 ways that could help you improve the overall management of your business.

1.   Hire Efficient Leaders

Having good general managers and team leaders working in your stores/offices will have a huge impact on business. If staff members do not respect or like those you have placed in charge, it could lead to disfunction in that particular branch. Good leaders have the ability to create a positive working atmosphere, are not afraid of confrontation when trying to resolve conflicts; and set a good example for the rest of the team. You don’t want a manager who ‘micro-manages’ your staff, doesn’t treat them with respect or neglects the harder responsibilities of the job. Selecting the right leaders for your various branches is key in maintaining good business management.

2.   Get Good Software

Part of management roles is organizing staff records, business files, taxes, etc., properly. As there is so much to keep track of, you need to have decent computer programming in place to help you achieve this. In particular, look at getting a quality OKR software system installed, like the ones listed by People Managing People. This type of computer program will help you to set targets and business objectives, as well as allowing you to track their progress. All businesses need aims to keep themselves moving forward.

3.   Hold Regular Management Meetings

Getting together with your team of managers on a regular basis will help to keep yourself in the loop. It is also a good opportunity for you to keep them informed on any changes the company plans to implement into the business model. If you’re able to, hold appraisals with your individual team leaders. By giving them the opportunity to speak with you one-on-one, this allows them to share their ideas and concerns in a safe space without fear of being judged by others. It will also provide an appropriate, private opportunity for you to confront any problems that you may have with their performance. By meeting with your team of managers on a regular basis, it will improve the overall function of the company and will help to create a positive network between you all.

4.   Attend Training Courses

Being in charge of managing a business will require you to have the ability to keep learning. As times and trends change, new things are introduced to every industry, including new managerial techniques. Use various learning resources to keep your methods up-to-date, or attend training courses and conferences. The information you will learn from these types of events could be incredibly useful to you and help you come up with fresh ideas on how you can manage your business.

With poor management, a business will fail. Don’t let that happen to your company; follow these tips to achieve business management success.

Choosing Between Public Liability Insurance Companies

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There is no denying that all businesses need to do everything in their power to protect their future. There are lots of different rules and regulations in place. There are also a number of different risks that companies face as well. One step you need to put in place to protect your company is to take out public liability insurance. In this blog post, we are going to reveal everything you need to know about choosing from the different public liability insurance businesses that are available.

Public liability insurance is a must for any sized business

Public liability insurance is a must for any sized business. It offers protection if your company is considered to be responsible for a member of the public being injured or worse; or if their property is damaged. Given that’s all pretty standard, how do you choose between public liability insurance companies?

There can be significant differences between public liability insurance cover offered by different companies. So what three factors should you use to decide?

What level of protection are you being offered? 

Most companies will offer a minimum level of £1m. This may seem quite high enough to cover almost any circumstances, but compensation and court cases can be very expensive. Also, be aware that if you enter into contracts with other businesses or government departments, for instance, they may insist on a much higher level.

How much are the annual premiums? 

Often, the cost of the premium will be calculated by the insurance company based on their judgement on the type of business you operate; the number of employees you have; and your previous claims history. This is why the price of the premium may differ between liability insurance companies, and means you could get a better deal by shopping around.

What level of excess are you required to pay if you need to make a claim?

Insurers use the excess on a policy in part to discourage smaller claims. It’s highly unlikely that any insurer will be prepared to meet the entire cost of any claim made against your business, so you should always expect there to be an excess. Where companies can vary is in the amount they offer as standard. Often, this is set at a level of £250. Sometimes, you may be able to negotiate lower premiums in return for a higher excess. But be careful: you must be sure your business could still meet that cost in the event of a claim.

So when choosing between public liability insurance companies, don’t make the mistake of thinking everything is standard. Check every detail carefully to ensure your policy is right for your business. We hope that the information that has been provided will help you to select the insurance policy that is going to be right for your requirements. You will also want to make sure you research the company in question as well so you can be sure that they have a good reputation.

3 Reasons Why Improving Your Posture May Help to Make You Better at Your Job

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There are so many different bits of advice out there about how to improve your performance at your job, that you could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed.

With an endless supply of books on productivity, tidbits of advice, marketing strategies, and more, sometimes what you really need in order to start making a positive change at your job, is a selection of straightforward actionable steps.

As far as actionable steps go, there’s very little out there as straightforward as improving your posture. It can be achieved by, at most, simply purchasing some comfortable office saddle stools, and remembering to sit upright.

At the same time, though, your posture can have a significant impact on how you perform at your job.

Here are a few reasons why improving your posture may help to make you better at your job.

Because a more self-assured and upright posture changes your hormone balance to make you more confident

One of the strangest findings about posture has been that when people assume a more upright and confident posture, the levels of different hormones circulating in their blood actually change.

Among other things, testosterone increases, and the levels of stress hormones decrease.

A more self-assured and upright posture, in other words, directly contributes to making you more confident both in and out of the office. And, of course, people who are more confident, professionally speaking, are more likely to take chances, and to be proactive, and to make a positive impression on their employers.

Because better posture can make you more energetic and inspired during the workday

Slouch down in your chair right now, and wait for a minute or so. Do you feel more energetic, or less?

Then, sit upright with your chest out. Now, do you feel more energetic, or less?

Your posture has a significant impact on how energetic you feel, and that’s a big part of the reason why standing desks have become so popular in recent times. When you’re standing upright you are, automatically, in a more action-oriented posture, and so naturally feel more energetic.

The more energetic and switched on you feel, the more creative and inspired you are bound to be during the workday.

Because prospective customers and clients are likely to respond to you better, if you have better posture

For better or for worse, appearances matter quite a lot in business, and so too does presentation.

If you have a role that involves interacting with prospective customers and clients face-to-face, then your posture is likely to make a significant impact on how those prospective customers and clients perceive you.

Specifically, better, more upright posture will signal confidence and trustworthiness, whereas slouched and unhealthy posture will send the impression that you are lacking in confidence, are perhaps less trustworthy, and are ultimately not convincing enough to carry the pitch.

Even if your role doesn’t involve interacting with prospective customers and clients face-to-face, though, you can be sure that anyone else who you to interact with in a professional context will think better of you, if your posture is better.

How to Boost Productivity in Your Construction Company

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Are you looking for ways to boost on-site productivity in your construction business? Motivating employees to work hard can be tough, and it can be challenging to know how to tackle the issue. Ultimately, unproductive employees cost you money. The less productive your workers are, the more likely that your jobs are to overrun, and missed deadlines can mean contract penalties and starting later than planned on subsequent jobs.

Constantly hassling employees for not working hard enough may be tempting, but is unlikely to make them want to work any harder, and they may down tools altogether. Finding alternative ways to encourage increased productivity is a better longterm solution.

Assess the Situation

If your employers are not working as hard as you feel they should be, it is a good idea to start by assessing the situation. Try to figure out the reasons behind their lack of motivation. Do you receive feedback from your staff? If so, is there an issue that crops up again and again? If employees consistently raise the same problems, then at least you know what you need to change to resolve the problem.

The Right Tools for the Job

Without the right equipment to perform their job, employees may struggle to produce good quality work and meet the targets that you set.

Having the best tools and equipment can speed up work on-site, and improve employee productivity. Equipment maintenance is also an important consideration, as equipment that frequently breaks down will also harm productivity levels.

Using the correct equipment for each job is also essential from a health and safety viewpoint. The construction industry has one of the highest rates of accidents in all sectors. Working at height is one of the biggest risk factors for construction employees. Therefore, ensuring that you have appropriate height safety equipment is essential. Using a company such as Ranger to test your height safety equipment will ensure that it performs as it should.

Robust Training Programmes

Appropriate training is a must for construction workers, both from a productivity point of view and for health and safety reasons. Employees that do not receive adequate training will not be able to perform their jobs to the required standards and are also likely to be less productive.

To work efficiently, employees need to understand precisely what they are doing and feel confident that they can perform their roles well. A robust training programme will ensure that employees have the skills and confidence to perform at their best.

Engaged Employees

The work environment and culture has a significant impact on staff and their attitudes towards their job. Increasing employee engagement is an excellent way to boost productivity. Understanding how the role that they perform directly impacts the business as a whole can influence employees to work harder and feel more satisfied with their work. Employees need to be invested in the success of the company to produce their best work each day. They need to believe that their efforts count and are appreciated.

Should You Experiment With Hot-Desking To Save On Office Space?

Hot-desking is a massive trend right now, being trialed by companies all over the world. Bosses see it as a surefire way to save money on office rental costs and improve employee wellbeing at the same time.

The basic idea is this: you don’t have set pods or desks for each member of your team. Instead, you just provide the number of desks that you need at any given time, and people sit where they want. By avoiding having to provide a workstation for all employees 24-hours per day, bosses hope that the scheme will save them money. But does it?

The Benefits

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The direct benefits of hotdesking are abundantly clear. Many managers find that they can shrink the amount of floor space that they need by around 30 percent or more, shaving between 10 and 20 percent off their rent bills. Estimates suggest that the savings for businesses could run into the billions every year, providing a massive boost to the economy. But is it a good idea on every front? What about the effect on worker retention? Do employees like sharing their desks with others?

This issue is more contentious. It is undeniable that some workers are territorial about where they sit. They like to set up their desks just right, putting them in the mood for the rest of the day. Many want to place a picture of their spouse or family on their workstation to remind them why they work so hard.

These individuals, however, tend to be in the minority. Most workers see the office as a shared space, and they’re prepared to use it as a public resource. They don’t feel particularly territorial about where they set up their computer.

Interestingly, there’s some evidence that employees actually prefer to change where they work. It can get tedious filing into work every day, sitting in the same place, and staring out the same window. Switching things up a bit can help every day feel a little different.

The Cons

Some bosses still aren’t keen on the idea, though. There’s all the faff involved with setting up desks for a new person each morning, which can cut into productivity, erasing any gains that might come from boosting morale.

If you click here, though, you’ll discover something interesting. While hotdesking was a problem for many firms in the past because of the basic admin issues, it is something that has become a lot easier to implement. There are now firms, for instance, that specialize in helping managers set up offices that allow hotdesking but don’t involve all the usual hassles.

The debate around hotdesking is likely to continue for a while, but there is no doubt that it is a powerful tool to save companies money. The expected outcome is that most firms will eventually adopt the practice, but will do so using smart innovations that minimize the negatives. Only then will the idea go mainstream and change the business world on a macro scale.

Self-Care Tips For Busy Business Owners

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So, how are you feeling today?

Chances are, as a busy business owner, you might be feeling tired and stressed. With a never-ending to-do list, people to manage, and targets to meet, you might also be feeling exhausted and close to burnout. And because of the way you could be feeling, you might no longer have the drive, passion, or love for your business that you once had. Because let’s face it, life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows when you’re working for yourself. Life can be demanding, highly-pressured, and mentally and emotionally draining. Well, that’s sometimes the case anyway.

So, if you are feeling low because of the pressures of your business, and if you are beginning to feel the effects of entrepreneurial burnout as a consequence, now is the time to focus on self-care. While you will be keen to invest in your business, you should switch your focus to investing in yourself, as your business will suffer if you fall ill because of your busy business lifestyle.

Here are just a few of the ways you can practice self-care.

#1: Spend more time in exercise each day

Exercise? How can you when you have so much work to get on with? Well, you could get up a little earlier in the morning for a start, as you would have the opportunity to go for a walk or a run before your day begins. You could also bike or walk to work instead of taking the bus or your car. And during your break times (please remember to take these), you could also get out of the office for a little while and go for a walk. You see, exercise is an effective way to reduce your stress levels, relieve your tension, and boost your energy. So, before, during, and after work, exercise as much as you are able. When you feel that rush of endorphins kick in, you will start to feel physically and mentally better as a consequence.

#2: Find time to relax

Sure, you could run around like a headless chicken both in and out of work, but you won’t give your body or mind time to relax if you do. There are times when you need to slow down and rest, because if you don’t, you will soon start to feel the effects of burnout. So, don’t work every hour that is available to you, as you need to find a healthy balance between work and rest.

When you’re in the workplace, give yourself a breather every so often. Practice breathing exercises when you’re sat at your desk and calm down your agitated mind. Make the most of your break times and do something that takes your mind away from work for a little while. And when you go home each day, forego the temptation to continue working. Turn off your work phone. Don’t look at your emails. Use the time you have to relax with your family and friends, and take part in those activities that will help you to fully unwind.

#3: Eat the right food

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Sure, you could grab a quick snack from the refrigerator when you’re rushing out of the door to work. You could skip out on lunch if your to-do list needed your attention. And you could opt for a fast-food meal on your way home, as this might be easier for you if you are tired after your busy day. However, you are doing yourself no favors if you do any of these things. By eating junk food or by missing out on mealtimes altogether, your health will suffer, and you will become less productive too!

So, get up a little earlier in the morning and prepare yourself a healthy breakfast. You might want to put something healthy in the slow cooker too, as you will then have something good to eat after your busy workday. And you could use the time you have in the morning to create a nutritious office lunch as well. By focussing on your diet, you will have more energy in the day, and your health won’t start to suffer because of any unhealthier alternatives you might otherwise have considered.

#4: Get a good night’s sleep

Burning the candle at both ends will only lead to burnout! Sleep deprivation will also stunt your creativity, negatively affect your decision-making, and damage your productivity at work. So, don’t stay up late into the night engaged in work or leisure activities, as you will suffer in the morning. Be sensible, and get a solid 7-9 hours sleep a night. You will then feel more energized in the morning, your workday will seem less like a chore, and you will be more inclined to exercise and prepare those healthy meals we talked about.

#5: Treat yourself

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and it makes Jill a dull girl too! And the same applies to you, no matter what name you go under. If you have no fun in your life, you will become more prone to feelings of stress, as you won’t have many opportunities to experience those feelings of happiness that can offer you mental and emotional relief. So, order in something good to eat when you’re at work. Treat yourself to the occasional corporate massage, especially during those times when you can feel the pressures of work building up in your body. And when you finish work for the day, do something fun. Go and see a film before you head home. Enjoy a meal at a restaurant in your town. And when you have the money to spend, treat yourself to a bout of retail therapy, because if you have done enough to earn the money in your pockets, you may as well spend a little of it.

Finally

The healthier you are, the healthier your business will be. So, focus on yourself for a change, regardless of how busy you are. By giving yourself some self-care, you will reduce your feelings of stress, eliminate the built-up tensions that threaten to derail your health, and sidestep the exhaustion that could take you away from your business.

Successfully Managing an Office Renovation

Office renovations, whether big or small, can be massively disruptive. You might have to close areas of your office, move your team around, work in smaller spaces, or do without some of your desks and equipment. You might even have to stay out of the office for a few days if you need more substantial renovations completed.

Big businesses cope. They take a few days off while the scaffolding is up, or they outsource work to other locations. It doesn’t really affect their income or reputation, and losing one office for a few days is a drop in the ocean when you have several others.

Smaller businesses, however, can struggle. Sometimes, renovations are necessary, or even unavoidable. If your office has become unsafe or insecure, you need to make upgrades as soon as you can. If the atmosphere is bad, it is cold, toxic or outdated, it can decrease productivity and put the health of your staff at risk. Renovations, in the long term, can be well worth it. But how do you keep your business going while work is taking place? You manage things well.

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Get the Right Help

The first thing that you need to do is to make sure you hire the right team. The people working on your business need to understand your needs. They need to communicate well throughout the process so that you know what is going on at all times, and they need to work quickly, and efficiently, sticking to a budget and minimizing downtime for your business.

Schedule Some Time Off

If you can, scheduling some time off can be the ideal solution. Even if you need to keep working, and stay close to supervise the renovations, you could give some of your team some time off, and reduce everyone’s workload while work is taking place.

Schedule Work

There might also be work that you can automate or schedule before you have to move out of the office. Another option is outsourcing jobs to freelancers and other companies.

Consider Remote Working Options

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to work away from the office. Use the internet, and cloud storage to allow your team to work from home, or from alternative locations as much as possible. This can be effective as long as you take the time to get everything set up before you leave the office, and that you keep communication, and perhaps even meeting in co-working spaces and other locations while you are out of the office.

Invest in Your Online Services

So, you can’t get into your office to do your core job for a little while. Might this be a fantastic opportunity to focus on other areas of your business? Could you invest the time in your website and other online services, or to branch out in other directions? See it as a chance to grow and evolve, and not an excuse to take it easy.

Minimize Meetings

If you know that you’ve got a renovation coming up, try to schedule client meetings away from these times. If you can’t, offer to go to them, or arrange meetings in a neutral space.