Flexi-hours: The pros and cons

We live in an age of technology and with it comes greater connectivity. This is something that has undoubtedly fueled the idea of flexible working hours more than ever – gone are the days of people having to stick rigidly to the constraints of a nine-to-five job. Flexi-hours are fast becoming a more viable reality for businesses around the world, one which is allowing employees to have more freedom and control of their working hours than ever before. As with many concepts though, there are both advantages and disadvantages that come with the flexi-hour system for employers and employees alike – read on to discover just what some of these are.

Let’s start with the pros:

  • More motivated: Because employees are no longer “schedule-bound”, they tend to be more enthusiastic about their jobs.
  • Higher levels of productivity: As a result of being more motivated, employees are seen to be more efficient and productive, with absenteeism as well as turnover rate falling significantly.
  • Loyal workforce: Happy, productive employees invariably mean loyal employees – it’s a win-win situation for both sides.
  • Attract and retain top talent: In today’s working world, there is a high value placed on flexibility, so it’s not unheard for prospective employees to seek out specific companies that are known for being more flexible than others. Offering flexi-hours can give a business the power to both attract and retain the top talent in the industry.
  • Garner a reputation: This is one for the employer – offering flexi-hours can position you in an attractive spot to be considered as a friendly and flexible company that people want to work for. It also shows that you are progressive (to a degree) and you’re willing to take your employees’ needs seriously.
  • Maintain a better work/life balance: Flexi-hours can be particularly appealing to working parents who need to be more available for their children. The same can also apply to those who maybe care for a spouse or an elderly parent. Yet even if these don’t apply, flexi-hours can still give you the freedom to meet both family and personal commitments more easily, helping you to master that seemingly elusive work/life balance.
  • Higher quality of work: Because employees are able to work during the hours they find they are the most productive, the chances of producing higher quality work become increased.
  • Goodbye to commuting and peak-hour traffic: With the freedom to choose their working hours, employees may be able to avoid peak-hour traffic and in some cases, a long commute all together. This eliminates the negative effects that sitting in traffic and early wake-up calls can invariably have on mood, attention span and exhaustion levels – all things that can (and do) affect productivity levels on a daily basis.

The other side of the coin: the cons:

  • Lack of control: With people operating on different schedules, there’s always the possibility that managers/business owners will start to lose control and lack awareness when it comes to the work being carried out.
  • Communication break-downs: Without there being set hours in place for all employees, it can become increasingly difficult to get in touch with the right people when you need to, and therefore harder to co-ordinate meetings and presentations.
  • Taking advantage: The flexi-hour system is a trust-based one with employers choosing to believe that delivering flexibility to their employees will not result in a drop in work quality or people taking advantage of a concept that can very often come across as being deceptively laid-back.
  • Lack of supervision: Because employees are not being watched every minute of the day, some can veer off the path and start to show signs of non-compliance with company policies and even tardiness.
  • Hard to build an office culture: With employees not being all together day in and day out, creating an office culture can become difficult, if not impossible. The lack of cohesiveness can lead to people feeling alienated and as if they are not part of a team. For this reason, flexi-hours may not be the best idea to implement within team-based businesses.

Flexi-hours can do wonders for some business, but within others, it can wreak absolute havoc. As a small business owner, it’s vital that you weigh up all the pros and cons before choosing to apply this system to your business. Be sure to consider whether or not it would be beneficial to everyone involved, both now and in the long run.

Just as technology has brought us the ability to introduce more flexible working hours, so too has it brought us reliable and impressive online accounting and payroll productssuch as those available from Sage One.

 

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Ergonomics shmergonomics: The art of sitting at a desk

For those of you unsure of what the term ‘ergonomics’ means, let’s begin with a short definition: ergonomics is essentially “the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment”. Without realising it, your work environment can have a direct effect on your mood, performance and general wellbeing. As an owner of a business, you want to ensure that your employees have a safe and comfortable place in which to work, because ultimately, happy employees are productive employees.

For those of you unsure of what the term ‘ergonomics’ means, let’s begin with a short definition: ergonomics is essentially “the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment”. Without realising it, your work environment can have a direct effect on your mood, performance and general wellbeing. As an owner of a business, you want to ensure that your employees have a safe and comfortable place in which to work, because ultimately, happy employees are productive employees. Very often, those who spend many hours sitting at a desk suffer from aches and pains associated with their sitting position and general working habits. With a few simple tweaks though, your work space can be transformed to become more comfortable and supportive, and ultimately, something that facilitates good work, rather than hindering it. What follows are five things you should be aware of each time you sit down at your desk.

All things chair

Your chair is the most important piece of office equipment you will ever own. Ideally a chair with lumbar (back) support is preferable, and the support should be positioned in the curve of your back. Movement is also key – unlock your chair so that you can move back and forth. This will help to free up your back muscles a bit more, hopefully preventing that feeling of stiffness. In terms of height, you always want to make sure that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. This opens up the hip area and puts less strain on the lower back. Make sure you sit with your feet flat on the floor as well.

Desk it

The height of your desk actually depends on the height of your chair. For example, if you need to raise your chair to allow your hips to be higher than your knees, you may have to also raise your desk slightly too. The important thing is to get the height of your chair right before looking at your desk. In the end, when sitting nice and close into the desk and resting your arms on the desk, you want to have about a 90 degree angle at both your elbows. If you sit at a desk that is too high for you, you will find increased tension in your shoulders as you’ll effectively be reaching up and over the desk, causing a build-up of strain in the shoulders. The golden rule: get your chair height right first, then look to get your desk sorted.

Helpful hint: if you have to raise your chair considerably to make sure those hips are a little higher than those knees, then simply use a footrest to make up for the distance – don’tlower your chair!

Everything has its place

When it comes to where equipment should be placed on your desk, remember that in most cases, close is best. Your screen should be positioned at roughly an arms’ length away from you – if your screens is miles away, you’ll be more tempted to slouch forwards in your attempt to get closer to the screen. When looking straight ahead, your natural eye line should fall within the top third of your screen. If you’re looking straight over your screen, then that means you’ll be looking down unnecessarily on a regular basis. Use something to boost your screen – you get monitors stands, but a stack of paper can always work well too. Also make sure you keep your keyboard and mouse close by – over-reaching for your mouse can put a lot of strain on your shoulder, and if your keyboard is too far from you, you’ll end up leaning forwards all the time, which will ultimately result in hunching. Keep everything you need within arms’ reach.

Take a break

Getting up regularly from your desk and walking around for a few minutes can really help to loosen up the back muscles and prevent a build-up of strain. Many back problems are due to people not getting up enough and sitting for long periods of time. Ideally, take a break every half an hour or so, even if that means standing up at your desk and stretching for a few minutes. It really works so be sure to take regular breaks throughout your work day.

Posture is important

Remembering to sit correctly at your desk all day long can be hard, but it’s important you try. Make sure you sit upright (avoid slouching) with your back firmly against the backrest of your chair. Constant contact with the back of the chair will give your back the support it requires. If all your equipment is in its correct place, it will help to reduce those elements that can negatively impact on your posture and overall back health.

There are little things we can do to improve how we sit at our desks and since we spend large portions of our days there, it’s worth it in the long run. It pays to invest in some quality office chairs to ensure that it’s easier for your employees to be comfortable and therefore, more productive.

Speaking of wise investments… Why not also consider investing in a quality system that can help you handle your payroll each month? Look no further than  Sage One Payroll.

 

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Are you about to hire your first employee?

Entrepreneurs start out as a one-man band, add devout followers and then add skilled technicians. It’s the normal evolution of an entrepreneurial business. At this stage, the new business owner needs people who will serve as an extension of the brand. He or she will want people who, when others see them, will see the business at a glance.

Entrepreneurs start out as a one-man band, add devout followers and then add skilled technicians. It’s the normal evolution of an entrepreneurial business. At this stage, the new business owner needs people who will serve as an extension of the brand. He or she will want people who, when others see them, will see the business at a glance.

When hiring a company’s first employees, do these things first:

1. Ask the people whom you respect the most. Go to those people, as if approaching a board of directors, and inquire about the best ways they’ve found their top employees. Also consider the businesses you frequent that have great employees. Then go to the managers and ask them how they hire.

2. Check out candidates’ social media profiles.  By going to candidates’ social media pages, you may gain a sense of their worthiness in terms of timeliness and dependability. You can also gain a perspective on their social life and habits. But do remember this should not affect your opinion as much as you should just look out for obvious aspects like criminal activity and their manner of dealing with issues.

 3. Be clear about what you want. Know the characteristics that you’re looking for and detail that in the job requirements. Understand the difference between what you think you want and what the job really needs.

4. It’s OK to say no.  Don’t settle for someone who you feel in your gut you might have to let go in two months. It isn’t good for you, the company or the candidate.

5. Prepare for the interview. The interviewer should be as prepared as the interviewee. Have questions ready to ask that will capture a portrait of who the person is.

6. Take top candidates out for dinner. It’s one thing to be buttoned up for an interview and something completely different to go out for a casual meal in jeans. How he or she treats the staff offers other clues.

Considering these major points, end of the day you can either hire an HR company to acquire canidates for you, or you can go with what you know, keep your emotions disciplined and trust your gut.  Good luck growing your business!

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The condescending boss – Top eight things to avoid saying to employees

Work is usually a stress-charged environment, and it’s easy to say something rash in a moment of anger or frustration. What we often forget, however, is how much of an impact such a small slip can have on the morale and production output of our employees. Here are eight things every boss should avoid saying to his employees.

Work is usually a stress-charged environment, and it’s easy to say something rash in a moment of anger or frustration. What we often forget, however, is how much of an impact such a small slip can have on the morale and production output of our employees. Here are eight things every boss should avoid saying to his employees.

“I don’t have time for this”

As a manager, you’re expected to have time for everything, and if you don’t, you need to make some. If your employees come to you for help and simply receive antagonism, they won’t do so again. That scenario could end in you not being able to put out fires before they start, simply because your employee is trying to deal with it alone.                                                                            

“If you don’t like it, I’ll find someone who does”

You have no right to throw your weight around in a superior position. If someone doesn’t like something you do or expect others to do, it would serve you better to find out from them why they have that opinion, rather than to shut them down immediately.

“You’re lucky to have a job/a bonus/a salary”

This is a backward way of telling someone they don’t deserve to be in a position they’re in. If they believe your statement, they’ll most likely end up not trying to do any good work at all, because they’ll believe that whatever they do, their efforts will go unappreciated.

“You have no idea what stress is”

This belittlement of someone’s personal and emotional situation is not only insensitive, but downright rude. Stress, like any other emotion, is relative, and what’s easily dealt with for you may be terrible for them, or vice versa. Try and be more understanding and don’t put how you would react to things on others.

“Whose job is on the line if this doesn’t work?”

Creating an atmosphere of fear won’t work in anyone’s favour. Threatening jobs or positions over a mistake will not only increase tension, but decrease actual productivity. This will mostly be because everyone will be too scared to try creative, risky ideas, and those can often be the most successful.

“That’s not your job”

Severely limiting people’s innovation and desire to think and work “out of the box” means they will do exactly that. They will think in the box, and never overreach, never try harder than they absolutely have to, and never, ever, turn your company into something more than absolutely ordinary.

“That won’t work/We’ve tried that”

Don’t ever shoot down someone’s idea without substituting a correction, or an idea of your own. In addition to that, just because something didn’t work previously doesn’t mean it won’t work in future – the cards may be laid just right this time for its success. Sometimes it pays to try something for a second time.

“I don’t want to listen to your complaints”

Regardless of how frustrating someone may be, there are many better ways to rephrase this. Ask someone to structure complaints for presentation in a meeting, or come up with ways to resolve the issue. If you take the lead in ignoring problems, your employees will do the same, and avoided issues could turn into catastrophes.

“We’ve always done it this way”

Technology and inventions change and appear faster than we can keep up, and the rate will just keep increasing. If you don’t encourage your business to stick with the times and think innovatively, you’re going to fall behind.

As an employer or manager, you expect the very best from your employees, so it’s only fair to give them the same – respect, encouragement and understanding. You are the glue that binds the company together. For more workplace tips visit our blog. To see how Sage One can make accounting easier for your business, visit our Products Page.

 

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Crossing the line: Why having work friends can be a good thing

Whilst some people are of the opinion that they “didn’t come here to make friends”, others wonder how’d they get through each work day without their group of work buddies. When working very closely with people on a daily basis it’s only natural for special bonds to form and for the lines to blur between co-worker and friend. 

Whilst some people are of the opinion that they “didn’t come here to make friends”, others wonder how’d they get through each work day without their group of work buddies. When working very closely with people on a daily basis it’s only natural for special bonds to form and for the lines to blur between co-worker and friend. Very often this evolution happens without people even trying, and although some feel like there should be a clear distinction between friends and colleagues, there are also many pros to having work friends. Read on and discover what some of these are.

You share a common understanding

Because some of your colleagues work with you on certain projects and tasks, they experience some of the same stresses and pressures you do. As a result, you  all have a common understanding of and insight into what the other person is going through and therefore you’re able to be there for one another unlike anyone else can. Your experience tends to bring you closer and you can end up counting on each other for moral support and encouragement – especially when times get tough. Lastly, because your work friend has first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to work in the same company as you, they can empathise and provide the  kind of support that often family members are unable to.

You keep your eyes on the prize together

When a work relationship develops into a friendship it’s very often preceded by a level of trust that has been established. It’s because of this that you trust each other to be honest and to point out when the other seems to be veering off course. Sometimes a reality check is needed and when it comes to work, you can almost always rely on your work mate to provide just that. You can hold each other accountable when necessary, but also cheer each other on and help to remind one another to keep your eyes on the prize. It’s very often your work friends who help keep you on track.

You perform at your best

Numerous studies have shown that there are lower staff turnovers in businesses in which there is a strong sense of camaraderie. This is most likely as a result of the fact that many people feel more compelled to stay in a job where they feel supported by their colleagues and “part of something”. When people feel happy and a sense of belonging, they are more committed and disciplined when it comes to work. A shared purpose, mutual respect and a feeling of being “in it together” definitely helps to boost productivity levels. Ultimately, having work friends can very often lead to longer-lasting and more fulfilling work experiences.

You have each other’s backs

We all go through difficult times in our lives and sometimes personal issues can have an impact on our work. Our work friends are like soldiers who fight alongside you, with both of you doing what you can to defend the other. They cover for you when you need them to and you can always rely on them to lift your spirits when you’re feeling low. Basically, you fight in each other’s corners, something that helps keep you motivated and focused. Sometimes this may mean they end up being brutally honest with you, but as long as it’s constructive, it’s well worth it.

Overall, forming work friendships can be a positive thing, helping to make your work experience more enjoyable, manageable and worthwhile. A strong sense of camaraderie aids company loyalty and satisfaction, two of the ingredients that are vital if a business is to be successful. As long as your work friendships are genuine and based on trust, as well as both parties being on the same page, you’re likely to enjoy lasting friendships that go above and beyond the office.

On the flipside: Yes, work friendships can be beneficial and wonderful, but there are some people who look to use friendship to get ahead. Be selective about who you choose to befriend and only share personal information with those you trust. Also remember that some people don’t wish to form work friendships – recognise this and respect their choice.

 

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How to incentivise your employees without breaking the bank

There’s no denying that employee incentivisation forms an important part of their overall work satisfaction. As a small business owner, finding the right ways to incentivise staff properly can play a key role in improving their performance on a daily basis and helping to create an environment that fosters growth and job satisfaction.

There’s no denying that employee incentivisation forms an important part of their overall work satisfaction. As a small business owner, finding the right ways to incentivise staffproperly can play a key role in improving their performance on a daily basis and helping to create an environment that fosters growth and job satisfaction. Whilst monetary rewards, such as bonuses, are often welcomed, there are various other ways in which you can incentivise your employees that don’t involve breaking the bank – in other words, the “soft” benefits should not be underestimated. What follows are a few suggestions for how you can motivate (and keep) your current employees while keeping costs to a minimum.

Introduce telecommuting or flexi-hours

There’s nothing employees will find more satisfying than knowing that they are part of an organisation that takes an interest in them and their needs. Initiating the option of telecommuting or flexi-hours can be a great way to give back to your staff and show them that you are committed to making their lives easier where possible. Telecommuting can help save time and money, with flexi-hours giving employees the freedom to decide when they come in and leave the office. As the business leader you will of course have to make the decision whether or not these are things that will work within your company environment. Once in place, these systems should be monitored with acceptable guidelines being laid down from the start to ensure things run smoothly.

Set aside designated communication sessions with employees

Finding the time to get to know your employees, listen to their needs and take a genuine interest in them can be a difficult feat, especially with many peoples’ daily schedules being so jam-packed. Introducing a programme whereby you make the time to meet with a different member of your team each week for a mini catch-up session can be very rewarding for both of you. Talking to people one-on-one helps to build trust and shows employees that they are truly valued – something that has proven to be one of the most powerful incentives for retaining staff. The sessions could be used to talk about anything (work related or not) and an opportunity to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas within a safe space.

Give a nod to those who matter to your employees

One of the best ways to show your appreciation for your employees is by including and looking after those close to their hearts. Initiatives such as “Bring Your Kid to Work Day” or “Family Movie Night” can help those who support your staff at home, feel part of their life at work, something that is bound to strike a chord with employees. These kinds of activities will remind staff that they are part of a company that is willing to go the extra mile and one that holds the value of family in high esteem.

Take staff wellness seriously

Doing what you can to promote wellness within your business can do wonders for morale and the overall well-being of your employees. Educating staff on various aspects of health and lifestyle through talks, awareness campaigns and leaflets can help to reduce absenteeism, something that can lead to resources being drained. This will show that once again, the company is taking an interest in its employees and intends to invest in them in the long-term – the result: an empowered and happier work force.

Good old-fashioned public recognition and cash rewards for great work will always have their place within most businesses, but with some creativity and thought, you can come up with other ways to incentivise employees, because after all, motivated workers inevitably mean success for your business.

 

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Habits of successful entrepreneurs

Behind every great entrepreneur, there’s invariably a great attitude. Starting your own business isn’t easy, but truly successful entrepreneurs display similar habits that seem to help them overcome the obstacles they face and become amazing at what they do. Contrary to what you may think, entrepreneurs don’t necessarily set out to get rich. 

Behind every great entrepreneur, there’s invariably a great attitude. Starting your own business isn’t easy, but truly successful entrepreneurs display similar habits that seem to help them overcome the obstacles they face and become amazing at what they do. Contrary to what you may think, entrepreneurs don’t necessarily set out to get rich. Of course making money is good, but it ends up simply becoming a sweet by-product of a business with the vision of making a difference. See how many of the following habits you already possess and how many you could possibly adopt.

The focus is always on what the customer needs

It’s all good and well having a brilliant idea, but it’s no use if there’s no market for it. If you can identify a gap in the market and then come up with a product or service to fill that gap, then you’ll be off to a much better start. It’s about being in tune with what peopleneed and then giving it to them. That way, there’ll be no convincing necessary – customers will come to you.

The company is built on a solid team

Big ideas tend to start small and grow big, and this is true of most start-ups and small businesses as well. Successful entrepreneurs will always have a vision of growing a team that consists of experts and committed individuals who will help take the business onwards and upwards. Once there’s a solid team in place, things will hopefully be more effectively managed and more time will be freed up so that you can really focus on the things you need to.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

You may pay your employees well and offer them great benefits, but all that seems to become meaningless when there’s a lack of respect shown towards them. Truly successful entrepreneurs ensure they treat everyone (employees, vendors etc) with respect and dignity – this is ultimately the basis for strong relationships. It’s important to reward and value those people who are as dedicated to your business as you are, because after all, without them, there’d be no business.

YOU are your biggest motivation

Your desire to start your own business and run it successfully usually comes from a deep desire to prove something to yourself. There’s a stronger need to prove to yourself that you can do it, than a need to prove others wrong. That burning passion, determination and drive you have should come from somewhere inside you and from the belief you have in yourself and in your idea. It’s not about pleasing the skeptics.

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Unconventional tips for how to empower your staff

At the end of the day, without a dedicated group of staff members, your business would not be able to function. They inevitably play a vital role in ensuring whether or not your business is a success so it only makes sense to treat them well and keep them happy.

At the end of the day, without a dedicated group of staff members, your business would not be able to function. They inevitably play a vital role in ensuring whether or not your business is a success so it only makes sense to treat them well and keep them happy. Every company goes through its ups and downs, and all too often employees can feel as if they’ve fallen into a dull routine. It’s up to management to think up ways to beat the monotony and rekindle that office excitement. Thinking out of the box and finding interesting ways to increase office morale can be quite the challenge, so here are a few unconventional methods for motivating your employees and keeping those spirits high.

Give employees the opportunity to pursue their passions

Responsibilities of some kind accompany any position within a company, but it’s also important that employees have some freedom to work on their own personal projects. Putting time and effort into your day job shouldn’t equal not being able to pursue your own passions. Some businesses have designated hours set aside during the week when employees are encouraged to work on their own projects (that are somehow related to the company). They then share the results which sometimes even lead to projects being adopted by the business. Working on something you really love can often help to inject some much-needed creativity into your other work and can get those fresh and exciting ideas flowing. Why not give this a go with your employees? You may just be pleasantly surprised.

Introduce nap rooms

This may sound completely crazy but getting those extra 40 winks during the work day can really help to enhance productivity and recharge those batteries. Consider introducing a “nap area” for when employees just need to catch some shut-eye during the day. Hopefully this privilege won’t be abused but rather used as a means of sparking creativity through rest. It may sound counter-productive, but when managed correctly, it can really produce positive results.

Make fun part of your business model

Employees often need to be reminded that work doesn’t have to be all about work and no play. Management can introduce something fun each month (even if it’s something small) that is sure to get people to relax and have a good time. Something like a “Game Day” always goes down a treat and gives people the opportunity to get to know each other as ordinary people, not just as colleagues. An in-house competition will encourage team work and hopefully strengthen ties while simultaneously allowing people to enjoy themselves within the office space.

Offer family discounts

It’s one thing to show your employees that you care about them and their growth, but it’s another to extend that thoughtfulness to the families for which they work so hard to provide. Look into partnering up with certain businesses so that you can offer family discounts to your employees and their families. It’s a gesture that will not go unappreciated and will show your employees that it’s not only their best interests you’re looking out for, but also those of their family members.

Make employees feel special

Sometimes going that extra mile can really make all the difference. When it comes to thanking employees for their good work, try personalising your ‘thank you’ with something like a handwritten note. The fact that you’ve taken time out of your day to write a special note will convey to your employees that they matter and that they are viewed as an individual, not just as another cog in the wheel. Personalisation can a powerful thing so try and bring this to everything you do for as long as you can (before your business gets too large).

Take a chance and consider implementing a few of these suggestions – you and your staff may be pleasantly surprised.

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How to be a team player

Being able to work as part of a team is a vital role that many people in the working world need to be able to fill. Not only does being a team player mean that projects are completed more smoothly and great work is likely to be produced, but it can also help with personal growth. 

Being able to work as part of a team is a vital role that many people in the working world need to be able to fill. Not only does being a team player mean that projects are completed more smoothly and great work is likely to be produced, but it can also help with personal growth. By proving that you can work as part of a team, you automatically cultivate a good reputation for yourself among your co-workers and gain respect from those around you in the working environment. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure you’re a successful team player.

Be reliable

Being a team player means showing your colleagues that you are reliable. Things such as arriving to work on time as well as consistently meeting deadlines can help prove to your co-workers that you are dependable and therefore a valuable asset to the team. People want to know that they can count on you to get things done and that you will always act in the best interest of the team and its objectives. Showing you’re capable is key. Demonstrating your reliability can help build trust and respect between you and your fellow co-workers.

Understand the team’s objectives

In order to perform as best you can within a team, you need to be able to identify and fully understand the team’s goals. Without this knowledge, there’s no way the team will be able to function well, and in turn, those objectives can’t possibly be achieved. Make sure you have a thorough grasp on what needs to be done and then do whatever you can to ensure those goals are met.

Adaptability is key

Part of being a successful team player is being able to adapt to new situations, and fast. When you’re working on a project, things can very often change quickly, which means that you need to be able to adjust accordingly so that the project can proceed as planned. Being adaptable also means having a degree of flexibility. A strong team player will have no problem coming in earlier or leaving later if it’s going to benefit the team and the overall project. Change is inevitable when you’re working in a team and instead of resisting it, you should embrace it and see it as a growth opportunity. Flexibility ultimately shows your willingness to succeed.

Hone those communication skills

Very often it’s poor communication (or a lack thereof) that proves to be the downfall of a team. When you work as part of a team, it’s important that you find the right balance between being an effective communicator and a good listener. Whilst it’s vital to have your say and make suggestions, you also need to make an effort not to interrupt others when they’re talking. Really listening to others’ input is the mark of a true team player, as is honing the ability to deliver what you have to say (be it a suggestion or a criticism) in a way that is not offensive, rude or demeaning. Ultimately, how you communicate is often in line with your attitude: if you’re positive, your words will come across as such, but if not, then those words can be potentially damaging.

Respect your colleagues

Apart from having excellent communication skills, all the members of a team need to have a mutual respect for one another. You’re not always going to get along with every one you work with, but it’s important you don’t let your personal feelings towards someone affect the smooth-running of a team. Try and focus on the good things your co-workers do, rather than hanging on to all the things that may bother you about them. If you don’t have respect for those you work with and this affects your productivity as a team, then the project is likely to fail. Nurture a collaborative attitude rather than a combative one.

In the modern business world, having the ability to be a team player can help you grow as an individual as well as in your career.

Maintaining a positive attitude: How to stay motivated when times get tough

Starting, running and building your own business definitely comes with its ups and downs, and as with many things in life, we have to take the good with the bad. It’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to business, but it’s important for you as the business owner to do whatever you can to push forwards and stay positive.

Starting, running and building your own business definitely comes with its ups and downs, and as with many things in life, we have to take the good with the bad. It’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to business, but it’s important for you as the business owner to do whatever you can to push forwards and stay positive. Remaining motivated during tough times can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few helpful tips on what you can do to keep those motivation levels up and maintain a positive outlook, even in the middle of the most trying of times.

Reach Out

When your business is going through a rough patch, it helps to know that you’re not the first person to experience it, and you most certainly won’t be the last. Whilst you may be the captain of the ship, you’re only going to make things harder for yourself if you choose to carry the burden alone. There’s no shame in reaching out and asking for help from those who have been in the same position as you in the past. Sharing your troubles and talking about them will not only help you feel lighter, but more importantly make others aware of what you’re going through. In doing so, the right people will hopefully be able to provide some valuable advice that just may help you get your business out of a rut. Having a neutral party look at the overall picture may also provide you with a perspective that could change the course of your business – and, for the better.

Step Back

It’s very easy to get swallowed up by negativity, especially when you spend so much time at the centre of your business, close to all the action. Why not take a step back so that you’re able to look at the bigger picture? Very often you become fixated on the small things and this stops you from seeing things as a whole – something that can be very detrimental when it comes to trying to move forward. In some cases, without seeing the bigger picture, it’s more difficult to spot the areas of your business that require special attention. Being able to identify those problem areas is the first step in improving the situation and distance allows you to do this. It helps you to focus, zoom in on the problem and tackle it as effectively as possible.

Take Time

A burnt out, over-worked and super stressed business owner is the last thing a business needs, especially when it’s going through a difficult period. At the best of times it’s vital that you take time away from the office to unwind and recharge, and this is even more important during tough times. Taking a little time off and spending time with those close to you very often helps you not only to up those energy levels, but also to gain a fresh perspective on things. Sometimes all you need is to take some time away so that you can return with a clearer head, a stronger fighting spirit and a better way of dealing with the obstacles in your business’s pathway.

Action Change

Part of running a successful business is having adaptability – simply because business is constantly evolving. Once you’ve identified the area/s within your business that need work, it won’t help to turn a blind eye and hope they’ll come right. Positive action must be taken and the necessary changes made so that the business can get back on track as soon as possible. Find the problem, identify its source and do what you can to rectify it – if something isn’t working, change it. Change may be scary but the reality is that it’s necessary in the ever-changing world of business.

Focus on the Positives

It’s no use dwelling on your mistakes – what’s done is done and now all you can do is learn from it. Rather choose to focus on the positives within the business and to put your energy into finding the solutions that will help you move past this rough patch. It’s far more beneficial to focus on what you have and how those aspects can take you forward. This doesn’t mean ignore the problems areas though – it just means don’t allow them to take over.

Every business experiences its good times and its bad along the way, but what counts is how you as the business owner cope during the hard times. Someone once said that “tough times don’t last, but tough people do”, and this is something that every entrepreneur should hold on to. Finding ways to stay motivated and positive during the darkest periods is surely the mark of a truly great business leader.

 

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