Category Archives: Business Tips

4 Affordable Ways to Reward Your Employees For Their Hard Work

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A business is nothing without the employees who grind day in and day out to make it run. As the business owner, or manager, you need to show your team how much you appreciate their hard work. When you reward your employees for their efforts, it will also lead to increased productivity and motivation. Especially in startups, it’s tough for business owners to allocate a budget for these rewards. Truth is, you don’t have to break the bank to show your employees your appreciation. It really comes down to being creative and connecting with them on a personal level. If you’re short on ideas, take a look at these four affordable ways to reward your employees for their hard work.

Field trips.

Let’s take a quick moment to reminisce on our many years at school. Remember, when a teacher would announce a field trip? The level of excitement from the students was typically through the roof. Even if the trip was months out, you better believe every student had it on their calendar. This level of excitement can also be brought to your company. Team outings are a great way to reward your team as well as build chemistry. Whether it’s a trip to the bowling alley or a team dinner, there are plenty of cheap options that will have a huge impact on team morale.

Executive lunches.

As your organization grows, your staff will become increasingly distant from the executives who ultimately run the business. That distance will cause a naturally disconnect between the employees and their leaders. A great way to bridge that gap is to schedule lunches with the team and the executives or founders. Lunch meetings are productive for many reasons. First and foremost, they put the attendees in a much more casual setting compared to a conference room. This will encourage discussions beyond business and allow the employees to connect with executives on a personal level.

Flexible work days.

Rewards and perks go hand in hand. One perk, that literally costs nothing, is a flexible work day (or days). Whether you allow them to work completely remote or reduced hours, they will feel like they are being given a special privilege. Not only that, working remote has actually been found to increase productivity for some employees. The best way to leverage this policy is to leave it loose. For example at our company, being in the office on Friday is optional. If you’re able to finish your work before Friday, then you can enjoy an extended weekend. You should focus on measurable output rather than just hours worked.

Gym memberships.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with living a happy and productive life. Odds are, most of your employees are looking to get a gym membership to say active. Nowadays, memberships at quality gyms can get quite expensive for a single member. Luckily for the business, plenty of gyms offer corporate or group membership packages that allow you to equip your entire team with a membership. This is a small gesture that will be well-received by everyone. Keeping your employees happy is no easy task. However, a loyal employee will stick with you through thick and thin. That said, use the four strategies above to make sure you’re rewarding your team for their efforts.
Originally published here.

How to Make Sure Your Personal Life Doesn’t Negatively Affect Your Business

By | Business Tips, Knowledge Base | No Comments
Let’s be real. Sometimes, your personal life can wreak havoc on your business. As much as we try to keep personal and business separate, we’re human. The problem is when the issues in our personal lives affect our productivity. In recent weeks, I’ve engaged in multiple conversations with business owners who have all been dealing with things in their personal lives. No one makes it public, of course. However, when they are in circles with other business owners they trust, all the personal life dramas are shared. I’ve also had my fair share of drama in my personal life in recent months. As such, I’ve learned several strategies for not allowing it to affect my business. Here are some of the strategies I find work best.

Always prioritize savings.

As a business owner, the amount of money you make can be directly correlated to your output. Sometimes, things in our personal lives do require more of our attention and it causes us to take a temporary step back. That’s why it’s always good to have savings in the bank. For example, a couple of years ago I had to take a step back from my business to help my family with some things. Because I had savings, I was able to do it without any issue.

Give yourself a set period of time to feel your emotions.

Making sure your personal life doesn’t affect your business doesn’t mean ignoring things. This can actually escalate conflict and make everything worse.  It simply means managing them. For example, if you’re going through an emotional period in your personal life, give yourself a set period of time to feel your emotions. Christine Hassler, a life coach for millennials, suggests giving yourself a few minutes each day to really feel your emotions. This way, you’re not ignoring them, but you’re also not letting them affect your business.

Be careful who you surround yourself with.

Sometimes, issues in your personal life can be traced back to those you surround yourself with. While you may be careful who you surround yourself with your business, perhaps this is a lesson you’re still learning in your personal life. I know I definitely am. If you notice that drama always seems to surround one or two people, then it’s time to cut them out. The last thing you need as a business owner is to always be involved in some mess because of the company you keep. Keeping your personal life out of your business becomes impossible when the people in your life consistently drag you down. Toxic people can easily overrun your life with their energy, which is why they need to go if you plan on running a successful business. Bottom line is if you don’t want your personal life ruining your business, then you need to take the preventative measure of making sure unnecessary drama won’t be caused.
Originally published here.

4 Ways You Can Improve Teamwork

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Regardless of how talented your individual team members are, you won’t get very far if they don’t work cohesively. As the business owner or manager, it’s your job to implement strategies that will improve teamwork. When your team works together, trust begins to build and responsibilities become clear. A healthy team knows how to be honest with one another even if it means putting forth harsh criticisms.

That all said, here are seven ways you can improve teamwork in your company.

Establish a clear team mission.

This applies to your overall company mission, and the mission of each project you kick off with your team. It may take five, ten, even twenty years to build a successful company. During that time, you may kick off projects that drag on for months if not a year. Regardless of what stage you’re in, you need to establish a clear team mission. If you can paint the big picture and align everyone with the same goals, your team will be motivated and productive.

Create a reporting infrastructure.

In every organization there will be problems. The last thing you want is to have an employee sit on an issue and not have anyone they can report to. On the flip side, you also don’t want that employee to gripe about their problems every time they arise. The best way to handle this is by creating a reporting infrastructure. First and foremost, you need every team member to understand their roles and to whom they report issues to. If there is a disagreement, there needs to be a process in which that issue gets discussed. Last but not least, you need to decide which members of the team make the final call. Establishing these ground rules is key to improving overall teamwork.

Make the right hires.

While this one sounds obvious, it’s surprising how many managers fill roles with unqualified employees. The problem is, most hiring managers overlook the importance of personality fit. A fancy resume and a proven track record may look good on paper, but if they don’t get along with the rest of the team what’s the point? As you go through your interviews you need to focus on both skill and personality qualifications. If they seem promising, you should always throw them in the mix and let them work amongst the team for a few days. If things don’t work out, try shifting things around or look for another candidate.

Build relationships outside of the workplace.

In order to build honest and lasting relationships you need to encourage team bonding outside of the workplace. Work can get stressful, and that stress can really weigh down on people. Instead of trying to fix things at the office, take your team out to lunch or organize a team field trip. Not only will this give your team a breath of fresh air, it’ll give them the chance to get to know each other on a personal level. One great option is to have your team join a sports league together. First and foremost, health and fitness is as popular as it’s ever been. Second, team sports is one of the best ways to build team chemistry. For tech companies, there are plenty of sports leagues you can join where you compete against other companies. This way you can network, exercise, and foster teamwork all at the same time! At the end of the day, building teamwork takes time – so it’s in your best interest to start now. For starters, use the four strategies above so you can improve teamwork.
Originally published here.

5 Rules for Using Shared Work Space

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Not everyone can afford to have their own business office space in a separate building. But they may not have room in their homes or apartments for an office either. A solution to that problem is to use a shared work space with others. Many businesses have filled that need by offering shared work spaces. For a fee most include desks, chairs, good lighting, and internet connections. Some will even allow you to use their business address, phone number, and conference rooms in rental agreements. But working co-operatively with other people you don’t know isn’t always easy. Everyone has different personalities and quirks that can make a shared work environment uncomfortable. Nevertheless, you can prevent problems from arising if you follow some rules for using shared work space.

1. Work Quietly

One of the rules for using shared work space is to work quietly. It’s difficult to accomplish what you need to, especially on a deadline, if you can’t concentrate. Don’t talk excessively to others who are also trying to focus on their own work. A simple “hello” or nod of the head when they look your way is an acceptable greeting that’s less disruptive.

2. Clean Up After Yourself

Imagine this scenario. You walk into a shared work space with your computer, coffee cup, and a stack of papers. After setting everything on a table you set up your computer and prepare to start working. Picking up your paperwork you see that some mystery liquid has soaked several pages on the bottom of the stack. Yuk! When working in a shared space you need to be mindful of the sensitivities of the other people around you. Follow the golden rule of, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. To put it another way, leave the area you work in as neat as it was when you got there. If you have any wrappers, paper cups, or other trash you should throw it away. Wipe up any messes or crumbs.

3. Stay within Your Own Space

Everyone’s approach to work is different. Some people like to spread out more and others just stack everything in one pile. The bottom line is that if you rent work space, don’t take up more than what you’ve paid for. Other people don’t like it when your stuff invades their working space. Keep your stuff on your side of the table.

4. Bring Your Own Supplies

Another rule for using shared work space is to bring your own supplies. It pays to think ahead. So each morning before work, think about what you will be doing throughout the day. Pack a small stapler, paperclips, pens, paper, or other supplies you may need to take with you. If you must borrow from others in your shared work space, thank them. Be courteous and return items in good condition as soon as possible.

5. Practice Good Hygiene

No one wants to work around others who smell bad. Make sure you are showered and fresh before you go to work in a shared work space. On the other hand, be mindful of the cologne you use. Try to keep it to a minimum because other people may be sensitive to strong scents. It isn’t easy to work elbow to elbow with other people when you’d rather have your own work space. However, it can be done without quarrel if you follow some easy rules for using shared work space.
Originally published here.
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