Do what you like. Find something you enjoy.

With our mental health at the forefront of many peoples minds at the moment, I, and I would like to think many others often wonder how the top business people manage to keep themselves mentally healthy and stress free.

I guess it is not really being stress free, but how you deal with your stress that matters.

We all have stress, and in fact do require a certain amount of stress, but what do some of the top business people do to destress? You will find out some of those answers here.

Stress affects all of us sometimes. According to the NHS, work, relationships, and money problems are some of the most common triggers.

When you have a lot going on at work, it can get even harder to focus. This can result in a build up of more work you haven’t been able to concentrate on, thus causing a vicious cycle of a more stress.

CEOs and founders of big companies have all gone through stressful moments like everyone else, and they all have different ways of dealing with the tough times.

Here are how some of the most successful people in the world have learned to unwind after years of managing the stress that comes with running a global business.

1. Bill Gates reads before he goes to bed

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates likes to read before bed. He told The Seattle Times he reads for at least an hour, no matter how late it is.

Gates has also taken a lot of advice from Warren Buffett over the years. In an interview with Fortune magazine, Gates said something he learned from Buffett was to keep things simple.

“His ability to boil things down, to just work on the things that really count, to think through the basics — it’s so amazing that he can do that. It’s a special form of genius.”

In other words, strip away all the fuss and it’s easier to focus on the task at hand.

2. Tim Cook tunes out the cynics

After receiving an honorary degree from The University of Glasgow, Apple CEO Tim Cook advised students to stay positive and tune out a lot of the noise you’ll come up against in life. Listening to everyone all the time is incredibly stressful.

“In today’s environment, the world is full of cynics and you have to tune them out,” he said. “Because if not, they become a cancer in your mind, in your thinking, and you begin thinking that you can’t or that life is negative.”

3. Meg Whitman goes fly-fishing

Meg Whitman has had an amazing career at several massive companies, including P&G, eBay, and now Hewlett-Packard. In an interview with Fast Company, Whitman mentioned her love of fly-fishing. She and her son go about six times every year.

According to research from the University of California’s Merced campus, engaging in leisure activities can provide immediate stress relief, and can also have other health benefits. Research from the National Library of Medicine also showed regular leisure activity can manage negative feelings such as stress.

4. Warren Buffet plays the ukulele

Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors in the world, is a man of many hobbies. He enjoys playing the ukulele, and has even performed on live news.

The study from the University of California, Merced, also found engaging in a mentally stimulating activity such as learning an instrument can help reduce stress.

5. Sheryl Sandberg turns off her phone at night

For Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, it isn’t so much about what she does, but what she doesn’t do. She tries to stop herself scrolling through social media or reading emails at night by turning her phone off.

She told USA Today it’s painful to switch off, but she gets the benefits of not being disturbed throughout the night. After all, a better night’s sleep makes it a lot easier to deal with stressful situations the morning after.

Looking at our laptop and phone screens late at night is very bad for us, according to research which has shown the light can prevent our bodies from releasing a hormone called melatonin which helps us sleep. Basically, the less screen time at night, the more your body clock will thank you.

6. Jack Dorsey sticks to a schedule

In an interview with Forbes, Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey said the way he deals with having a lot on his plate is by having a schedule, and sticking to it.

Dorsey likes to compartmentalise tasks for certain days of the week. Mondays are for meetings, Tuesdays are for developing products, Wednesdays are for marketing tasks, Thursdays are for networking, and Fridays are for building company culture. Saturday he can take a break, but it all starts up again on Sunday, which is recruitment day.

“I think generally stress comes from things that are unexpected,” Dorsey told Forbes. “The more you can set a cadence around what you do and the more ritual and the more consistency you can build in your schedule, the less stress you’re going to have.”

According to New York Magazine, Dorsey also goes for a 10km run every morning.

7. Susan Wojcicki makes time for family holidays

For YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, managing stress is all about taking enough time off for herself. She spoke on Today about the importance of properly addressing her family life before returning to work.

“I think it’s really important to take time off,” she said, “I’ve also found that sometimes you get really good insights by taking time off, too.”

8. Elon Musk faces his fears head-on

In 2008, the worldwide economy wasn’t looking good. Car companies were going bankrupt, and Tesla was struggling. CEO Elon Musk was also going through a divorce at the time. However, he managed to get through it and thrive, making calm, collected decisions along the way.

So what was his secret? At the Dublin Web Summit in 2013, he explained how it’s all to do with fear, and that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs just aren’t afraid to fail.

“Fear is finite, hope is infinite. We are afraid of failing, but it doesn’t stop us from trying,” he said. “People should certainly ignore fear if it’s irrational. Even if it’s rational and the stake is worth it, it’s still worth proceeding.”

9. Indra Nooyi focuses on self-confidence

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi learned her confidence and work ethic at a young age. She told Business Insider that every night at the dinner table, her mother would challenge her and her sister to write a speech about what they would do if they were prime minister or president. Every day it would be a different world leader they would have to pretend to be, and Nooyi’s mother would vote for either her or her sister.

Nooyi’s grandfather, a charismatic judge, also helped her confidence. If she was unable to do something, he would make her write “I will not make excuses” 200 times on a piece of paper.

All of this fuelled Nooyi on to achieve a successful career, and she reminds herself of everything she is capable of if things get stressful.

“In my heart I said, ‘I can do this better than anyone else can, and if everything else fails, they’re going to come to me and say, ‘Fix it,’ because I know I’m that good,” she told Business Insider. “Remember, I could be president of India!”

10. Jeff Bezos laughs a lot

“In my particular case, I laugh a lot,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in an interview with Academy of Achievement.

He also said a large part of feeling stressed is ignoring things that you shouldn’t be ignoring.

“Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have some control over,” he said. “I find as soon as I identify it, and make the first phone call, or send off the first e-mail message, or whatever it is that we’re going to do to start to address that situation — even if it’s not solved — the mere fact that we’re addressing it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.”

In other words, identify the problem, take control of it, and move forward.

Let’s not overcomplicate your de-stressing activity. If you find something that works, stick to it and enjoy it. Even if it might appear mundane, it might just be what you need. As long as you enjoy it and it works, what more can you ask.

Love to hear what you all do to destress.

What makes you a leader

Leadership is about people, it has nothing to do with any title. Anyone disagree?

Being a leader is not easy. Every individual is different from the other and come from different background, and has different thought process. This is one reason why some people shy away from more senior positions which require more leadership. Leadership is a skill that can be learnt and like any skill, some people will initially be better at it than others.

So leadership is all about understanding people.

So-called leadership titles like, “CEO”, “VP”, “GM”, etc., only show their power over others.If you want to be a true leader, you must inspire your employees through your actions.

As John Quincy Adams said,

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

The world doesn’t need the bosses, it needs leaders who understand their jobs — and the job of a leader is to grow more leaders.There’s no blueprint to become a good leader, it’s a step-by-step process.

But here are some traits which can help you to become a good leader.

1. Be Your Own Leader

Everything starts with YOU. If you cannot lead yourself, then you can never lead anyone else. Self-leadership is the greatest challenge for anyone as a leader.

Spend quiet time with yourself to know yourself. Discover who you are, what you want to achieve, and how will you get it.

Learn from your experiences, develop self discipline and take action. Always stay connected with people and look for opportunities because this adds to our knowledge.

A successful leader doesn’t move without practical definite plans. They plan their work and work their plan.

“A self-leader looks around for problems, and then thinks deep to device solutions to them.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

2. Value Every Relationship

A true leader focuses on people, not power.
Don’t become a title-driven leader, be a relationship-driven leader.

You can’t lead people unless you value every relationship and understand them.

If you’re talking to your employee, no matter what’s his/her job profile (whether he’s janitor or a junior member), always remember that there is a person behind that job profile — they’re more than a tool and resource.

So always try to add some value in their life.

“Your words and deeds must match if you expect employees to trust in your leadership.” 
— Kevin Cruise

3. Say ‘Thank You’ to Your Employees
Two simple words have the power to motivate and inspire your employees and make them feel great — Thank You. Appreciation and gratitude go a long way to leadership success.

Your team helps you accomplish a goal, give the credit to them, and let them shine.
When you say thank you, it represents that you’re truly a grateful person. Your every employee makes a difference.

When employees feel valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to do great work for your company. Make it a habit to say thank you.

Remember, great leaders claim none of the honors.

Harvey Mackay said it best:

“A smart manager will establish a culture of gratitude. Expand the appreciative attitude to suppliers, vendors, delivery people, and of course, customers.”

4. Encourage People to Do Their Job
“Terry, you did a great job of dealing with client this morning. Keep up the good work.”

This simple line has a great power to encourage employees like Terry to do their best work.

It costs you nothing, but the results can be enormous.

Successful leader praises his team by telling them that they are doing great work.

Most of the people don’t work only for money, they do it because they believe that their work matters.

Share your vision and mission with them and ask for their inputs. Motivated people are excited about their job and perform well.

“As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however, I am very caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.” — Indra Nooyi
5. Always Be a Good Listener
Always listen what your team members want to say. What are their ideas and suggestions, even if you don’t like it.

Don’t just hear, but genuinely listen to them. The door to the office of the real leader is open to all who wish to enter. Employees want a leader who cares about them. Put yourself in their shoes.

Your listening skills determine the quality of your influence. A true leader is never too busy to connect and maintain a solid relationship with his team.

As Napoleon Hill said,

“People may follow the forced leadership temporarily, but they will not do so willingly.”

6. Be a Person of Values

“your job gives you authority, but your actions earns you respect.”
Leadership calls for respect.

Don’t become that leader who is not loyal to his associates.Lack of honesty, loyalty, and ethics are the major causes of failure in your personal and professional life.

Don’t just work on improving your success rate, you must work on improving your personality and value rate. It’s not the size of your office which makes you a great leader — your values and character does.

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”
Take a minute and think about the values that matter most to you.

I would love to hear your thoughts and views on leadership and if there are any other steps you would like to add or replace.

How Massage Treatments Improve Mental Health

We are getting ever so close to Mental Health month and there are few better ways to acknowledge mental health month than being hands on(excuse the pun) and having a massage therapist come to your workplace. Even if each of your staff receive a 10 minute seated massage, it can make a world of difference to their day with regard to mood and productivity.

Massages have countless benefits.

Massaging your body can help fight diseases and reduce overall stress.

Massage is known to improve circulation among other great benefits.

A lot of people don’t know that massage treatments can improve mental health as well.

If you are working hard and under stress(as we all are, whether we realise it or not) it is a wonderful feeling of having a seated massage at work to unwind you and really lift your spirits for the rest of the day.

Read on to find out how and why it works.

1. Massages reduce anxiety and depression.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Massages, particularly deep-tissue treatments, effectively reduce levels of cortisol in the body. They encourage the body to enter deep relaxation, improving circulation and enabling tension points to release.This can lower blood pressure and reduce heart rates.These physical effects can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which can get worse with stress and accumulated tension.

2. Massages improve sleep and immune system support.
Massage treatments improve a body’s circulation. Good circulation is essential to a strong immune system. Reducing levels of stress hormones in the body is also a good way to prevent future illness or sickness.The deep physical and mental relaxation that massages induce are likely to improve sleep cycles. The body’s ability to relax is directly related to its ability to achieve healthy, deep sleep.

3. Released endorphins can have the same effect as meditation or exercise.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are associated with feelings of pain, intense joy, and physical pleasure.These are released during exercise and meditation. They are also released during massages. As the body relaxes during a treatment, it is more likely to produce endorphins. This can result in an elevated mood, greater happiness, and further relaxation.

4. Human touch is key to mental health.
Basic human touch can similarly release endorphins and feelings of contentment in the body. This is why it feels good to hug people we love or indicate affection through touch. Massage treatments involve direct touch therapy. This connection further serves to elevate mood and improve mental well-being.

5. Massages prevent long-term issues.
There are many different types of massages.

No matter what type you choose, your treatment is meant to address the smaller issues in order to prevent long-term ones.For example, getting a massage to focus on lower back pain is a great way to prevent further back trauma or injury. Treating massages and mental health, in the same way, has identical results. Using massage as a way to reduce anxiety will prevent future long-term mental health issues.

Other positive mental emotions you may experience after a massage include:
Clarity of mind
Increased energy
Decreased stress levels
Increased creativity
Increased rational thinking
Increased body awareness and general consciousness.
Blissful, mental state
A new sense of purpose
A great sense of personal satisfaction and achievement
Relaxed state
Wouldn’t it be great to have these feeling and emotions pumping throughout your body while you are at work, even if it only once in a while, at your workplace?

Conclusion

Massages reduce levels of cortisol in the body, releasing endorphins and boosting the immune system.
All of these positive physical effects are directly related to mental health. People are less likely to lose sleep, be anxious or depressed, or experience chronic pain if they are experiencing the positive physical effects of massage therapy.

I am not saying it is the be all and end all and will cure you all, but it can be, and should be used with other wellbeing activities.

However, don’t underestimate the value of being pampered during the day, at work, where you are maybe taking 20 minutes out of your day to feel great and re-energised.

Step away from the desk. Take a break for lunch.

Getting away from your desk at lunchtime seems to be an ever-increasing difficulty. I mean, who can take a break when there are so many deadlines, and it is just as easy to eat food while replying to emails?

Common ‘justifications’ for mindlessly swallowing food while working are:

“I’m too busy.”

“I need to finish a report.”

“I’ve got too much to do.”

“I’m so behind.”

“I have to have this ready for a meeting this afternoon.”

“My inbox is sooooooo full.”

Have you ever heard yourself say these statements? We all have.

Some interesting research that ING Direct found in regards to this topic was:

The typical Aussie lunch break is between 15-30 minutes.
28% of people habitually eat at their desk.
33% are skipping lunch entirely once or more a week.
10% work through their lunch break.
7% used their break for unrelated work activities such as personal admin, phone calls or shopping.
22% is unaccounted for in this survey.
Richard Denniss from The Australian Institute says company culture often contributes to employees spending lunch at their desk. “In many workplaces, being seen to be sitting at your desk has become an important indicator of your commitment to your job,” he says.

“But it’s quite clear that people working in that way are not at their most productive. They’re not at their most creative. They’re not at their most communicative. And in the long run, the best staff will leave. It’s a very short-term indicator of a productive workplace, to confuse not taking lunch with everything going well.”

So why is it important to take a lunch break?

Recharge your brain’s capacity – by giving your brain time to rest and recharge, your coping abilities will increase, as will your emotional intelligence, decision-making skills, memory and focus.

Improve physical health – by stepping away from work and nourishing your body, you will improve digestion, impact blood pressure, and improve sleep.

Stress management – it is impossible for anyone to work every minute of every day without eventually burning out. Taking breaks has a big impact on your ability to deal with work and life stress.
Increase afternoon energy levels – if you experience that 2-3pm energy slump then taking a lunch break can make a real difference to how you feel and how much work you get through during the afternoon.

Enjoyment – one in three people who were surveyed by The Australian Institute said lunch breaks made their day more enjoyable. When professionals enjoy their work it leads to a happier, more productive workplace.

Beyond Blue CEO Kate Carnell says, “it is time to reclaim the lunchbreak otherwise your physical and your mental health suffers, as does your productivity. Eating at your desk means you’re not getting the activity you need, you’re not getting up, you’re not getting circulation moving and it’s found that inactivity, sitting in one place for prolonged periods of time, is really not good for either your physical or your mental health.”

6 Ways To Make The Most of Your Lunch Break

Something is better than nothing – even if it can only be for 15mins. If you haven’t taken a proper lunch break for a while, start by taking one a week for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. Once you are comfortable with the fact that you are still staying on top of your work, then add a second one.

Natural light – getting outside into the natural light will have noticeable physical and mental benefits for you. Sunlight plays a part in releasing melatonin, which controls our daily day-night cycle (called our circadian rhythm). When this works well we have more energy in the day and can sleep better at night.

Set an alarm – put a recurring appointment in your calendar so this recharge time is scheduled and you don’t accidentally work though it.

Digital detox – leave your phone/iPad charging in the office so you can recharge your brain instead. Don’t use this precious time to catch up on your social media feed. Give your brain a break from all stimulation so you reap the rewards for the afternoon.

Make it social – find a friend or eat together as a group. By listening and learning and laughing with your colleagues in a casual environment encourages better working relationships.

Get out and Active – Get involved and sign up for a lunchtime activity/fitness group(yoga, bootcamp, running, fitness boxing) with your friends or colleagues. A Create a social sporting group or do it on your own. Either way, as long as you are out and active you will reap the benefits of increased productivity and concentration for the rest of the day.

Does online assessing do its job?

Hiring managers need to make sure online application assessments act as an effective resource to finding qualified candidates as opposed to a barrier that eliminates potential talent.

Most people have had the experience of taking an online assessment or test as part of a job application. No matter the industry and position, the format is often familiar. The applicant is asked questions covering everything under the sun about how they would rate their work performance and ability to work well with others, and then they are asked those same questions again in different ways. The answers are usually multiple choice and the assessments can take as long as 20 minutes to complete or sometimes, take several hours and days to finish for the most intensive online screening tests.

A great majority of companies use assessments as key parts of their application. They’re designed to be an unbiased way to narrow down the applicant pool to a more manageable number.

But hiring managers who work for companies that utilise these assessments need to ask themselves a few questions: Do you know what questions are asked on that test? Have you taken it? Can you pass it?

Many hiring managers and talent acquisition staff have never seen some of the questions they ask job candidates, and in many cases, they would be the first to fail these tests. The reality is that online tests and assessments have become an out of sight, out of mind tool for HR teams. Hiring managers know these tests exist as part of their company’s application process but that might be the extent of their knowledge.

In the job market of years past, companies could get by with this type of practice. Unemployment was high post-recession, and there were plenty of applicants to every position. Companies had the upper hand and could be choosy and select the best person available.

With unemployment staying relatively low in 2018, jobseekers and employees are beginning to wield the power. They can be selective where they choose to apply and whom they want to work with. Meanwhile employers are struggling to find talent.

Employers and hiring managers need to scrutinise things they didn’t have to scrutinise before. They may need to take a hard look at the online pre-screening assessment tests, which may be inadvertently costing the company highly skilled and talented future employees.

How to Stay on Top

Companies lose otherwise qualified candidates for a variety of reasons in the application process, but they frequently lose them at the assessment stage. Jobseekers exit out of the process if they view the test as too lengthy or time consuming. They also bail on a company if the assessment content is not perceived as relevant or if that content startles them.

Think of a forklift operator applying for that job who takes an assessment with nothing but sales related questions, even if the job description did not mention sales at all. Believe it or not, this type of thing happens all the time. This jobseeker thinks they may be applying to the wrong position and leaves the application. Or even worse, they think the company may not have their act together thus damaging the company’s brand in the process.

So how can hiring managers and companies capture the talent they may be losing because of candidate drop-off in the online assessment process? A good start is by following these three best practices:

Know what is on the test. Many talent acquisition personnel have no idea what content or questions are on their current online assessment. The best companies have assessments that their personnel are familiar with and that relate to key characteristics that successful workers should have at that company.

Do not have a test just to have a test. Involve hiring managers and talent acquisition personnel in the design of this tool to make it more effective. Every individual responsible for hiring at a company should know what is being asked of applicants.

Keep the length of your test under control. Are you getting enough qualified candidates? If a company’s online assessment takes too long to complete, they could lose many great people.

A hiring manager may say, “Well for our company, if that jobseeker doesn’t want to invest the time to complete this, then we don’t want them.” But the job market is changing. Employers have had the upper hand for quite some time, but the unemployment rate is low and forecasted to get even lower

There is going to come a time where companies are going to need those qualified jobseekers who do not want to spend half a day completing an online quiz. There is a happy medium, but employers need to be vigilant so that top talent doesn’t take flight over something this trivial.

Do you really care? Are you sure?. What do I mean by that? As an example, I work with jobseekers with disabilities with applications, interview preparation, and everything in between. When applying online, nearly all the online tests list either a 1-800 number or an email address that people with disabilities can reach out to if they need assistance or help with the application/assessment.

Shockingly, though, a large percentage of these 1-800 numbers are either non-functional or they lead to an impersonal, confusing answering machine. After all of these missteps, the final insult is that oftentimes those messages left by jobseekers with disabilities are either not monitored by anybody or they are never returned.

I challenge you to test your company’s 1-800 numbers and email addresses. Individuals with disabilities are the largest untapped labor pool in the United States. If they were to apply to your company, have an issue that required assistance and get an impersonal response, they might exit out of the application and choose a company that really cares.

Online application assessments are here to stay. They can be valuable and helpful tool for all parties if given the attention that they deserve. As a hiring manager though, it’s your job to make sure they act as an effective resource to finding qualified candidates as opposed to a barrier that eliminates potential talent.

12 eating tips for the busy professional

Busy professionals cannot waste a single second of their day. Our bodies need energy to keep moving at that pace. If you often work through lunch and go hours without even breaking for a snack, you may have difficulty concentrating and getting results from the work you’re putting in.

There are a few things you can do to keep yourself healthy while you’re powering through your day. Just a few simple changes can make a big difference in your energy levels, as well as your overall health.

1. Don’t skip breakfast.
As you’re running out the door for your early-morning meeting, the last thing you’re thinking about is stopping for breakfast. But breakfast skipping has been linked with an increase in obesity and diabetes risks, as well as morning moodiness. Here are a few quick, healthy breakfast ideas you can put together at home or once you arrive at the office.

2. Make it convenient.
You likely find you have little time to stop by the grocery store, especially during the workweek. Bring or have fresh food from local farmers directly to home or office. Create snack pouches on hand when you want a snack.

3. Prepare in advance.
One of the best things you can do is prepare snacks and meals for your day before you leave in the morning, especially if you’ll be working through lunch. But what if there is rarely time to put a meal together in the morning? You can solve this problem by setting time aside over the weekend to prepare snacks and meals for the week. Purchase plastic containers/tupperwares that can be refrigerated or frozen and picked up each morning on the way out the door.

4. Invest in grab-and-go snacks.
Look around your office. If there’s nothing to snack on, you may find yourself shrugging off your hunger for hours or—worse—heading down the hall to the vending machine. Purchase healthy snack-size foods like boxes of raisins or healthy granola bars. Blue Diamond 100-calorie Almond Packs are a great way to get the many health benefits of almonds without eating an entire bag.

5. Don’t eat and work.
Multitasking has been proven to be disastrous to the waistline. Instead of distractedly munching on a salad while you’re working on a proposal, set your work aside and focus completely on your meal. Better yet, take your lunch outside on a nice day and combine the benefits of fresh air with savouring your food. You’ll have a more pleasurable eating experience and return to your desk feeling refreshed.

6. Eat and meet.
While distracted eating may be bad, socialising has its health benefits. Schedule lunch meetings as often as possible to make sure you get a good midday meal in. You could use the opportunity to take team members offsite to get their ideas, meet with clients, or network with local colleagues.

7. Stay hydrated.
Whether you like the taste of it or not, water is an important part of good health. Consider having an in-office water cooler to make it easy for you and your team members to stay hydrated throughout the day. If this isn’t a possibility, keep a small refrigerator in your office to hold bottled water.

8. Choose healthy options at restaurants.
Eating out is inevitable for a busy professional, but you don’t have to settle for greasy fast food options. Almost all restaurant chains have healthy dining options to attract health-conscious customers. To play it safe, stick with grilled instead of fried and choose sides like fruits, soups, and salads over fries or onion rings.

9. Make family dinners a priority.
Evening meals are an important time for families. Make sure you’re home every evening in time to share a leisurely meal with your spouse or your family. If you’re single, schedule regular get-togethers with friends where you enjoy a healthy meal. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

10. Grocery shop wisely.
Experts recommend spending most of your time in the outer sections of the grocery store when shopping for food. Produce, dairy, meats, poultry, and eggs should make up the majority of your shopping time, keeping you away from the packaged, preservative-filled foods in the centre aisles.

11. Choose quality.
Make sure most of your diet includes nutrient-dense foods that let you accomplish more with less. Avoid sugar and empty calories and instead focus on making sure each snack and meal packs as much punch as possible. Remember, you’re going for fuelling your body and mind so you can accomplish more.

12. Limit alcohol.
As tempting as it can be to indulge in a happy hour drink after work, it’s one of the worst ways to add calories to your diet. While the occasional drink or two won’t hurt, it’s important to moderate your alcohol consumption, especially if the rest of your diet is severely lacking.

If you take care of your mind and body, you’ll find you’re more productive and have more energy throughout the day. You’ll also keep yourself healthy, which will allow you to avoid visits to the doctor and ongoing illnesses. When you take care of yourself, it is not just your health that benefits — your business will to.

Burned out, engaged or disengaged. Can you see the difference?

With the year ticking on, we do tend to get into that familiar cycle of working and dedicating ourselves to our jobs. Fair enough I say. It is after all a large part of our day and keeps us surviving.

But can we be doing this too much and becoming overzealous and not realising that our work is suffering from “the law of diminishing returns”? Where does the line for the engaged worker end and the burned out worker begin? Or where does the disengaged worker fit into all of this?

Engaged employees drive real business results. Engaged employees are energised, enthusiastic
and focused. They enjoy their work, help boost productivity, performance and growth.
Ultimately, engagement is good for people and for business.

AFTER ALL, COMPANIES WITH ENGAGED EMPLOYEES ARE:

78% MORE PROFITABLE
40% MORE PRODUCTIVE
5X LESS LIKELY TO HAVE A SAFETY INCIDENT
2.5X STOCK PRICE GROWTH THAT OF PEERS

Engagement isn’t reserved for specialty jobs with mind-blowing benefits and an
exceptional pay check. It’s totally possible to be engaged in any role, at any level. Anyone
can love what they do and be truly excited about their work.

But can there be too much of a good thing?

Definitely.

FOSTERING AN ENGAGED WORKFORCE

Engaged employees feel a deep connection and sense of purpose at work that creates extra
energy and commitment. It’s obvious why employers want to foster engagement, but it’s a
challenge to know exactly how to do this. After all, employee engagement is currently hovering
around 32 percent and has remained low for the past two decades.

THE MISSING LINK: WELL-BEING

Employee well-being drives engagement, and vice versa. When employees are engaged in their
work, they feel good and live with a sense of purpose.

Employees with higher well-being are twice as likely to be engaged in their jobs.
These employees enjoy their teams more, are more loyal and recommend their company as
a great place to work.

When employees have high well-being AND feel supported by their organisation, it’s a win for everyone.

WELL-BEING-ENGAGEMENT

Well-being and engagement are statistically related, but exactly why is unknown. Do people with higher well-being handle stress better? Or do they have a stronger sense of purpose at work?

AUTHENTICALLY SUPPORTING EMPLOYEES

The best way to foster employee engagement and well-being is to support employees. The best way to support employees is to focus on managers. Managers are the most important way employees feel supported by their organisation.

Most employees say their immediate managers matter more than C-suite leadership when it comes to well-being support. But often, managers don’t understand how to talk with their employees
about well-being.

And it’s not just about well-being. Managers play a big role in employee engagement. In fact, they account for up to 70 percent of variance in employee engagement. Employees who rate their manager as excellent are five times more engaged than employees who rate their manager as poor.

STRENGTHENING MANAGERS

Managers play a critical role in ensuring employees have a great experience. They’re not only responsible for the career path of the employee, they’re responsible for bringing the company values and culture to life.

Now that we know managers help foster employee engagement and well-being, the next step is to help managers understand how to do this.

A great place to start is with an understanding of the strongest drivers of engagement,
including:

• I like my work and have challenging
but achievable goals
• I give my work my all and have a
reasonable number of hours
• I’m realising my potential and
learning new things
• I’m able to use my greatest strengths
and my abilities fit well with my role
• I feel valued and respected
• I feel like I’m making an impact
• I work a reasonable number of hours
and spend my time wisely
• My manager and organisation support me

Managers who strive to create these conditions for their employees will be more likely to have employees with high well-being and who are truly engaged.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

With a great culture, a supportive manager and a job that provides meaning and purpose,
employees are more likely to feel engaged at work. This is when employees really thrive.
But it’s a fine line. Highly engaged employees are at risk for burnout because its not
possible to sustain high levels of engagement over time.
Burnout is a prolonged exposure to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on
the job.

It’s defined by:

INEFFICACY: I’m not making a difference
CYNICISM: I’m so fed up, I just don’t care anymore
EXHAUSTION:I’m so tired

Burnout results in low productivity and high turnover — especially turnover of the most
talented and productive employees.

BURNED OUT

In order to be burned out at work, an employee has to be highly engaged. The employee has to be all in and care deeply to get to the point of feeling burned out. This means that top
performing, highly engaged employees are at the highest risk for burnout. And these are the
employees that employers can’t afford to lose.

Burnout happens when a highly engaged employee begins to have low well-being without
any support from their manager or organisation or they aren’t able to resolve it for themselves.

Sadly, this is a result of the pressure and lack of support from the employer.

Most companies think of burnout as a personal issue because it shows up so differently for each person who is experiencing the cycle of exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy. The reality is that burnout is really an organisational issue.

HERE ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF BURNOUT:
• Overload — workload and time
• Pressure
• Role conflict and ambiguity
• Lack of support from managers
• Lack of feedback
• Lack of participation in decision making
• Lack of fairness and equity
• Values disconnect
• A “broken” psychology contract

Burnout is associated with absenteeism, intention to leave the job and actual turnover. But for people who stay on the job, burnout leads to lower productivity and a negative impact on team members.

Often times, burnout is “contagious.” It can spread toxicity across a team or spillover into people’s home life.

PERSONAL:
• Lower productivity
• Stress-related health issues
• Increased substance abuse
• Can precipitate anxiety, depression and
decreases in self-esteem

ORGANISATIONAL:
• Reduced organisational commitment
• Absenteeism
• Intention to leave
• Actual turnover

BURNOUT VS DISENGAGEMENT

While both disengaged and burned out employees are at high risk for turnover, burnout is not the same as disengagement.

Disengaged employees don’t care about the work and the organisation. They’re not committed. They see work as just a job.

Prolonged burnout can result in an employee who is disengaged.

COMPARE THIS TO HOW SOMEONE FEELS WHEN THEY’RE ENGAGED.

BURNOUT
“I have cared so deeply for so long without a break from stress, that I have become depleted
and cynical.”

DISENGAGEMENT
“I have given everything to this job.”
“I am past the point of caring or I have never cared at all.”
“This is just a job.”

ENERGISED
“I am energiSed by and connected to this job, so much so that I get purpose from it.”
“This is way more than a job.”

TIPS FOR BATTLING BURNOUT

The good news is that burnout is preventable. With strong managers and an understanding of what causes burnout, employers can more readily prevent their top talent from burning out. Here are four ways to help prevent burnout today:

1. PROVIDE RECOVERY TIME
Everyone needs a break to recover. People rest their bodies after a workout but continue to push themselves to the limits at work. This is not only unproductive, it leads to burnout.

Managers should adjust workloads and be aware when someone has been going full throttle in overdrive for too long. That said, recovery time or breaks just help deal with the
symptoms of burnout but they don’t provide a real solution. Make sure managers focus on the root causes too.

2. FOSTER A WELL-BEING MINDSET
How people think about situations has an impact on their ability to handle and recover from them. What’s stressful to one person can be energising to another — it’s subjective. For some, stress is enhancing and exhilarating, while for others who have more negative association with stress, it’s debilitating. When you know how people think about stress, you can help them cope with it and prevent burnout. Have managers remind people to keep a positive outlook and ensure
employees are taking time to take care of themselves.

3. BUILD SOCIAL CONNECTIONS
People are wired to be social. The more we can rely on each other for support, the better off we are. In fact, social support positively relates to important factors that impact stress, health, well-being and engagement. Employers have the unique opportunity to foster community among employees by boosting team support and social networks. These social connections will
help employees get the support they need and help guard against burnout.

4. PURPOSE
Helping employees connect to their purpose is key for burnout prevention. When people have a real emotional connection to their work, they’re more connected to the company and their purpose. This helps put things into perspective when work gets hectic. One way to do this is to emphasise the ways in which an employee’s work makes other people’s lives a little bit better or easier. Communicate how an employee’s work is connected to the company’s mission and have clear goals to support employees in finding and staying connected to their purpose.

Live by your vision and values: Your workplace will take care of itself.

If we look at our companies like a family, how would you like to see it run?

Are you an autocratic parent or a little softer and easy-going.

By no means am I judging or would I ever pass judgement on your parenting style, I just want you to look at your workplace from your employees(children’s) view and see what it might be like.

Creating a human touch and bringing in a positive, supportive culture can rarely go wrong, if at all. After all, it is a lot easier to keep your staff, than having to find new staff.

Here are three points which can really create such a positive, proactive environment that your employees will not want to leave.

1. Put Employees First. Organisations that succeed put their own people first because they recognise that their employees are the key to creating long-term value. It’s not just giving employees free food. It’s feeding their souls and creating an environment where they can have an impact.

Listen to your employees to inform your culture. As Pinterest’s Head of Culture Cat Lee told me, “We created Pinterest by collaborating with our Pinners, and similarly we create our culture by collaborating with the people who are at Pinterest.”

Define your company values and connect daily work back to the mission. For example, freedom is one of the five values at Grokker. Every week we have Work-From-Home-Wednesday, and the whole company participates. We give employees the freedom to take care of themselves and their families, and in response they commit to the company.

2. Prioritise Employee Well-being. The more effectively leadership supports employee well-being, the more likely employees are to experience engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and positive energy at work. This in turn lowers stress and increases overall positive sentiment toward the company.

The cost of presenteeism — where employees show up for work but don’t perform at full capacity — is 10 times the cost of absenteeism, according to a Global Corporate Challenge report. Rather than focusing on how to keep employees from taking sick time, target productivity while employees are already at work by prioritising well-being.

Employees expect a wellness experience that is built into every work day, like nutrition awareness and exercise-friendly workplaces. You don’t even need to spend money to see impact. Employees who are able to take a break every 90 minutes report a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who get no breaks or only one. They also report a nearly 50 percent greater capacity to think creatively and a 46 percent higher level of health and wellbeing. Identify low-budget, high-impact ways to prioritise the wellness of your workforce. Companies can, for example, schedule 10-minute group stretch breaks at 10am and 2pm daily or stream a video to do together

3. Rethink the Employee Experience. IBM’s Employee Experience Index study found that employees with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm in their work are more likely to perform at higher levels and contribute “above and beyond” expectations for their performance — and are less likely to quit.

Move beyond perks and one-off engagement programs to create a seamless, holistic employee experience that inspires people to do their best work. Instead of thinking about how to solve specific problems, brainstorm ideas that focus on the greater goal: creating a powerful employee experience.

Here’s a very simple metric you can employ to measure your employee experience: Employee Net Promoter Score. Inspired by the gold-standard metric for consumer satisfaction, eNPS is used to understand employees’ overall engagement with the company. Have employees rate their feelings on the simple statement, “I would recommend my workplace to others” on a 10-point scale. Employees with 9+ ratings are generally considered promoters, while those with ratings ranging from 0-6 and 7-8 are labeled as detractors and passive, respectively. Use this formula: Employee net promoter score (eNPS) = % promoters – % detractors.

Research demonstrates that when we give our employees what they want — purpose, belonging and balance — the business sees success. Since 1998, the companies on the Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list have consistently outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by a ratio of almost two to one. There’s a reason the same companies consistently make these lists. They recognise that listening to their employees, putting their needs first and promoting their strengths and capabilities promotes happiness and produces results.

Presenteeism!! Are you into it?

It’s silent, elusive and lurking right around the corner. It often goes undetected – sneaking through the halls, under the radar, all the while eating away at the wellbeing and productivity of your organisation.

It’s presenteeism – and it’s a whole lot scarier than we think. In fact, one estimate puts the loss of productivity due to presenteeism at 10 times costlier than absenteeism. And i has been revealed that employees admit to an average 45.5 unproductive days each year– nearly three months’ worth of time.

While presenteeism, or “working while sick” as it was originally defined, is still largely linked to loss of productivity due to employee health and medical issues, the definition has broadened in recent years.

New workplace distractions, the demands of a digitised, warp-speed life at both home and work, and stress and anxiety stemming from financial challenges and the needs of family are among the most prevalent, added causes of presenteeism today. We’re checked out, stressed out and more disengaged than ever before.

At the core of an anti-presenteeism strategy should be the benefits and policies that understand and support the health and medical needs of your employees – both in treatment and prevention. But, there are many other areas where we can help combat the productivity-draining culprits we face at work today. Here are seven to consider:

1.Encourage your employees to prioritise sleep

There’s a lot of new – and alarming – sleep-related research being published today. From Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global sleep initiatives (note: add phone bed charging stations to list of employee holiday gifts this year) to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine going to American researchers’ work on the circadian rhythm, sleep talk is everywhere. We’re not sleeping enough, nor are we getting the quality of sleep our bodies and minds need to function – and live. Encourage employees to make use of sleep-related features on their wearables, and to check out the best new sleep apps.

2.Enable introspection

We run around crazy most days, multi-tasking at an unprecedented rate, and often prioritise the needs of everyone and everything else above our own. We’re not only short-circuiting our brains in the process, but losing sight of what really brings us fulfillment and joy. Consider asking employees to complete a simple, formal exercise at work to think introspectively about their purpose and what makes them feel rewarded at work and in life. Even if it’s a simple, 3-question quiz.

3.Put employee engagement at the top of the list

It’s all about employee engagement these days. And with good reason. Engaged employees make for happier, healthier individuals and more productive, profitable organisations. In fact, those with engaged employees bring in two and a half times the revenue vs. those with low engagement rates. Partner with leadership and other key stakeholders to devise a formal engagement strategy from the top down, focusing on company culture and brand, training and career development initiatives, job satisfaction and workplace wellness.

4. Train your managers about presenteeism – and prioritise their own wellbeing

Your managers are on the front lines. Not only do they need to be well – and engaged – to perform at their personal best, but also to have the mindset to identify presenteeism issues within their immediate teams. Add the health and wellbeing of your managers to your list of presenteeism priorities, and give them formal, regular training about its potential impact on individuals, their team and the company. Make sure they know what resources are available to them in facing the issue – and provide a clear process for managing and escalating – if needed – presenteeism issues.

5.Help employees boost their financial wellness
A 2016 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey revealed 52 percent of all workers are stressed about their finances and 46 percent spend three or more hours during the work week dealing with or thinking about financial issues. Those companies beginning to invest more in financial education and counselling for their employees are not only seeing higher productivity and engagement rates, but also greater employer loyalty.

6.Offer solutions for greater family wellbeing
The 2017 Care.com Cost of Care Survey revealed that 73 percent of working parents say their job has been affected because of child care plans falling through at the last minute, with 64 percent having to use sick days and 54 percent being late to work as a result. Eighty-five percent of respondents also said they wished their employer provided child care benefits. By providing family care benefits like backup care and senior care planning, employers can help ease worries, eliminate unnecessary distractions, and keep working parents not only physically present, but also productive.

7. Invite a little digital detox
With the support of leadership, create some company-wide recommendations for healthy phone etiquette at work. Maybe it’s instituting phone-free meetings or regular, fully unplugged social gatherings. Encourage employees to choose a regular, daily block of time in their work schedule where their phones aren’t just silenced, but out of sight in a desk drawer. Or, institute a formal, company-wide challenge: a 30-day digital detox,

While presenteeism is a scary issue for all employers, with the potential for serious productivity loss, there is hope. Unlike absenteeism, where employees aren’t even making it to work, presenteeism gives you a second chance to re-engage your present – though often times, drained and distracted – individuals. The number of programs and mechanisms your organisation can use to support and engage its employees only continues to grow. Find those that fit for your company – and start helping your employees out of the dark shadows of presenteeism.

Are we really that different with our corporate culture?

Australia, Great Britain and the U.S.A may all speak the same language, but that doesn’t mean the culture and customs of each nation are also the same. Work culture is one thing in particular which can vary quite a bit from country to country and there are some surprising differences between these particular three.

Whether you’re headed on a business trip to Sydney, transferring to London, spending a year or two working in New York or interacting with clients and co-workers from other parts of the world, it’s a pretty good idea to read up on what to expect so you don’t commit a faux pas.

Here are some differences between American, Australian and British work cultures so you can take the business world by storm, no matter where you are!

Meetings

U.S.A
When attending a meeting in the U.S., you should expect it to be run more in the vein of a brainstorming session. American business people tend to be very straight-forward with their opinions and aren’t afraid to contribute to the discussion. For this reason, outsiders often feel that American business meetings are more about the talk than the action.

Australia
While Australian business culture is known to be more laid back than in the U.K. or the U.S., that doesn’t mean our approach to meetings is lax. Punctuality is a must for business meetings in Australia and people generally like to keep these events short and to the point. However, you must always take some time for small talk at the beginning of a meeting as diving straight to the point is considered aggressive and rude.

Great Britain
British business meetings are run in an almost completely opposite manner to American ones. As opposed to American or Australian work culture, in the U.K. people tend to be more reserved in meetings and not as quick to offer an opinion or speak up. Sometimes this can make outsiders feel like their thoughts are not wanted, but knowing when to speak up and when to keep your thoughts to yourself can be something of an asset!

Chit-Chat

U.S.A
In the U.S.A, chit-chat is the norm whether you’re at work or shopping at your local grocery store. Americans aren’t shy about chatting up complete strangers and making small talk about everything from the weather to last night’s football game. This can lead to a warm work environment where it’s easy to get to know your co-workers.

Australia
In Australia, profanity is the norm and is a natural part of the local vocabulary. It’s not uncommon to hear swear words used in the work place and not taboo to drop the occasional profanity. However, as always be aware of who you’re talking to. While using a profanity(on the odd occasion)might be okay with co-workers that you know well, you don’t want to risk offending a more conservative client.

Great Britain
British tend to be more reserved when it comes to chit-chat and outsiders might think they come off as cold and standoffish as a result. What it really comes down to though, is difference in humour. While Americans or Australians might be prone to make loud and brash jokes when engaging in chit-chat, British are very proud of their dry wit and intellectual humour. At first it may be hard to tell when they’re telling a joke, but once you get a grasp of the good old British humour you’ll be laughing along with the best of them!

Dressing Sense

U.S.A
In the United States alone business dress can vary depending on which side of the country you live on. The West Coast is known for a more casual approach to business attire while the East Coast tends to be more formal. But even in areas where formal business attire is part of work culture, high-end brand clothing isn’t always noticed or appreciated.

Australia
Most Australians tend to be conservative with their dress code, meaning they lean towards simple dark suits and white shirts. One of the more unique aspects of Australian culture is that people don’t tend to travel to the office in full-on suit and shoes. Most will wear flip-flops while walking to work then change into their work shoes once they arrive.

Great Britain
Similar to Australia, the British tend to prefer conservative, classic clothes and aim for darker colours like black, dark blue, and grey. In British work culture it’s considered perfectly okay to invest in high-end clothing and to wear designer items – in fact, it’s often encouraged as it shows status and affluence. This is one nation where ‘dress for success’ is taken very literally!