Category Archives: Business Tips

7 Ways to Make Your Waiting Room Cozier This Fall

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7 Ways to Make Your Waiting Room Cozier This Fall

Your waiting room is the place where you make a first impression on your customers. There’s nothing worse than walking into a dirty, unkempt, and unwelcoming waiting area. For whatever reason people find themselves in such a room, it should feel like a safe space for what’s next. Waiting rooms are an opportunity to make your clients feel well cared for and valued.

Are you looking to create a more pleasant waiting room experience for your customers this fall? Instead of going full-blown pumpkin patch, create a cozy, simple environment with these tips:

1. Change up outdated seasonal elements.

The season has turned, so replace the summer magazines with fall ones. Take down the beach artwork and hang up some fall-themed artwork instead. Keep decorations cool and classy by opting for smaller, muted-colored elements instead of large, colorful pieces. Swap out your summer throw pillows and rug for a fall-feeling oasis.

It should go without saying that you need to keep your waiting room clean. But customers will like seeing that your business goes the extra mile to update the space along with the seasons.

2. Add some light fall scents.

An inviting space should engage all your customers’ senses, so don’t neglect the sense of smell. From fallen leaves to cloves and cinnamon, the aromas of fall are a delight, so consider adding these scents to your waiting room.

That said, be sure to select ones that account for people with sensitivities to strong fragrances. You want your waiting room to be pleasant and inviting, not headache-triggering. Lightly spray the room each morning before customers arrive or place reed diffusers around the room with a popular fall scent.

3. Create a kids corner.

Get creative with your kids’ corner in the fall. Have fall-themed activities to keep children busy in a designated area. Ditch the vacation-themed coloring books and replace them with pumpkins and farm animal pages. Opt for washable markers to ensure your young visitors’ artistic efforts don’t become permanent features of the space.

Create a specific project kids can do and display the results in the kids’ corner when they’re complete. You might, for example, ask children to write what they’re thankful for on a leaf-shaped cutout. Or connect the activity to your business: print coloring pages with a pumpkin dressed as a lawyer or a scarecrow holding a stethoscope. Remember to have a staff member tidy the corner up throughout the day to keep things neat.

4. Consider warmer lighting.

Say you manage a doctor’s or dentist’s office. Sure, people are there for medical care, but your waiting room shouldn’t make them feel like they’re already on the exam table. Bright white fluorescent lighting might be the default in most business settings, but it’s hardly your only option.

To warm up your waiting area, consider lighting alternatives that would make your visitors feel more welcome. Try yellow lights, Edison light bulbs, or lamp lighting around the room. A golden glow equals a perfect fall day.

5. Offer seasonal treats and refreshments.

Fall is harvest time, so treat your customers to the bounty of the season by offering seasonal refreshments. This can be as simple as setting out a basket of fresh fruit, such as apples or pears. If you’re feeling more ambitious, provide individually wrapped pastries made with recently harvested fruits. Fall-themed granola or trail mix is an easy on-the-go snack.

Once the weather starts cooling down, offer beverage options besides water and coffee. Hot tea, apple cider, or cocoa will warmly welcome your customers and make your space smell delicious.

6. Bring in plants.

For an instant homey feeling, add a few low-maintenance plants to your waiting area. Use fall-colored pots to bring warmth to the area. No window? No worries. Plants like pothos and philodendrons will thrive in little to no sunlight in the autumn weather. Not only do they make your waiting room more inviting, but these plants provide additional oxygen in your space.

Not into having to water plants but open to fresh flowers? Grocery stores usually have beautiful fall bouquets filled with red and orange hues that scream fall. Pick up a bouquet once a week to add to the coffee table, adding instant life and a focal point to the room.

7. Establish a clear and friendly check-in process.

Cozy doesn’t just mean a snuggly blanket. To feel comfortable, visitors must feel welcome. By greeting clients with a smiling face, you’re already creating a welcoming check-in process.

While they’re checking in, mention the autumnal treats they can help themselves to. If they have children in tow, point out the fall-themed activities in your kids corner. In case your front desk staff gets busy, clear signage can instruct arriving clients on the check-in process so they don’t stand around awkwardly.

By creating a cozier environment, you will usher in a positive customer service experience for your clients. Through thoughtful snacks, lighting, and scents, you’ll show that you pay close attention to detail. This will resonate with your clients and convince them they’ve come to the right place for their service. First impressions matter, and you’ll be off to a great start by following these tips.

Featured Image Credit: Curtis Adams; Pexels.com. Thank you!

Calendar Full? 5 Ways To Maximize Your Meetings

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Calendar Full? 5 Ways To Maximize Your Meetings

No company operates in a vacuum, and very few businesses are one-person operations. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you’ll likely need to coordinate with clients. In short, business means collaboration. Working with others translates to the necessity of meetings. And meetings can either be a drain for your schedule and productivity. Or, when you maximize meetings, a chance to ensure you’re on the same page with your collaborators, work out kinks and develop actionable plans for your projects.

Most of us have experienced those meetings that we know by the “could have been an email” trope. They’re the ones that seem to have no clear direction, in which the group collectively spins its wheels. This might be due to participants getting sidetracked or simply because the content of the meeting is redundant.

It’s not a great feeling to sit through an entire hour while silently stressing about the tasks we could be doing instead. Packed calendars are ubiquitous; no one wants or deserves a time-wasting meeting. If you’re in charge of periodic or regular check-ins with your team or clients, everyone involved will thank you for running smooth and effective meetings that support their tasks.

A great meeting should help participants resolve stuck points, get team members on the same page, clarify project next steps and generally save time and energy. Carefully planning your meetings and sticking to the plan will help the members of your team get the most out of face-to-face time.

Remember that time is money and budget meeting time accordingly.

It’s important to periodically evaluate the frequency and time demands of your team’s meeting schedule. Ask yourself:

Do you need a weekly or bi-weekly face-to-face to stay on track?

Can some meetings be skipped if no pressing concerns need to be addressed?

How will holding a meeting impact your team’s productivity: will it enhance it by alleviating stuck points, or will it hinder it by pulling people out of their zones?

Evaluate whether your team requires standing meetings.

Try not to get stuck in the mindset that meetings, especially standing meetings, are necessary to keep everyone moving forward together. Sometimes, it really can be an email. Being thoughtful about when and how you conduct your meetings could translate into significant cost savings for your business. Remember, you’re paying for everyone’s time during that meeting. You’re also potentially losing productive time on tasks if you’re meeting unnecessarily. It might be enlightening to get out a calculator and run the numbers for your company’s spend on weekly meeting time.

Have a clear meeting agenda and stay on task.

When you and your team have determined that a gathering is warranted, whether virtual or in-person, it’s vital to have a clear action plan. Before each meeting, clearly identify what you want to accomplish, who needs to be involved and how you will organize the time. Try not to require attendance from teammates if you don’t need to take up their time. It’s essential to create and share an agenda for each meeting – and stick to it.

“If I don’t have an agenda in front of me, I walk out,” Annette Catino, chief executive of the QualCare Alliance Network, told the New York Times. “Give me an agenda or else I’m not going to sit there, because if I don’t know why we’re in the meeting, and you don’t know why we’re there, then there’s no reason for a meeting.”

Tips for Maximizing Your Meetings

Developing a plan ahead of time will help everyone involved know what to expect, keep discussions corralled and save everyone time.

Here are five tips you can implement today to help you and your team ensure efficiency and that you all get the most out of your collaborative time.

1. Have a meeting agenda available for your team before you get together.

A well-thought-out meeting agenda is the heart and soul of effective team collaboration. Think of it as a playbill for success, a guide that sets the stage for smooth performance. Your agenda should include the essential who, why, what, and how information.

Your team should know who is attending. Communicate expectations to each attendee for their contribution to the conversation. You should also have a clear goal established, even for standing meetings. What are your team’s pain points and how will you address them during this time? If you can’t answer the big “W” questions, you may want to back up. Assess whether your team needs to meet at all.

The agenda does not need to be a fully fleshed-out document, with paragraphs of explanations or instructions. Instead, simply identify the items that need to be dealt with, in an order that makes sense, and note who is invited to contribute to each point. You may end up going off script at times, but having a clear outline will go a long way to keeping everyone on task.

2. Use your meeting agenda to stay on task and ensure efficiency.

To help maximize any meeting, it’s vital for every participant to receive a copy of the agenda beforehand. If possible, allow enough time for feedback and questions. You might find your team helps you improve on your plan beforehand.

If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar operation, you could distribute hard copies of your agenda before you meet. But that isn’t a viable option for hybrid or remote gatherings. Emailing an agenda document to everyone is a possible solution. Or, you might consider tech tools that can help organize the process from start to finish.

One tech tool option to maximize your meetings is Fellow. Fellow’s software includes meeting templates, so you don’t have to start with a blank page when organizing your agenda. The agendas also allow you to keep your team accountable and informed about key decisions. Having a multi-feature tool for your team is one way to keep everyone on the same page and keep track of needs and progress at a glance.

3. Stay on task and cut down on distractions.

Depending on your culture, you may want to spice up your meetings a little to keep your team engaged. But if you do, it’s a good idea to keep everyone otherwise focused and on task. Make sure everyone has the space to contribute and you’re working to help with pain points or sticking points.

If you’re running the meeting, strive to serve as its moderator. Foster open communication. Be ready to step in when it’s time to redirect or move the meeting along to the next agenda item. As you tick down the list, stick to a rhythm of communication, brainstorming, and settling.

Talk about where you’re stuck or what needs to be addressed about a particular point. Allow the team a reasonable amount of time (given your schedule and the meeting length) to discuss approaches and then commit to a strategy to address it before moving on. If something doesn’t work, you can revisit it later.

4. Encourage note-taking and active listening.

Meetings can be rich opportunities for teams to work through roadblocks collaboratively. If you plan them out thoughtfully, stick to the plan and allow participants to bring their challenges and solutions to the table, you can accomplish workplace miracles.

Coaching your team on active listening (listening to understand vs. listening to respond), and good note-taking will help participants maximize the benefits they reap from each face-to-face meeting.

Some form of note-taking, whether by hand or with a digital device, will help team members remember next steps and other action items. If you meet online, you might consider creating a digital recording of important meetings. Attendees can review details asynchronously later.

5. Go forth and turn those bullet points into action.

You want your time to be used to maximum efficiency when you gather your team. As a result, make sure your meeting allows for planning and the next steps. You could have a recap at the end of each session, quickly summarizing each relevant topic, outlining how the team will address the issue, and clarifying who is responsible for what.

To maximize your meetings, you could also work this into each agenda item as you move through the meeting itself. Everyone should leave the table (whether it’s in your meeting room or virtual meeting space) with a clear understanding of actions they will take to move forward. If each attendee leaves the meeting empowered with the knowledge of what and how to do next, you can save significant time and energy as a project progresses.

Whether you and your team operate in person, remote or hybrid, meetings are likely a staple of your weekly or monthly scheduling. You need to collaborate, and sometimes face-to-face is the best way to do that. These steps can help you ensure a smooth and productive meeting online or in person, and help you avoid wasting your and your team members’ time.

In short, great meetings involve a lot of clear communication, from beginning to end. Start by evaluating whether you should have a meeting and who is essential to the process. Clearly outline points to be addressed in a succinct meeting agenda. Keep the meeting flowing on task. Ensure everyone walks out knowing what to do next. A little extra planning and preparation will save your team a healthy amount of time, cost and stress.

Calendar Full? 5 Ways To Maximize Your Meetings was originally published on Calendar.com by Deanna Ritchie. Featured Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels.com. Thank you!

4 Ways to Ensure Your Software Offers Exceptional Customer Experience

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4 Ways to Ensure Your Software Offers Exceptional Customer Experience

In today’s digital age, customers have thousands of companies at their fingertips. Consequently, if you want people to choose your business over that of your competitors, providing an exceptional customer experience (CX) is essential.

For many businesses, this starts with their customer-facing software. Customer-facing software refers to digital solutions designed to create a positive user experience. As a result, these solutions have the power to ease common pain points and turn casual customers into loyal patrons.

Not sure whether your customer-facing software is up to snuff? Don’t fret. There are simple steps you can take to improve your digital customer service. Outlined below are four strategies to ensure your customer-facing software exceeds user expectations.

1. Use an appointment scheduler.

If you’re in the service industry, your company likely relies on customer appointments. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t understand the importance of accessible appointment scheduling. Complicated scheduling processes and old-school telephone calls frustrate customers. Therefore, outdated tech is driving them to competitors that are more convenient to book with.

Stop losing clients by making it easy for them to book appointments online. Digital appointment schedulers allow customers to schedule appointments without ever needing to call your company.

These software solutions are available 24/7, so customers can schedule appointments at any time of day. For example, do customers need to cancel? No worries; digital appointment schedulers provide options for people to reschedule and edit appointments.

When choosing your appointment booking software, look for one with calendar integration.

While most schedulers have a built-in calendar, some don’t integrate with other calendaring solutions. Consequently, this can cause you to miss appointments if you don’t check your appointment scheduler regularly. Instead, find a solution that instantly updates all of your calendars when an appointment is booked.

2. Have a mobile-friendly website.

Nowadays, people are glued to their smartphones.

A 2021 survey assessed that almost 50% of the people surveyed spend at least five–if not, six hours on their phones every day. As a result, this means there’s a 50/50 chance that customers will pull up your website on their mobile devices.

If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, it may be challenging for people to navigate from their phones.

Mobile-friendly websites now use a responsive design. Therefore, this means your site automatically displays properly, no matter what device users are on. Without responsive design, mobile users will just see a smaller version of your desktop website. These are often hard to navigate from mobile devices and can leave customers frustrated.

In order to implement a responsive design, your site must use a fluid grid. This grid style appropriately sizes elements based on what device customers are using. Website developers can implement a fluid grid by editing your site’s CSS. But if that feels too technical, many simple website builders offer basic templates for mobile-friendly sites.

3. Provide self-help options.

When customers encounter a problem or have a question, they don’t want to get on the phone and wait to speak to a representative. Instead, they’d rather quickly discover the answers they’re looking for themselves.

Providing self-service options gives customers the tools they need to solve their own problems. As a result, this leads to faster resolutions and allows your customer service team to focus their energy on other tasks.

There are many ways to add customer self-service to your website. Two popular options are company knowledge bases and chatbots. A knowledge base is a portion of your site that houses information to help customers learn about your service. This section of the site may include blogs, guides, and a FAQ page.

Chatbots are AI-driven computer programs that process and simulate human conversation. They’re often used to answer basic customer questions like “What is your pricing?” or “Can I reschedule my appointment?” Chatbots can find information for customers more quickly than humans and tailor content based on the conversation. Therefore, this helps customers find answers faster than if they were speaking with an employee.

4. Collect customer feedback.

You’ve simplified scheduling, created a mobile-friendly website, provided self-help options, and sought at all turns to provide an exceptional customer experience. But how do you know if the changes you’ve made have impacted your customers’ experience?

You ask them.

Companies that provide a quality CX understand the importance of feedback. This information can be used to gauge customer satisfaction and make improvements to your service. Additionally, asking for and implementing feedback signals to customers that you value their insights.

Customer satisfaction surveys are a simple way to gather answers to specific customer service questions. Deploy feedback surveys after a service has been provided to better understand the customer experience. If you notice a negative feedback trend, make a plan to address the highlighted issues. Then share this plan with your customers so they know you take their opinions seriously.

Start Improving Your CX Today

Your customers have more options today than ever before. If you want to stand out from the competition, it’s critical that you provide an exceptional customer experience. This starts with your customer-facing software.

Featured Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels.com. Thank you!

Level Up Customer Service: 3 Methods for Your Business

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Level Up Customer Service: 3 Methods for Your Business

Businesses may refer to them as customers, clients, patrons, shoppers, consumers, purchasers, or something different. Whatever name they choose, it describes the people they need for their business to survive…and the ongoing need to level up customer service.

All other things being equal, such as product, quality, and price point, customer service is what sets competitors apart. Consequently, it takes great customer service to bring people in, entice them back, and keep them loyal. That’s the stuff successful enterprises are made of.

Businesses that believe their customer service is delivering everything they can should beware of complacency. This is one part of doing business that requires constant feeding and attention. Customer desires are always changing, and businesses need to keep pace at a minimum — and set the pace if possible.

Even businesses that think they’re at the top of their customer service game should be looking for ways to level up. Here’s how they can serve their customers even better.

1. Adopt a continuous improvement model.

Customer service is a long game. It’s also one that touches every single internal business process, from setting prices through service after the transaction. That means it touches every tool used along the way.

Businesses should continuously assess their online scheduling software, customer data collection and management systems, and automated phone systems. And they should do so through a customer-centric lens. Does the business put the customer first in everything it does?

There’s a reason why this model is called “continuous” as opposed to “continual.” The former is uninterrupted while the latter occurs periodically.

Businesses tend to look at these systems only in annual reviews or while planning, when they should be business as usual. If a customer calls with a problem and it’s resolved, that experience should inform the next one. The information about the issue and the resolution needs to be shared with all staff to level up customer service across the organization.

Continuous improvement across the board, from appointment scheduling to payment systems, is vital to customer satisfaction. A business stands to lose 63% of customers who think they had a poor experience. Put the customer first everywhere in the business, without interruption, and improve service every day, all the time.

2. Make customer service training systematic.

There are a couple of key factors in stellar customer service. One is that everyone in the business should know how to deliver it and focus on doing so. Second is that customer service practice is always changing, which means the people delivering it need ongoing training.

Require customer service training to some degree in every employee position, from front of the house to back.

Often, individual employees are working on their own with their own customers. How is individual input shared routinely among all employees so they can all improve how they deliver their services?

Great customer service isn’t as easy as just being polite and accommodating. Solving customer complaints and issues involves asking the right questions, which not everyone knows how to do. Companies can’t count on the customer being able to express a problem, which makes questioning crucial to a good experience.

Businesses should provide ongoing, routine training on the mechanics of customer service. At the same time, they need to systematically use real customer service issues to continuously improve delivery. Managers must devote time to coaching, mentoring, and rewarding good practices.

Making customer service training systematic in a business supports that customer-centric focus. There are myriad customer service training tools even the smallest businesses can use to teach their employees how to build relationships. Use the right ones often and deliberately. Doing so will move customer satisfaction in the right direction.

3. Make the business more accessible to more customers.

Making a business more accessible to more customers means opening the doors to a much larger pool of prospects. However, accessibility goes far beyond making those doors wider or constructing wheelchair curb transitions. It also involves more than a business’s physical space.

Physical space considerations include button-activated doors, braille and audio wayfinding systems, and consistent flooring. Although laws prohibit most denials of service animals, businesses can go further. They can provide water, snacks, and relief areas for these animal helpers as well.

Customers who tend to be accompanied by children will appreciate kid-friendly spaces. Those who find children disruptive appreciate it when common spaces are designed to keep kids from disturbing them. As a result, when done cleverly, businesses can make customers in both camps happy.

Businesses should provide print and online forms and information in more than one language. Employing bilingual employees or subscribing to language translation services will likewise improve service to non-native speakers of English. To better accommodate the visually impaired, employees could learn how to use WhatsApp and its accessibility features.

Differently abled people make up a significant portion of our population. Being differently abled doesn’t mean they aren’t consumers…with money to spend! Businesses that accommodate those differences may find themselves opening their automatic doors to future loyalists.

We can always do better!

Regardless of what a business is doing right now to serve customers, it can do better.

Unless a business is the only one of its type in town, it’s going to need to find ways to be competitive. Going above and beyond in its customer service efforts will distinguish it from the others. And that will make all the difference.

6 Things Businesses Can Do to Welcome New Employees

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6 Things Businesses Can Do to Welcome New Employees

Finally! After weeks of searching for the right candidate to fill that open position, you’ve found the right person. In fact, they’re starting this week. No doubt you’re excited to welcome your new employee and have your team working at full capacity again.

Your new employee is probably just as thrilled as you are. It’s also highly likely that they’re nervous about their first few days. As the manager, you’re in charge of making your most recent hire feel at home and comfortable with their new colleagues. Keep reading for six tips to wheel out the welcome wagon.

1. Greet them personally on day one.

Think back to your first day at work. It may have felt slightly intimidating to walk through the front door to take on the unknown. That’s a normal response to unfamiliar situations and responsibilities. However, it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone, though.

Offer your new employee a helping hand. Additionally, coordinate your schedules so you can meet them when they arrive for work. Greet them with a smile and let them know you’re excited they’re joining your team. Take the time to walk them through the schedule for their first day. With a good idea of what the day will bring, your new employee will feel more at ease.

2. Lead an office tour.

The initial greeting and welcome are great. Consequently, invest a few more minutes and go a step further, though. Don’t simply point the newbie to their office with a wave and “good luck.” Help them get oriented with a tour of the office and building, if needed.

Show them their office and then point out the break room. For example, what’s the quickest way to get to the bathrooms? They’re new and may have questions, so walk them over to human resources. It’s also a good idea to introduce them to the people who work closest to them. Helping with those early introductions can pave the way for easier conversations later in the day.

Don’t forget to explain your digital tools as well. If you have remote employees, your new hire needs to know how to reach them. Give them a brief tutorial on your workplace communication tools. It could make their workday much easier.

3. Personalize their workspace.

Few things feel less inviting than an empty cubicle or office with bare walls and a buzzing overhead light. That image doesn’t say, “We’re glad you’re here!” However, you can easily switch that up, though. With a little effort, you can make your new hire’s office feel like a work home.

Channel your inner elementary-school self and create a cheery banner to hang up. Put an oversized coffee mug filled with bite-size candies on their desk. Tie a shiny balloon to their office chair. Have everyone sign a welcome card. In short, these small touches can make your new employee feel great about their first day.

Encourage your employee to add their own personal flair as well. They might bring in artwork or a plant or two. Both additions will lend color to their office space. They may also prompt conversations with their new co-workers.

4. Host a team meeting.

Sometimes, it takes more than a few quick introductions to make your new hire comfortable with their colleagues. If that’s the case, go ahead and host a team meeting. Let everyone know it will be a social event. It’s their time to catch up with each other and get to know the recent additions to the team.

If you can, try to get out of the workplace. Take your team to lunch at the cafe down the street. Maybe reserve a few lanes at the bowling alley for some after-work strikes and gutter balls. There are other options if you must stay in the office. Organize your meeting as a get-to-know-you event with icebreakers. Fill out personality or work style tests to see which colleagues have things in common.

5. Give them a welcome kit.

Have you ever gone to a conference and been greeted with a themed goodie bag? It’s a nice little perk that comes with the event. Similarly, starting a job should be just as exciting and fun. A welcome pack can do the trick for your new hire. It’s an easy way to make them feel like a part of the office family.

These kits can include several different kinds of treats. For example, does your company have branded clothing? Include a shirt or hoodie. Depending on where you’re located, drop in a list of the best local restaurants and coffee shops. Similarly, add coupons if they’re available, and provide a map, too. In short, a well-stocked welcome kit offers bunches of practical information your new hire will appreciate.

6. Pair them with a mentor.

It doesn’t matter whether your new employee is fresh out of college or a seasoned veteran. Being new to the office is still being new to the office. To help the individual learn the official — and unofficial — ropes, hook them up with a mentor. Someone who’s been with the company a while is a good choice.

Before the employee comes on board, look for an existing co-worker with whom they might have some things in common. Maybe they have shared work histories or have expressed similar interests. It will all help build a connection. Similarly, having a specific person to go to with questions can be a relief for a new hire. It’s a simple way to help them succeed.

Starting a job is an exciting time. It’s filled with possibilities, as well as anxiety and some fear. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to welcome your latest employee. Consequently, if you follow these tactics, the new co-worker will feel like part of your team in no time.

Featured Image Credit: Rodnae Productions; Pexels.com. Thank you!

The Importance of Creativity in the Workplace

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Creative Mural on Building

The cornerstones of productivity are staying organized, mission-driven, and efficient. But, staying creative shouldn’t come at the expense of those pillars. On the contrary, creativity is becoming an increasingly valuable asset in the workplace for both individuals and teams.

Furthermore, the World Economic Forum states that creativity is or is related to nine of the ten skills that will define the world in 2020 and beyond. In addition to increasing confidence and collaboration, being creative increases problem-solving skills.

But that’s not all. In business, creativity has the following benefits.

Goes hand-in-hand with innovation.

Innovation requires two ingredients: novelty and utility. Unfortunately, despite the importance of creativity in generating unique and original ideas, they’re not always practical. Creative solutions, however, are essential for innovative solutions.

Leads to productivity.

Creativity fosters productivity as long as the work environment allows them to coexist. As a result, creativity can lead to productivity in the following ways:

  • Prevents getting stuck in a rut.
    • There’s nothing wrong with routines. However, sometimes you need to shake things up and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Doing so will expose you to fresh ideas and perspectives.
  • Solves bigger problems.
    • You and employees will be able to see the bigger picture and focus their energy on issues that significantly impact the company when creative thinking is encouraged. When employees can apply these efforts to bigger-picture problems rather than simply churning out work, they are more productive — and the business thrives.
  • When employees are encouraged to be creative, their workplaces will be changed for the better.
    • Motivation comes from allowing people to make a tangible, visible difference in their workplace. You don’t want to feel like a drone, mindlessly completing tasks without any apparent impact on your life.
  • People get emotionally involved in it.
    • Quite simply, work without passion is tedious — especially for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Some people, however, require a little more motivation to spark that passion at work. Participating in the creative process empowers workers, regardless of their department or role.
  • By promoting creativity, failure becomes less likely.
    • People need the freedom to fail if they are going to foster a creative environment. Creative environments that fear failure are crippled and hamstring the flow of ideas. As a result of fear, we tend to color outside the lines, preventing us from identifying new and more effective ways of working, improving processes, streamlining operations, and creating new products.

Provides adaptability.

It may not always be necessary to adjust your business model when creatively addressing challenges. For example, to improve the efficiency of your operations, you might develop new products or services. However, don’t reject an idea because it doesn’t match the scale of a problem.

Business is a world of constant change, and adapting to it requires creative solutions.

Growth depends on it.

The idea that there is only one way to approach or interpret a situation or challenge is one of the main hindrances to a business’s growth.

It’s easy to fall into cognitive fixedness because it can be tempting to approach every situation the same way you have in the past. There are, however, differences between each situation.

A company’s leaders can stagnate if they do not take the time to understand the circumstances they face, foster creative thinking, and act on findings.

The skill is in demand.

Top industries like health care and manufacturing value creativity and innovation. It is mainly due to the complexity of challenges faced by every industry.

How to Encourage Creativity in the Workplace

So, we know that creativity is essential. But, how exactly can you encourage creativity in the workplace?

1. Schedule opportunities for creative thinking.

“Creative thinking can often be overlooked if it doesn’t get time on our calendars,” writes Nathan Rawlins in CIO. “There will always be more meetings and tasks to check off our lists, so it’s important to actually book time for creative activities.”

For example, hackathons have resulted in significant updates for our product offerings. In two to three days, teams spend a lot of time thinking creatively, collaborating, and testing out ideas outside the box. “The results are fantastic features that bring value to both the product and the company,” adds Rawlins. “Additionally, these events boost morale and demonstrate our commitment to creativity and innovation.”

2. Instill autonomy.

Increased responsibility and autonomy will likely lead to the generation of more ideas, as well as a greater sense of pride and confidence in your team’s skills.

Broadly, this could allow your team to work however they want, instead of micromanaging. More specifically, you let your team choose the agenda when meeting one-on-one.

3. Implement flexible work hours.

Consider offering flexible or work-from-home hours for specific roles requiring only an internet connection. When employees work from home, they can think more clearly, come up with more innovative ideas, and reduce their stress levels.

Establish clear expectations and guidelines to ensure steady productivity at home. And plan a flexible schedule that suits managers and their teams and the company’s requirements.

4. Don’t worry about “how.”

“Leaders unknowingly weaken their team’s creativity by focusing too early on implementation,” says Lisa Guice, Lisa Guice Global-Vision, LLC. “The fastest way to kill the creative process is by requiring your team to produce tactical solutions in tandem with creative ideas.”

This not only stifles the creative flow but also shifts the work environment into a “produce while editing” mindset, which results in a diminished individual contribution.”

5. De-silo your organization.

For innovative teamwork to take place, it is essential that a collaborative and social environment is created. Managers will notice a significant difference when they take steps to “de-silo” their organizations.

In addition to working on their own projects, employees can interact with colleagues in other departments and learn more about the company. As a result, ideas and inspiration will flow freely throughout departments, sparking workplace creativity.

Furthermore, humor is great for team building, inclusivity, and creativity.

What if you have a primarily remote or hybrid team? You might want to set up a Slack or similar chat channel called “water cooler.” By doing so, your employees can engage in some friendly office banter. Or, at the end of your team meetings, schedule time for everyone to discuss their plans for the weekend.

Playfulness creates a sense of belonging and safety, inspiring creativity.

6. Get walking.

Regarding fresh thinking, walking is one of the oldest and most effective sources. “Walking meetings” were a popular method used by Steve Jobs to foster connection and creativity with coworkers and collaborators.

In addition, Harvard Medical School researchers found that walking meetings enhanced creativity by 5.25% and engagement by 8.5%. Stanford University researchers also discovered that walking increased creative thinking by 60%. The movement itself energizes the brain, regardless of how long or where it takes place.

7. Don’t let good ideas go to waste.

Incentives should be provided to encourage employees to share their ideas. One suggestion is to implement the best ideas and to acknowledge other people’s efforts. To let the employee know you plan to implement their ideas, I suggest you personalize your message. Finally, if the change is successful, notify the team of the inspiration behind it.

To foster innovation, it is important to address and publicly commend good ideas. As a result, team members feel more inspired to share their ideas and opinions.

8. Encourage self-reflection.

You’ll find that your employees become absorbed in their work and forget the importance of what they’re doing when the workload picks up. To combat this, make check-ins for self-reflection a habit for employees. By doing this exercise, they are inspired to see things from a different perspective, both in terms of what they have achieved and what lies ahead.

Your team can also see the concrete results of their hard work and innovative solutions by sharing monthly or quarterly achievements.

9. Allow for failure.

When you ask your employees for their creative input, ensure they know you don’t expect perfection or thoroughly polished work. To be able to take risks without negative consequences, staff members need to be allowed to develop plans that go awry. The ability to fail wisely is a valuable skill for managers and companies.

“Once [employees] see, firsthand, the value of putting out what we call a ‘low-resolution prototype’ and getting feedback from a key constituent, and seeing how that direct[s] the next step, people start to become believers in that process,” explains Graham Henshaw, executive director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, on the W&M Leadership and Business podcast. “[Innovators must have] an openness to risk… You’re willing to take risks where you might fail, but you learn something from that failure and move forward,” he continued, emphasizing, “[You need] a tolerance for ambiguity…you’re withholding that need for immediate closure.”

10. Set a tone of risk-taking.

Most professionals feel that their firms and departments are not taking enough risks. However, the risk is essential to enhance your business’s competitive advantage and encourage workplace creativity.

When appropriate, empower employees to make bold decisions and push them to take calculated risks instead of micromanaging them.

The Importance of Creativity in the Workplace was originally published on Calendar.com by Deanna Ritchie. Featured Image Credit: NextVoyage; Pexels. Thank you!

How Not to Dread Returning to Work After Time Off

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Office Worker Slumped Over Desk

How did you spend your recent vacation? Did you soak up the sun at the beach or go hiking in the mountains? Maybe you backpacked through Europe, took a family road trip, or simply had a relaxing staycation. Everything seems to be going well until you realize that returning to work awaits you on the last day of vacation. And, it starts with a capital W.

No. Your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. We all hate going back to work after vacation. In fact, it’s a phenomenon that’s been studied numerous times. As an example, a Zapier / Harris Poll found that 87% of knowledge workers dread returning to work after taking a vacation.

But, why? The following tasks are among the most dreaded.

  • Reestablishing a routine – 37 percent.
  • Getting caught up with administrative tasks – 31 percent.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by busy work – 27 percent.
  • Post-vacation blues – 27 percent.
  • Dealing with piles of unread emails/messages – 26 percent.
  • Being overwhelmed by a busy schedule – 25 percent.
  • Not being in the loop about tasks – 23 percent.
  • Catching up on missed work while feeling unproductive – 20 percent.
  • Missing an important decision made while they were away – 18 percent.
  • A delay in a project caused by their absence – 18 percent.
  • Having trouble managing their projects – 17 percent.

Hanging On to Vacation Benefits Upon Return

Psychologist Jeroen Nawijn, who has studied how vacations affect the quality of life, tells Popular Science that people generally feel rejuvenated after a vacation. However, these benefits tend to disappear after they return home. “They most likely feel best during vacation because they have more freedom to do what they want,” he explains.

Suzanne Degges-White, a therapist at Northern Illinois University and chair of the department of counseling and higher education, agrees. “Once we get back into the work world, the majority of us have to answer to someone about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and when we’ll be done,” she says.

In addition, she says that going on vacation doesn’t alleviate all of our responsibilities and quandaries. “Many people dread the return as they know that problems may have stacked up in their absence. There may be a pile of new requests of their time on top of the unfinished tasks they left behind,” Degges-White explains.

Additionally, she points out the impact of switching from a more flexible sleep schedule on vacation to a more rigid and regimented bedtime schedule during the week. Moreover, overeating (and drinking, if that is your thing) can lead to sluggishness. And, it can also negatively impact wellbeing.

At the same time, you don’t have to let the good times go after the vacation has ended.

1. Plan before you go.

Before leaving for vacation, prepare for returning to work.

As soon as you begin planning your vacation, you should consider what potential problems or events could distract you. Also, don’t wait until the last minute to start any big projects. Be sure to complete any urgent tasks before you depart if there are any deadlines during your absence.

If you’re going away, plan ahead and get your team to assist you while you’re away. I’d also suggest that you reciprocate while they are away.

Some other tips include:

  • Tackle your priorities ASAP.
  • Don’t burn yourself out before your vacation.
    • There’s nothing like front-loading what you can. “But, you still need to take breaks to rest and recharge,” he advises. “If I know, I have an upcoming vacation, I might put in a couple more hours of work each day.”
  • Clean your plate, don’t add more.
    • In Max’s case, this means not taking on any new assignments until he gets back home. “I also cut back on the number of meetings I accept so that I can focus mainly on my work.”

One final suggestion. Don’t forget to schedule your vacation days.

Let clients and coworkers know you’ll be away. If you’re on vacation, they should be respectful of your absence. It is unlikely that you will be bothered by people if they know you are on vacation — especially if you have given them several weeks’ notice.

2. Don’t disappear completely.

It may make more sense to be “largely” disconnected — even if the original idea is to completely disconnect.

That doesn’t mean you should scrap out-of-office messages altogether. Still, you might want to check your email periodically. In this way, you can stay up to date on what’s happening in the office. And, this also prevents your inbox from getting too cluttered.

Additionally, some messages may require your response. For example, as a freelancer, you may want to reply to potential clients about how long you are away. If you are available, let them know. Or, perhaps you can refer them to someone who can help.

3. Schedule a buffer day.

Whenever you are considering how many leave days to take off, consider a buffer day or two as well. It’s these days that give you a chance to reorient yourself at home after your vacation. For example, when you get home, you can unpack, do laundry, bond with your pets, and go shopping for essentials.

In short, having a buffer day gives you time to unpack your bags, do your laundry, go grocery shopping, and prep your meals for the week instead of doing so after work.

4. Check your calendar.

Make sure you check your calendar the day before you return to work so you are not surprised by unforeseen meetings or tasks. If you do encounter unexpected surprises, consider whether you can handle them without too much preparation.

And, if possible, postpone them until you can contribute meaningfully.

5. Stay in stealth mode.

Your boss, colleagues, clients, and immediate reports may be aware that you’ve returned. In any case, there is no harm in waiting a couple of days before broadcasting your return to the real world.

Why? With selective stealth, you can catch up and return to normal life without being rushed or distracted.

6. Divide your first day back into time blocks.

Break up your first day back at work after vacation into blocks of time. And, don’t forget to take regular breaks. One rule of thumb is the 52/17 Rule. Here you would work for 52-minutes and then take 17-minutes.

On your first day back at work, do not feel pressured to work hard. Once you’ve returned from vacation, it’s important to give your body and mind some time to adjust. And, time blocks can do just that while also helping you focus on your priorities.

7. Get organized.

Getting organized is the first thing you should do when you return to work. For some, this might mean putting yourself in a good physical or mental state. As such, you might want to engage in some physical activity to release endorphins.

Keeping your office or workspace tidy is another suggestion. This should also be done before you leave for vacation, so you’ll be able to return to a clean work environment. If not, use your post-vacation to clean and organize this area. Or, use this as an excuse to finally spruce up your workspace.

8. Make work fun.

Use your first week back to accomplish things you actually enjoy. Maybe this could be scheduling lunch with a coworker where you exchange vacation stories. Or, you could embrace gamification in the workplace.

You can also make work fun with these practices.

  • Start the day with a playlist that gets you pumped and motivated.
  • Review your past accomplishments and track the progress of your goals.
  • Decorate your workspace.
  • Put on clothes that will make you happier and more confident at work.
  • Bring your dog to work — or let them stay with you in your home office.
  • Whenever you complete a task on your to-do list, reward yourself with a healthy snack or victory lap outside.
  • Plan an out-of-work activity with coworkers.

9. Don’t go full throttle.

You shouldn’t be too rigid about what you expect for your return to work — whether you plan to take it easy or jump right into the fire. After all, there’s a possibility that your plan for a slow and easy return may turn out to be a lot faster than you expect.

Make time for self-care, pace yourself, and ask for extensions when necessary. You will be less stressed and less overwhelmed if you are kind to yourself during this transition.

10. Take a piece of your vacation with you to work.

When you return to work after vacation, bring a souvenir that is appropriate for the office, such as a coffee mug, mouse pad, pen, desk ornament, or framed picture of your trip. It has been found that recalling vacations and other adventures can provide great pleasure, according to UC Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, Myths of Happiness.

A souvenir can bring back happy memories that can motivate you through the daily monotony of your work.

How Not to Dread Returning to Work After Time Off was originally published on Calendar.com by Albert Costill. Featured Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels.com. Thank you!

The Most Important Ingredient in Successful Webinars

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Woman Presenting a Webinar on Chemistry

What is the most important ingredient in a successful webinar, and how will you spice up yours? If you really want to be a downer — call your exciting, fun, online learning event a webinar.

Somehow we’ve learned along the way that work should be just that — work — and that having pleasure is somehow incompatible with getting everything done at work. Fun, especially at work, is frivolous and unprofessional, according to some. As a result, even having fun working makes it unsuitable for serious business people.

What’s the attendance rate at fabulous online learning events like?

The majority of webinars are uninteresting. When was the last time you went to a webinar that made you feel energized, successful, and ready to up your productivity game? You’re likely more inclined to call your webinar uninteresting. Here are a couple more webinar adjectives: Bland. Beige. Boring. And boredom is like poison — it deteriorates mental health and learning, according to scientists.

Boredom is an abnormal condition for the brain; thus, any activity that keeps you from being bored is healthy.

Why are webinars so uninteresting?

Webinars don’t seem to be all that different from previous online meetings, for starters. We can go from a team meeting to a learning webinar and have the same experience.

Webinar designers and presenters often don’t approach their job with a unique perspective; it’s simply another task on their to-do list. However, having a good time should be one of the host’s primary goals. Having fun while learning provides unique cognitive resources, correlates reward and pleasure with knowledge, and toggles abstract thought and concentrated attention — according to Cognition Today.

“People tend to forget the majority of webinars. Many are in the category of “forgotten” soon after you’ve attended them. Positive emotions extend our attention capacity and help us pull additional mental resources, and boost access to memory networks,” Cognition Today continues.

Most online presentations do not elicit favorable feelings and are not very engaging. These speakers, bosses, and assigned team members seem to have a bad attitude about attending their own event — and they aren’t enjoyable in the least.

However, having pleasure, social contact, and sensory engagement during a learning process increases neuronal alterations. That is to say, it stimulates numerous brain areas to store a high level of information throughout one event.

Why work harder?

Webinars can provide additional benefits. Inherently, the webinar presenter has to work much harder than in in-person learning programs, necessitating special consideration in their design and execution. They have to work harder because, by design, these presenters are to accommodate, even promote, distraction. But how much extra time and initiative would it take to make it a happy distraction?

When you’re in a room with other people, multitasking is less possible. Furthermore, there’s some social pressure to keep you from doing so. Multitasking seems to be a good notion while you’re sitting at home in front of your laptop or phone screen. And our do-it-all, busy-ness society makes it very difficult to resist distracting ourselves.

“A society that values productivity implies that grownups have less time to goof around,” writes Stuart Brown, a Stanford consulting professor in Johns Hopkins Magazine. “It’s a matter of public health. Although we may believe we are ultra-productive, just 2% of individuals can multitask well.”

But — during a webinar — you feel like multitasking in any way possible. “Where are my games? Can I watch a reel without being seen? And holy cannoli  — I can’t take this meeting one more minute.”

So, if you’re the creator of webinars or you create and deliver webinars — what does all of this knowledge and neuroscience of learning data mean to you?

Pump up the joy.

If you want to provide something successful, you must blatantly pump up the joy, human connection, and interactivity. When you finally decide to engage your audience, you’ll distinguish yourself from your colleagues. You can spur your team and employees to greatness — and likely deposit a large sum of money into your brand bank account when you take the time to pump up the joy.

Here’s how to make your webinars unique and captivating.

Make your stuff attractive.

Instead of words, consider images and video. Vary your material as much as possible, using statistics, ideas, thoughts, stories, and other elements. To engage both halves of the brain and make your material remember, tell tales. Make sure that 85 percent of your slides have no more than 15 words on them.

Use your slides as a teleprompter. To keep it lively, use animations and transitions.

Increase the humor.

“If you’re looking for indicators that you’re having fun, one of them could be laughing,” said Robert Provine, a neuroscientist and psychology professor at the University of Maryland. When was the last time you burst out laughing in the middle of a webinar? People will be delighted and hooked to your presentation if you use hilarious short films, Instagram reels, pertinent jokes, and exciting tales.

Create a sense of belonging.

Most professionals do not want to disappoint their coworkers. Participants are more likely to connect, support one another, and learn and develop as a team when the webinar leader is visionary. The leader allows the development of cohorts, groups, and partners. You also allow everyone to have a good time.

Throw in a breakout to assist in fostering a stronger cohesiveness and involvement with your team. Even a one-hour webinar may include one or two entertaining breakout sessions.

Boost interaction and engagement by increasing the number of people who interact with you.

When individuals are doing something rather than watching something, it is easier to hold their attention. Fill the webinar with competitions, polls, whiteboards, hand raising, Q&A, and other activities to keep people engaged. The more you change things up, the more interested your team will be. If you’re doing webinars for clients? Watch your customer retention stats for your services and predict what will happen next.

Increase the entertainment value of your presentation, and your audience will be hooked to your display, oblivious to even the most urgent email pings.

The Most Important Ingredient in Successful Webinars was originally published on Calendar by Angela Ruth.

Featured Image Credit: CottonBro; Pexels. Thank you!

4 Ways Businesses Can Expand Their Payment Options

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Expand Payment Options

Part of catering to customers’ needs is offering flexible and convenient ways to pay. Sometimes the difference between making a sale and not is a payment selection clients can work with. Whether you strictly stick to services or also sell products, increasing your payment options can also expand your customer base.

At the same time, balancing business and client needs is essential. It may not be practical or cost-effective to offer some solutions if setup and maintenance expenses are too high. Frequency of client use, transaction fees, and chargeback risks are considerations every owner should evaluate. Most importantly, payment options must make sense for individual appointment-based business models. Below are four ways to expand customers’ payment choices.

1. Set Up Mobile Payments

Mobile payments can cover everything from digital wallets and peer-to-peer payment services to QR codes. These options make it easier for customers without traditional bank accounts and debit cards to submit payments. With the rise in the gig economy and money management alternatives, mobile payments also offer clients additional flexibility.

Some customers may have conventional checking accounts where they manage part of their income. However, they might also do side work and have supplemental income that goes into peer-to-peer or digital wallet accounts. These clients may prefer to pay for services like haircuts and home repairs with their side income. Online and in-store mobile payments make the process simpler since customers don’t have to move money between accounts.

Survey research shows that 71% of U.S. consumers have used a mobile wallet to make payments in the last year. The convenience of not carrying a physical wallet or purse may be part of the appeal. Other factors that make mobile payments attractive are their contactless nature and enhanced security. Customers don’t have to exchange card details or account information. Businesses, however, have to consider transaction fees and the possibilities of chargebacks.

2. Offer Electronic Invoicing

Electronic invoicing is a way to bill clients after they’ve received a company’s services.

Say your business provides in-home maintenance services related to plumbing or electrical wiring. Customers schedule appointments for these services on your website and receive confirmations with a technician’s details. Often, the extent of the problem and the appropriate fix aren’t known until the day the tech shows up.

Before property owners pay, they want to ensure work is done properly and everything’s working. It may take a few days after the job is done for clients to verify nothing else is wrong. Sending invoices via email after technicians complete the work gives customers that time and lets them submit payments securely.

Customers don’t have to exchange credit card or checking account information directly with someone they may not know. Electronic invoices also save employees time at a customer’s location. Repair technicians don’t have to collect and verify payment details or ensure they have a good cellular data connection. They can inform the customer they’ll receive an invoice in their email and move on to the next job. Business risks include delayed payments and write-offs.

3. Give Recurring or Automatic Payment Options

Repeat customers who come in frequently or purchase ongoing services might prefer recurring or automatic payments. With these options, clients can set up which account they want a business to charge each time they buy something. For example, a pet daycare and boarding facility can offer recurring payments for clients who use the services weekly.

Instead of collecting payment for each visit, the facility can charge the person’s account. The frequency could also be set according to client preferences or business needs. For instance, the facility might apply charges on a rolling 30-day basis. The business might charge for monthly boarding and daycare visits at once, giving customers an easier way to budget.

Recurring or automatic payments can also work well for gyms, dance studios, house cleaning services, and ongoing care facilities. One of the biggest advantages of routine payment options is they’re convenient for the customer and the business. Neither side has to remember to send or collect payment. Yet some of the same risks and costs that occur with manual payments still apply. These include insufficient funds, fees, chargebacks, and fraudulent transactions.

4. Provide Payment Plans

While some services don’t cost much, others do. Significant expenses can make customers delay their purchases and major projects. Others won’t be able to fit these costs into their budgets without ways to make smaller payments over time. Offering payment plans or same-as-cash credit options can help businesses overcome the affordability obstacle.

For instance, a painting service may perform a variety of jobs that vary in cost. Some requests will run a few hundred dollars, while others will go into the thousands. Clients may appreciate options to pay off the work over six months or even a year. Payment plans give customers flexibility and ease the pain of paying for much-needed services.

Some businesses may choose to manage payment plans in-house or work with a service that extends on-demand credit to clients. Either way, working within customers’ budgets can bring in more business and expand market reach. However, payment plans may require more follow-up and some degree of automation. The risks of write-offs and slow payments exist. Credit services might also mean more transaction fees and reduced revenues for businesses.

Expanding Payment Solutions

When businesses offer more payment options, their services are more likely to appeal to a wider customer base. Flexibility, affordability, and security often represent clients’ top needs. Giving customers choices beyond cash and conventional credit and debit cards shows a business is willing to accommodate those desires. Alternatives, such as mobile wallets and payment plans, can give service providers another way to stand out from the competition.

Featured Image Credit: Yan Krukov, Pexels. Thank you!

4 Ways to Inspire and Motivate Employees

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motivate and inspire employees

Managing a team of employees is one of the greatest challenges when it comes to running a business. Workers can’t be consigned to a spreadsheet and assigned responsibilities that are fulfilled without question. To motivate your employees, they need considerably more care — which they deserve! — but they’re also the backbone of your business.

Given the continued tight labor market, businesses throughout the country have taken a variety of approaches to retaining critical employees. Some have offered creative benefits such as reimbursements for streaming services or discount programs for local restaurants. Others have provided onsite services such as an in-house coffee shop or a company gym.

What often succeeds better than any of that is striving to keep your employees engaged and motivated in their work.

You should be constantly seeking different means of motivating, inspiring, and empowering your workforce. If you’re always looking for ways to keep them engaged, you won’t encounter as many productivity ruts. The following are a few motivational tips you can try out to give your team a push forward.

1. Encourage Days Off

When trying to motivate your employees to work harder, encouraging them to take time off might not be your first thought. Yet this is exactly what you should be doing.

Employees who are able to consistently take time off tend to be happier and more well-rested. This equates to more engaged workers during the hours they are clocked in.

Numerous studies have shown that the best-performing employees usually have a healthy work-life balance. They’re not as worried about their families or disappointed that they are too busy to pursue hobbies.

When an organization enables this sort of balance, it gets repaid by maximum effort when employees are at work.

There are several ways you can encourage your team members to take time off. Give your employees vacation time and urge them to use it annually. Improve your workflows so that they don’t have to work nights and weekends. Conduct cross-training so other colleagues can pick up the slack when employees take some time for themselves. These efforts will enable employees to return to their tasks with greater focus and energy.

2. Host Team Events

If your employees work in a team environment, you should always be trying to encourage team bonding. Team members who understand and trust each other work more effectively. Additionally, having a close relationship with co-workers can make work days feel shorter and more enjoyable.

Team lunches and group training sessions will allow employees to grow closer together. Trusting that your teammates are capable and will pull their weight can be quite encouraging. Team training can help each worker feel like they can perform their job properly and feel motivated to do so.

Perhaps more valuable than work activities are team events held outside of the office. These are opportunities for your team to connect without everything being about workplace responsibilities. Consider taking employees and their families to the park or buying baseball tickets for the entire team as an outing.

3. Spruce Up the Office

The environment in which your employees work has a great effect on their motivation. Bland, bare walls won’t be cause for much inspiration. A little additional light and color can go a long way toward boosting employee morale.

You don’t have to resort to a new paint job to lighten up your office, though. Start with your actual lighting. Do you have natural light coming in? Have you lit your rooms well, or do you need to install some new fixtures? Even an additional desk or floor lamp can brighten the place up.

Other ways to spruce up your office include a colorful paint job, some green plants, or new amenities in the break room. Employees who feel comfortable at work will have more energy in the office they spend so much time in.

4. Offer Incentives

Even with a gelled team and a convivial environment, a little extra push every now and then won’t hurt.

Employee incentives are a great way to spur some extra motivation within your team. They give team members something to strive toward, which is very helpful when the routine nature of work begins to wear them down.

Arranging a friendly competition is a common and effective way companies can offer incentives. Whoever is able to close the most sales or complete the most project tasks can win a prize. If this is the route you choose, make sure everyone feels fairly treated, or their momentum may quickly hit a wall.

Individual development incentives require a more hands-on approach but may be even more motivational. Set benchmarks and incentives for each individual employee to reward them for exceeding past performance. Competing against themselves can be just as inspiring as competition with others.

Remember that your employees are human beings with needs and desires. If they feel like these aren’t being addressed in your workplace, they’ll be willing to look somewhere else.

To retain your best people, seek to motivate all of your employees and make sure they feel fulfilled in their work. They will reciprocate with improved productivity, making your efforts well worth the investment.

Image Credit: Fauxels; Pexels; Thanks! 

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