Category Archives: Reduce stress in the workplace

Tips for a stress free Christmas when you run your own business

How to have a calm Christmas holiday

The Christmas holidays are almost here again and when you run your own business the thought of the holidays looming can fill you with dread wondering how you’re going to juggle everything. You have work to manage, presents and food to buy, possibly more than one over-excited small person and family and friends to squeeze in, which can all lead to a rather stressful time!

A busy time of year!

A busy time of year!

Let’s face it most of us started our own business so that we can manage that work/life balance better so this should also apply this time of year.  With a bit of careful planning, you can have the best of both worlds and keep your clients and your family and friends happy. Below I share some of my tips for a stress-free Christmas:

  1. Plan ahead by scheduling
    Schedule all you can before the holiday starts such as newsletters, social media and blogs. Hootsuite is great for social media and for newsletters you can use Mailchimp’s own scheduling system
  2. Delegate
    Outsource and/or delegate where you can to other members of staff or to a virtual assistant
  3. Communicate
    Let your clients know in advance when you’ll be out of the office and ask them to send you any work in advance so you can complete it in time

    Plan ahead for the school holiday

               Plan ahead for the holiday

  4. Be flexible with your hours
    If you can, occasionally work in the evenings to catch up, but don’t overdo it
  5. Prioritise
    Prioritise any important work so that it’s done early and leaves you less stressed
  6. Use your out of office
    Use your email and phone out-of-office to inform people when you’ll be available and stick to it! Point people to your website and in particular your FAQs to keep inquiries to a minimum.  Don’t forget to remove your out of office messages when you return after Christmas
  7. Don’t be proud
    If you have friends and family that have offered to help then don’t be too proud to accept it
  8. Keep an eye on your workload
    If you’re able to afford it try not to take on any new clients until Christmas is over

    Spend precious time with the family and have a rest

    Spend precious time with the family and                                 have a rest

  9. Spend time with your family
    Lastly and most importantly, this is a magical time of year so make time for yourself and enjoy the precious time with your family and friends.

    Have a wonderful Christmas. Get more of my business tips over on my Facebook page

Surviving the school summer holidays

Don’t stress during the school holiday

The summer holidays are almost here again and when you run your own business the thought of the holidays looming can fill you with dread wondering how you’re going to juggle everything. You have work to manage and possibly more than one small person demanding your full attention which can all lead to a rather stressful time.

Survive the school holidays

           Plan well to avoid stress

Let’s face it most of us started our own business so that we can manage our work/life balance better so this should also apply to the holidays.  With a careful bit of planning, you can have the best of both worlds and keep your clients and your children happy. Below I share some of my tips for a stress-free holiday…

  1. Plan ahead by scheduling
    Schedule all you can before the holiday starts such as newsletters, social media and blogs. HootSuite is great for social media and for newsletters I highly recommend Mailchimp’s own scheduling system
  2. Delegate
    Outsource and/or delegate where you can to other members of staff or to a virtual assistant
  3. Communicate
    Let your clients know in advance if you’re going away on holiday and ask them to send you any work in advance so you can complete it in time

    Plan ahead for the school holiday

               Plan ahead for the school holiday

  4. Be flexible with your hours
    If you can, occasionally work in the evenings to catch up, but don’t overdo it
  5. Prioritise
    Prioritise any important work so that it’s done early and leaves you less stressed
  6. Use your out of office
    Use your email and phone out of office to inform people when you’ll be available. Point people to your website and in particular your FAQs to keep inquiries to a minimum.  Don’t forget to remove your out of office messages when you return after the holidays
  7. Don’t be proud
    If you have friends and family that have offered to help with childcare then don’t be too proud to accept it
  8. Keep an eye on your workload
    If you’re able to afford it try not to take on any new clients until the holidays are over
  9. Spend time with your family
    Lastly and most importantly make time for yourself and enjoy the precious time with your family. Remember, everyone is entitled to a holiday even when you run your own business so don’t feel guilty about some downtime. 
    Have a wonderful Summer
    .Get more of my business tips over on my Facebook pageNeed a hand with your business so you can have a stress free holiday?  See how I can help

 

 

Would you take your dog to work?

Tails in the workplace

We all know that a dog is man’s best friend but would you trust him (the dog not the man!) at your place of work? I have grown up with dogs in the family and have missed not having one into my adulthood.  As a strong advocate of dogs I know a lot about them, most of us know they are great to help us exercise, are loyal, great company and put a smile on our faces. I wasn’t fully aware, however, of how they can help ease stress. 

When my son was very poorly in hospital I didn’t think I’d ever see him smile again until onto the ward strolled a beautiful golden retriever dog called Narla.  She came up to my son with her wagging tail and lovely big brown eyes and my son instantly stroked her and smiled!  It was the happiest I’d seen him in a long time and I believe she genuinely helped him to feel more cheerful.  Even the rest of family felt lifted by Narla’s visit.

 Look at that Smile! (Photo copyright of Lighthouse Virtual Assistant)

We learnt that Narla (named after Aslan’s daughter from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) was a PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog.  She was one of the many dogs from the national Pets As Therapy Charity who goes into hospitals, nursing and care homes and special needs schools. They also work with stroke patients, people who may have dog phobias and even help children to gain more confidence with their reading in the classroom environment.  The dogs give people a chance to stroke, talk and hold one of these lovely natured animals.

At the time of meeting Narla we didn’t have a dog but have since gained two extra four legged, fluffy family members and my son and daughter both have a very special bond with them. For me, just walking our dogs daily before I start work really helps set my mind on the tasks ahead for the day.

I started to wonder, after my chance meeting with Narla, how dogs could help stress levels at work especially in today’s world where everything seems so fast paced.  After a bit of online research I found an article about a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health and Management which discovered that job satisfaction increased when dogs were allowed to be present in the workplace. 

Randolph Barker (great name, very apt!), lead study author and professor of management at the VCU School of Business, said dogs can make a positive difference in the workplace: 

“The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”

My two love the fact they can lounge around in my office all day!

      My two love the fact they can lounge around in my office all day!

Prof Barker said having dogs around the workplace may contribute to employee performance and satisfaction.

And he reported positive comments from employees such as “pets in the workplace can be a great bonus for employee morale”, “having dogs here is great stress relief” and “dogs are positive; dogs increase co-worker cooperation.”

Obviously dogs at work are not always appropriate depending on the environment and they need to be well behaved – you don’t want him mistaking your bosses favourite pot plant for his toilet! But it is interesting that people feel animals can help us in boosting morale and reduce the impact of everyday stresses.  I’m certainly won over after meeting Narla!

Find out more about Pets As Therapy Charity and Professor Barker’s research.

 If you’re not fortunate enough to take man’s best friend into your office see if I can help ease your stress levels by reducing your daily workload.

Update: After writing this blog I tweeted it and the Pets as Therapy Charity kindly re-tweeted and gave the response below – such a pleasure to help a great cause:

Pets as therapy