workplace culture Archives - Appointment - Online Appointment Scheduling Software

5 Ways to Improve Your Employees’ Happiness and Productivity

By | Business Tips | No Comments
employee happiness

Several studies on happiness and productivity have shown that the happier an employee is the more productive they will be. Think about it. On a good day, you’re probably able to accomplish a lot. On a bad day, however, you might struggle to even get out of bed. Well, the same rules apply to the workplace.

If an employee doesn’t feel important or valued, there’s a good chance their work will suffer, negatively impacting your company’s success. To increase productivity, make sure your employees’ happiness comes first. This article shares a few ways you can help your employees feel good:

1. Review Your Technology

Chances are, you have several systems in place meant to streamline productivity. Maybe you’ve integrated Slack to promote effective communication internally, or maybe your company uses project management software to keep everyone on track. While the right technology can benefit your company, the wrong technology can significantly decrease productivity.

It’s a good idea to spend some time reviewing your current systems and processes. Make a list of what’s working really well and what isn’t. This is a great time to ask your employees for feedback, as they can probably shed additional light on how they use technology.

Once you have a good idea of where you can improve, look to technology for guidance. It’s important to note that there are many different systems available — some of which do relatively the same thing. Take your time researching the right system for your company. And don’t be afraid to change your mind. Often, the only way to know if something works is to integrate it first. If you’d like to do that and save money, look into free trials.

2. Create A Culture Of Transparency

As a leader, your employees looked up to you. Because of this, you might think it’s essential to demonstrate control constantly. You don’t want your employees to see you sweat, right? Unfortunately, that could be counterproductive. The truth is, no one is perfect. It’s important that your employees know it’s okay to make mistakes and not have the answer to every question.

To create a culture of transparency, admit when you’re wrong and be open with your emotions. This doesn’t mean you should spend an hour telling employees how stressed you are. But showing that you’re a human being, just like them, can go a long way.

Being transparent also creates an honest and open culture. There’s a good chance your employees will be more comfortable sharing their ideas and taking risks that could enhance their productivity and the success of your company.

3. Connect With Your Team

Employees want to feel like they matter. And while you probably appreciate your workers, do you take the time to show it? If you answered “not often” it’s time to change that.

This doesn’t mean you have to remember every employee’s birthday, but taking the time to check in is crucial. Make sure you say hello when you pass your employees in the office.

Even if your company is remote, there are things you can do to connect. For instance, you could email, set up team happy hours, or schedule one-on-ones. Regardless of what you choose, getting to know your team can help them feel valued.

Not to mention, it can help you make strategic business decisions. For example, by communicating with an employee, you might learn they have a skill or new idea that could help grow your business.

4. Give Your Employees Freedom

Prior to the pandemic, working remotely wasn’t as common. However, things have changed in the last couple of years. Not only are more people working from home, but many companies have found their employees are just as productive — if not more so — than in an office setting.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s important to ensure your employees have the freedom to work in a way that’s best for them and the company. With that said, remote work isn’t for everyone. Some employees want the opportunity to visit the office. You also might have workers who need to be in person from time to time.

Before making any decision, talk to your leadership team. This is another great time to ask employees for feedback on what type of setting they prefer.

You should also pay attention to what other companies are doing. While you want your decisions to be unique, you want your business to remain competitive. If offering remote work can help you hire and retain top talent, it might be worth trying.

5. Provide Feedback

According to a recent study, employees work harder if they feel “heard and valued.” One way to ensure that happens is by providing feedback. Contrary to popular belief, feedback shouldn’t be negative — it should be constructive. This means you should praise employees who perform well and provide feedback to help those who are struggling.

As a leader, you might find it difficult to provide your employees with feedback. While it can be uncomfortable, there are ways to make the process easier for you and them. One way to do that is to avoid giving unsolicited advice.

Don’t stop by a worker’s desk and randomly give them feedback, even if it’s positive. Instead, set up a process for providing feedback so no one is thrown off guard. That might mean having regular one-on-one calls between an employee and their supervisor or quarterly performance reviews. Both options ensure your employees know what’s coming, and they can prepare accordingly.

Employee happiness can make or break the success of your company. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re creating a comfortable workplace where people feel valued. The tips above are just a few ways to help employees feel happy and, in turn, increase productivity.

Image Credit: Fauxels; Pexels; Thanks!

5 Ways to Up Your Workplace Efficiency

By | Business Tips | No Comments
workplace efficiency

“Work smarter, not harder,” they say. We’ve all heard this modern productivity axiom by now, but there’s actually a lot of truth in the statement. Working hard is important, but working efficiently is even better. The two combined can lead to incredible results.

So, what’s the secret to making work more efficient? This is a question that business owners and managers ask themselves every day. This article outlines some ways employers can enable and motivate their workers to become even more efficient without working them into the ground.

1. Implement Self-Service Options

This one is a no-brainer for appointment-based businesses operating in the modern era. Self-service can open up so many possibilities for both your business and its customers. For example, having online booking options takes a huge load off of your employees and simultaneously empowers your customers. Clients can set and adjust appointment times whenever they want, and employees no longer have to spend hours on the phone coordinating bookings.

This frees up a lot of time for your employees during a regular shift. Instead of manning the phones all day, they can work on other projects. This could be as simple as staying on top of office organization or taking part in training to prepare for other roles.

In addition to online appointment scheduling, you can implement a self-check-in system for when customers arrive to their bookings. A tablet or kiosk can do all of the work that a front desk representative can. Customers can signal their presence and make relevant notes in their customer portal upon their arrival.

2. Embrace Office Automation

Businesses have myriad ways to automate processes, from CRM systems that will auto-email leads to social media tools that will auto-post on Instagram. But even humbler forms of automation can improve your workplace efficiency. There are myriad small tasks that consume workers’ attention during the day. A coffee maker set to auto brew will give your office manager 15 minutes back each morning, and that’s just one example.

A smart thermostat saves energy and keeps the temperature even so that extreme heat or cold don’t throw your employees for a loop. Smart light fixtures are likewise energy efficient and can also be set to dim or turn off without any human intervention. No one will have to traipse through the office at the beginning or end of the workday turning lights on and off. While these solutions might seem small, together they can make your workplace more efficient than you realize.

3. Retool — or Replace — Meetings

Companies waste a lot of time in meetings. Some estimates state that over 30 hours are squandered each month in meetings that aren’t necessary. Simply put, most meetings can be condensed or bypassed entirely to allow for greater workplace efficiency.

One solution is to plan meetings more effectively. Have an agenda prepared and share it with all participants beforehand. Practice getting to the point and rein in discussions to make sure the group doesn’t get sidetracked. Better yet, replace frequent meetings with constant communication through technology.

Take project management software, for instance. Instead of a status update meeting, you can use a digital chatroom to send messages, updates, and reminders. These can be addressed to the entire company, a specific department, or even to an individual. Such communications keep parties informed and don’t cut into productivity like a formal meeting where everyone is trapped inside a room with no escape.

4. Crunch the Numbers

The value of data cannot be underestimated. Insights gleaned from data can help you serve your customers better, increase revenue, and also make your workplace more efficient. Gathering data is easy; it’s knowing what to do with the data you have that’s the trickier part.

Let’s focus on workplace efficiency, which you can monitor with a time-tracking tool like Toggl or Harvest. Here are some examples of workplace data you can track:

  • Number of tasks completed on average per day
  • Amount of time spent per task
  • Amount of time spent per task category
  • Average time spent in meetings
  • Hours worked per week

This doesn’t have to be your full list, but it’s certainly a good place to start. Once you have a sufficient sample size, you can start to make some conclusions about what needs to change to increase productivity and efficiency. You may notice that efficiency takes a huge dive for the last hour of the day, for example. You might opt for a shorter workday or add an additional 15-minute break to try to keep energy levels high.

5. Improve Employees’ Quality of Life

No matter what the numbers say, sometimes the best adjustments you can make are to the quality of life in the office. Happy employees are more productive employees, so seek out work-life enhancement opportunities. Ergonomic solutions such as sit-stand desks and optimized keyboards can help employees work more comfortably for longer periods of time. Improved lighting can make early mornings and gray days more bearable.

Helping your employees outside of the office will often improve their efficiency on the clock. Benefits such as hybrid work or childcare services give workers fewer things to worry about at home, so they’ll be less distracted while working. Workers who also feel cared for by their employers are also more likely to stick around for the long haul. High retention rates improve company efficiency, as you won’t be spending a lot of time and resources on constant training and hiring cycles.

With greater workplace efficiency, you’ll see improvements in company profits, customer satisfaction, and work quality. To maintain optimal efficiency, you’ll need to continue to adapt, so keep looking for new ways to enable your workers to be the best they can be.

Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Ways to Encourage Reading at Your Workplace

By | Business Tips | No Comments
5 Ways to Encourage Reading at Your Workplace

Many business moguls, including Warren Buffett, swear by reading. But while reading is a great way to grow, it’s awfully time-consuming.

If members of your team are struggling to find time to crack a book, productivity hacks can help you make space in your schedule. Tactics like time-blocking can prevent other priorities from stealing time you’d meant to spend reading.

Encouraging employees to carve out reading time makes sense on multiple levels. Not only is it a great approach to personal development, but it also builds community. Book clubs help team members connect from afar, and everyone appreciates a good book recommendation. 

Reading is a key employee development strategy, especially at a time when people are stuck at home. Take a look at these tips to get your team members into the habit:

1. Set the example.

Like other aspects of company culture, teamwide reading starts at the top. If you never read anything, then how can you expect your employees to do so?

Start by setting a goal for how much you want to read in a month. Also, make note of what you want to read. Once you get into a rhythm, you can challenge yourself with more frequent reading or more challenging literature.

Not sure what to start with? Consider some of this year’s top-rated leadership books, such as Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead.”

Don’t worry too much about showing off your reading. In team conversations, you’ll naturally bring up ideas that you find interesting. Soon, others on the team will start to do the same.

2. Start an office book club.

Reading might not seem like a social activity, but it’s a great way to build relationships. The readers on your team can provide new perspectives, which are fun to discuss and can enhance your leadership skills. 

A book club is a great way to do this. Select a different book each month and designate a time to discuss it. Let a different person choose the next book when you’re finished. Make a game of it: Perhaps the first person to finish the current book gets to select the team’s next read. 

The books chosen do not need to be directly related to work. The benefits of reading can come from fiction as well. You might be surprised by what insights you can glean from even the most “left field” readings.

What if people can’t agree on what to read? Don’t force everyone on the team to read the same thing. A happy hour where people discuss their favorite books is less formal but still beneficial. 

3. Create an office library.

Sometimes, the barrier to reading is merely accessibility. If there are reading materials around, people are more likely to utilize them. 

Think about waiting rooms: Customers naturally pick up magazines left out to pass the time. An office library takes this to the next step by giving meaningful and varied choices to your team. 

Of course, you’ll need books to fill the library. Get your employees’ help choosing what to include. Aim for a good mix of nonfiction and fiction books. 

Bookcases are a must, but you can’t just put books on a shelf and call it a day. Change up your display periodically. Implement a checkout system so you can track what’s been removed and returned.

Finally, make sure your library has a reading space. Put a comfortable chair by a window. Leave out a selection of coffee and tea nearby. 

4. Set up a Goodreads account.

Goodreads is a site that tracks the books you’ve read. Readers are able to friend each other and see what people are reading. 

Until COVID-19 is over, this is one way to make an office book club work remotely. Set up a company account and ask employees to connect their personal accounts to it. Give a small incentive, such as a gift card, to the employee who manages to read the most books in a quarter or year. 

5. Stick with it.

A reading culture won’t take off by itself. The good news is, you don’t have to be the one to keep it going. Appoint a team member who’s a particularly voracious reader. 

Consider giving a raise or desirable title to the person leading your reading group. Even extra days off can make tempt people to take the position.

What if the book group’s leader is struggling to make enough time for it? Encourage them to delegate some of their other responsibilities. Creating culture can be a full-time position by itself, so don’t treat it as a small side project. 

When you put the right pieces together, you can have a robust reading culture. And when team members are constantly consuming new ideas, they become more valuable to the company. Treat reading like a critical part of their professional development because, after all, it is. 

5 Myths About Optimism That Lead to Toxic Positivity

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments

In times like these, it can be easy to catastrophize. Treating work situations as worse than they truly are can hurt your company culture. Be careful, however, not to swing too far in the other direction.

Optimism isn’t a bad thing, but it has its limits. Positivity becomes toxic when it’s used as an excuse to ignore negative emotions or realities. 

Social pressures, particularly at work, can push you to be positive to a fault. Just think about how easy it is to say “I’m fine” when you’re anything but. The trouble is, inauthenticity is contagious. 

If you’re looking to strike the right balance, you need to know the myths that lead to toxic positivity. Learn the truth of each, and use it to enhance your work culture:

Myth No. 1: You can fake it ‘til you make it.

If you can fake positivity, this myth claims, then you’ll be happy. Some versions even suggest faking a smile when you are feeling sad to change your mood.

There is some truth to this. In the long run, however, faking your emotional state is unsustainable. Researchers have even found that smiling through sadness eventually makes your brain associate smiling with sadness. That’s the exact opposite of what you want. 

It’s important to stay true to your feelings. Don’t put on a smile at work just to make others happy. To connect, your team needs to know that your emotions are genuine. 

Myth No. 2: Positive thinking requires ignorance.

Ignorance is bliss, right? Perhaps, but it’s also impractical and dangerous.

At work, you can’t ignore problems simply because they’re stressful. Client messages must be answered. Work relationships have to be tended to, especially when they’re weak. Rarely is personal growth comfortable or achieved through ignorance. 

It’s important to grapple with the things that need to be addressed. If you find yourself engaging in avoidant behavior:

  • Meditate
  • Reimagine and reframe negative thoughts
  • Discuss the issue with a close friend or family member
  • Join a group, either at work or outside of it, dedicated to addressing the issue
  • Seek professional mental health counseling

Myth No. 3: It helps to remember that “things could be worse.”

You’ve probably consoled yourself with this myth at one point. But speculating about how your circumstances could be worse doesn’t help you solve them. In fact, it implies that someone in a situation worse than yours couldn’t possibly be happy. 

The truth is that comparisons are wastes of time. You’ll never know the whole story behind why someone was promoted ahead of you, or why your position was cut instead of someone else’s.

What counts is being content with where you are and who you are. Once you can do that, you can start to build the best version of yourself. 

Myth No. 4: Positivity will keep you motivated at work.

At times, positivity can be motivating. The problem with this idea is that it’s a simplistic answer to a complex problem. 

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the loss of motivation. Maintaining a positive mindset doesn’t solve most of them. Dysfunctional coworker relationships, for example, will not improve simply because you’re in a better mood. 

You may not be able to control what’s going on at work, but you are in charge of your personal life. Give your home life a motivational makeover. Start by:

  • Unplugging from technology, especially in the morning and before bed 
  • Keeping a journal of your thoughts
  • Diving into your hobbies
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Exercising every day

Myth No. 5: Always looking on the bright side draws people in. 

Think about the people you like to be around: Are they always happy, or do they clue you in when something is stressing them out?

What actually attracts people to you isn’t militant optimism, but rather the courage to be genuine. Ignoring negative emotions you’re experiencing can actually push people away. 

Of all the myths on this list, this one might be the most dangerous for business leaders. Excessive cheerfulness can come across as distrust, especially if team members feel forced to match your degree of positivity. Remember, company culture starts at the top. 

Positivity should not be performative. You should strive to be relatable, thoughtful, and sincere. If you’re in a joyful mood, great — but don’t assume it’s the only reason people want to be around you.

As tricky as workplace positivity can be, here’s the good news: Getting it right doesn’t mean you have to act any certain way at all. In fact, all you have to do is stop acting. 

Being sincere is one of the smallest, yet most significant things you can do to build a healthy company culture. Your team can when something is on your mind, so you might as well share it with them. 

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now