Spurring You On To Work: The Functions Of The Right Home Office

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For every person attempting to fix their work-life balance, inevitably, the topic of working from home comes to mind. Working from home provides so many different benefits for each and every one of us, not just because we get to spend more time with our loved ones; it has been shown to have a positive impact on our frame of mind. A major reduction in commuting time is one of the more obvious positives, but, in order to do this effectively, you need to have a few things in place to make the office productive, and as conducive to a working environment as possible. What do you need?

A Space Far Away From Any “Traffic”

It’s all well and good having a place to work from home, but if you’re not going to get any work done, because of the amount of foot traffic going through your house, you are not going to view this as a working environment. Make sure you have a room that’s far away from any signs of life. If this isn’t possible, it’s time to put some ground rules in place. While it’s all very good you working at home, you still need to treat it as if it is a workplace, and that is the only way you will get anything done.

Just The Right Amount Of Distraction

You want to be focused on your work, but also, you need to be suitably enthused. While there are little productivity methods, like the Pomodoro technique, you need to ensure that you’ve got enough stimuli around you to keep you inspired. Working by a window can at least give your eyes a break from the mundanity of the computer screen, or setting up an office space with glass doors can prove useful in terms of a sense of transparency, but you have to be sure that it’s not going to distract you too much. For something like glass doors, branding window films can provide a nice aesthetic to your interior glass, reminding you that you can do what you want in your own home office environment. You don’t have to stick to the rules and regulations of the office you tend to go to. So, as long as it doesn’t distract you too much, you can put up paintings, pictures, or any designs that will aid your productivity.

Keep It Comfortable, But Not Too Comfortable

Comfort at home is an overwhelming positive when you decide to work where you live, but it can’t be too comfortable, otherwise, you won’t have any productive days. This is why it’s a good idea to separate the office from the rest of the house, and treat it like it is a place to work, rather than a place to relax. But when you are working at home, you still need adequate downtime, in which case, comfortable furnishings like an ergonomic chair, can provide that little bit of comfort, but not too much of it.

It’s very difficult to be productive when you’re at home, and while setting up an office is the first step, you need to make sure that it doesn’t cross over into the rest of your home. You need that balance between productive and relaxed, so start to think about what spurs you on to work.

Hey Entrepreneurs: How You Manage Your Down Time This Summer Matters!

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There’s nothing more liberating and emancipating than being your own boss. All those years spent trying to climb the greased pole that was the corporate ladder were so frustrating that they were beginning to take a toll not only on your sense of self worth but your mental health. You slaved for so long under the yoke of the system; overworked, undervalued, under-appreciated and worst of all… Underpaid. The best thing you ever did was quit the day job and dedicate yourself to your own business. Now you run a fully functioning enterprise either from the comfort of your own home or from your very own premises. But while your business may be growing and even thriving and you may now enjoy the freedom and sense of agency that comes with trading the life of a worker drone for a life of entrepreneurship, now it’s more important than ever to guard against entrepreneurial burnout.

As your business expands, so too does your responsibility to it and if you’re not careful, you may become a victim of your own success. With the inevitability of the summer slump draining workplace productivity, it’s likely that you’re working twice as hard and putting in more hard work than ever to compensate for the slump. But this is neither sustainable nor conducive to good health. Carry on like this and you’ll be reduced to an emotionally volatile and creatively stunted shadow of your former self. It’s vitally important that you take some down time. But that doesn’t just mean sitting at home and playing video games (although a little of that is fine too). Here are some genuinely restful activities for downtime which will relax you while also stimulating your mind and body and growing the skills you need to come back to work stronger and smarter than ever…

Boating

What could be more restful than taking your whole family out for some “vitamin sea”. Renting or buying a vessel from Premier Boating and taking to the water is not just a fun way to spend your down time, it also has proven restorative qualities for your mental health. The color blue is known to have calming and stress relieving qualities while watching the ebb and flow of the ocean actually changes our brainwave activity and lulls us into a more meditative state. Likewise all that sunlight and fresh air are nourishing for the mind and body, ensuring that you return to work bursting with new ideas.

Cycling

Cycling is another great way of relieving stress while also ensuring that you get a great anabolic and cardiovascular workout. The act of cycling stimulates both the heart and the mind, ensuring a greater flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, thereby ensuring that you return to work at your most rejuvenated and productive.

Hiking

We all know that a good, brisk walk is a great way to stimulate the mind while also burning a surprising 94-200 calories per 30 minutes depending on speed. Aside from the shot of dopamine and endorphins that come with cardiovascular exercise, you will also get all the mental health and productivity benefits that come with spending time in nature.

Remember, it’s not only important to allow yourself plenty of down time. How you spend it matters too!

The Importance of Finding The Time For Fun

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Time is an incredibly precious resource, much more valuable than money, and one of the best ways we can consume our time is to use it having fun… yet, we live in such a busy and chaotic world that fun is often pushed to the backburner of life, with productivity, making money, and getting things done seen as a much higher priority.

In addition, we are so digitally connected today that it can be hard to switch off from checking emails and social media notifications, even when we should be relaxing for the night or doing something relaxing with our family.  We now, seem to always be on the go as our work life balance has certainly been knocked off kilter.

Whether you work for someone else, yourself, or own a business many people don’t seem to be able to find the time to fully switch off, disconnect from work and enjoy their lives – it’s like we’ve stopped making time for fun and replaced this with being on a constant treadmill of work that is often referred to as the rat race.

The reality is that we need to proactively make time for fun stuff.  Here’s some tips on how to make the best use of your time in order to get things done as efficiently as possible and therefore have free time and headspace to fully enjoy your life.

  1. ORGANIZE YOUR TIME

The convenience of online working and online studying means you have much more time to enjoy your life.  We spend far too much time living in reaction to work – trying to fit our lives in, yet it doesn’t have to be that way; the amount of time you can save by having a good planning system in place is phenomenal… a lot of “time management” comes down to first planning your tasks so that you can keep on top of things with ease.

  1.  OUTSOURCE

The power of outsourcing is huge from a time management perspective.  There are many things you can outsource from having people write up your audio recordings, to managing social media presence and web development.  However, outsourcing isn’t just about outsourcing tasks to people; today there are many ways that data can be incredibly useful to our business growth, but rather than struggle and get to grips with it yourself, it can be a time saving, and therefore money saving, idea to outsource the learning to cloudstream partners for instance as you are essentially reducing your learning curve.

  1.  THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

The Pareto Principle, often referred to as the 80/20 rule suggests that twenty percent of our activities account for eighty percent of the outcome.  You therefore want to focus on the tasks that are going to have the greatest impact and get these done first.

In summary, it’s important to make time for fun, and not to focus solely on work, but the only true way to be able to enjoy your time is if you have got enough done to enable you to relax, rest and have fun rather than for your mind to be preoccupied with work.

Limit Your Leap Of Faith: Developing A Career Change When You’re Already In One

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In life, we are all looking for the next challenge. If you feel that your current job is not providing that fulfilment it once was, it’s now time to think about transitioning from one career to another. However, it’s not that easy, it’s something that takes time, effort, and the necessary qualifications. Time is the biggest factor, especially when you are working a full-time job. And while it’s foolish to give up your current job to take this leap of faith into a new career, especially when you don’t know what it’s going to be like, what can you do to develop a career change while you are already in one?

Understand The Commitments Of The New Career

Of course, a new beginning looks great on paper, but when you sign up for the relevant courses, it is at this point you might realize what you got yourself into. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to gain a relevant qualification, because of online degrees, so if you were to complete an online BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) or an MBA (Masters in Business Administration), it’s vital for you to know how much of a commitment these courses are. Luckily, a lot of distance learning can be done part-time. This gives you a lot of breathing space as far as your current job is concerned.

Maintain A Work-Life Balance

And while courses can be done part-time, it’s still important for you to ensure you have a healthy work-life balance. You could be working from 9 to 5, and then coming home and doing coursework, and if you are someone with a family, you can feel the pressures. And while it’s easier said than done, it’s important for you to maintain a work-life balance by structuring everything to the finest point. Look at your duties in life, and plan a structure so you can complete your course, do your job, but also, still enjoy life.

Don’t Let Your Dream Career Interfere With Your Current One

While it’s exciting to jump ship from your current job, as you prepare your career transition, you don’t want to ignore your current responsibilities. Lots of people stop caring when they know they are about to leave. But you still need a good reference, especially if you’ve been with the company for a long time. It’s these people who will recommend to your future employer what you’re like to work with, and they know very well how you work because you’ve been with them for so long. And while it’s easy to mentally “check out”, don’t burn your bridges.

It’s an exciting transition in life, and when you’ve decided on your new career, taking the positive steps can feel like you are reclaiming your life. But developing a new career is something that is almost like developing a side hustle; you have to do a little bit, as much as you can, until your part-time endeavors get to the point where you can’t balance both anymore. And while it can be a challenge to maintain both, in this modern world it’s necessary for you to be practical while pursuing your dream job.

How Companies Can Offer Work Life Balance Perks

Work life balance is a desired state by most (excluding workaholics/those married to their career).

But talking about it versus providing it can be challenging.

As a company, how can you creatively offer this perk?

According to this Forbes article, Millennials crave healthcare benefits which fit under the category of: wellness.

Instead of looking at work life balance as separating your personal from professional life, picture it as one encompassing circle. If you do that offering wellness becomes simple.

Let me explain. Mental health has recently become a priority to workers because it’s preventative. Rather than offering gym membership reimbursements, offer Headspace or a Life Coach as an alternative. As long as it positively affects the company’s bottom line, what difference does it make what “means” helps achieve that goal?

Consider the paradigm shift from a recruitment standpoint. Companies should be looking at ways to enhance worker’s personal lives since that has the biggest impact on performance.

When I work as an external coach my goal is for each employee is for them to leave better than when they came in (to meet with me). That means doing whatever it takes to minimize distractions so workers can get focused. Usually their “issues” have nothing to do with work. If something’s wrong relationally outside of work, it’s brought into the office. That’s what I mean by one encompassing circle.

Most management philosophies emphasize getting workers focused, but in my opinion it’s just the opposite. Hone in on removing distractions and you’re freed up to do your best work.

This translates directly to work life balance because focusing on wellness tactics that actually work matter. Understanding the “why” behind people’s motivations is key to unlocking optimal productivity. Evaluating current programs, gathering employee feedback and ultimately measuring data will reveal the wellness solutions you’re searching for.

How to Manage Millennials: 8 Ways to Do It Right

A recruiter must never be tired to read and research about the millennials; the majority of your employees are a part of Generation Y. While some view them in a negative light, they can be pretty productive and over-achieving when handled right.

Millennials believe they are above their jobs. After working from 8-9 hours a day, they will focus on their hobbies and leisure once they step out your office. Allowing your Millennial employees to have a work-life balance will refuel their energy and recharge their productivity battery.

Millennials love to have multiple goals. They spend a lot of money on traveling to focus on themselves then spread that energy to the people around them.

Start by providing a flexible work environment. This means that you trust them enough to manage their time properly and deliver on their tasks with flying colors.

Infographic by Guthrie-Jensen.

What Is Behind A Healthy Work/Life Balance?

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When the modern workforce never stops claiming the right to a healthy work/life balance, too many companies continue to misinterpret their demands. Indeed, there is as much a need for healthy behaviour, as there is for a balanced home and work life. In other words, a healthy work/life balance is the combination of three elements that influence the wellbeing of an individual: health, home and work. The delimitation of each factor blurs into the next one so that it’s not uncommon for employees to blame their company for health or home-related issues. In other words, when dealing with the protection of this essential human balance, it’s crucial for companies to take steps that go beyond the realms of the workplace. Indeed, businesses that offer on-site health and relaxing services, or that provide their teams with discounted home offers – whether it’s about equipment, services or entertainment that can be relevant in the home environment – show a deeper level of understanding of their responsibility in the health and happiness of their employees.

The ability to relax

When it comes to your health, sleep is just as important as following a balanced diet. Indeed, when you rest, your body can maintain your immune system and ensure that your mind stays sharp and acute. But when you’re too stressed out to sleep, your mental health can rapidly degenerate. According to eh national College Health Assessment Survey, 15.8% of college students suffer from anxiety which keeps them awake at night. it’s likely that the percentage of anxious individuals is much more significant in the workplace. Employers need to consider new options to facilitate relaxation at work, such as meditation room or even noise-cancelling facilities. As stress is the number one health issue in modern companies, ignoring the situation can only cause more issues for your team.

The potential to build a home

While it isn’t your role, as an employer, to provide a home for your staff, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your employees have access to the essentials facilities to maintain their home. At a basic level, this means that you need to ensure fair pay on time and to limit overtime as much as possible. But you can also through perks support employee home life with discounts on appliances, and recommendations for an industrial waste management company like Instant Waste Management – which is helpful for anybody making home improvement works – or a professional financing advisor. If you make it easier for people to manage their home – whether they’re looking to buy, improve or simply refurbish – it means that they can be more focused on their work during the day, hence reducing overtime, stress and personal issues.

A satisfying job

Finally, the last element of the employee’s trinity is job satisfaction. Naturally, money is a key element of satisfaction, but it’s not the only one. The opportunity for growth through job crafting and improved internal relationships can make a great deal of difference. While your employees need to find meaning in their tasks, your role is to guide and help them to develop their skills.

In conclusion, there’s more than just a job behind the complaints about healthy work/life balance of Millennials. For employers, it means changing the way they think about work significantly.

Millennials Are Investing Physically

According to this article, Millennials are spending an insane amount to stay in shape.

Traditional gyms and fitness centers aren’t up in membership; instead there is a demand for more community-based, functional and wellness centered classes.

The definition of staying is shape has changed too. Reducing stress, being more productive at work and mental health are the main benefits.

Speciality classes are more expensive than working out by yourself at the gym, but it’s also more engaging, fun and keeps you accountable for progress.

There’s always been a huge push for professional development in your career, but investing in your body may outweigh anything you can learn from a book/online.

Take for instance young moms. Their ability to bounce back to pre-pregnancy form is exceptional. Groups like Stroller Strides, SoulCycle and CrossFit become even more attractive for lifestyle goals.

With more information comes better efficiency. Millennials are realizing taking care of your body early is the best prevention from illness/injury. Being proactive is a mindset that prepares you best for the future and Millennials are embracing it.

Like anything else trends come and go, so this fitness craze can change over time, but for now businesses should be aware of it and adapt to health, wellness and athleisure as a way of life.

What We Really Do In January

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January is a bit of a let down if we’re honest. There is so much hype surrounding December and even November, with the holidays and New Years. And when we reach that time where we cross over to a New Year, there are so many people saying New Year, New Me. Setting resolutions and promises to change and do new, positive things. Unfortunately, those well-meant promises aren’t easily kept. Changing habits or even making new ones takes a lot of willpower. But just because you don’t immediately accomplish every little thing within those first few weeks of the year doesn’t mean that you have failed and should stop trying. What we really do in January doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish what you set out to do.

Money

Following the holiday’s everyone is scrambling trying to sort out their finances. So many people use their savings to pay for Christmas, and so when it comes to the New Year, their funds are low. Rather than trying to push those minimal finances to stretch to pay for all those new activities you wanted to get involved with, wait a month and give your savings account a chance to gain a little of what it has lost. Besides, most places put up their prices in January purely because so many people sign up this month. So when you get to the end of the month and realize that you haven’t started going to the gym, or haven’t had the money to start eating clean yet, don’t worry.

Normality

Throughout the holiday’s normality goes out of the window. Following Thanksgiving, the build-up to Christmas is a blur of shopping and visiting. Christmas day is all about eating rubbish from the moment you wake up, afternoon naps, and late bedtimes. Then you have the lead up to New Year’s Eve where no one really knows what day it is. So January is a shock to the system as you try and get back to normal. So when you look back at the month, if all you have achieved is getting your sleep pattern right and are eating at the proper times, then consider it an accomplishment.

Set Up

For many people, that first week of January is a ‘set up’ week. Where you call al the places, sign up to all the things, and buy in all the stuff you need to do the things. You come up with ideas and plan how to get them off the ground – if you want to read more on that, you can click here. And then it gets to the end of the month, and you realize you haven’t done much of anything. And that is because you are living through point number two with a budget of number one. Again, see this month as a stepping stone; you have accomplished part of what you have set out to do while getting back into a normal routine and trying not to overspend. That’s an accomplishment.

Why College Students Don’t Get Enough Sleep + Ways To Improve Sleep Habits

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends that college-aged students get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Yet, one in three college students report having trouble sleeping as well as not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Although it may be stressful balancing schoolwork, social lives and jobs, the amount of sleep we get each night should not suffer because of this.

Below are some common issues that many college students face that can disrupt our sleep patterns, along with ways to improve these conditions.

Anxiety

Mental health has become a critical issue on college campuses. In fact, a study revealed that anxiety is the leading mental health issue college students face. The National College Health Assessment Survey reported that 15.8 percent of college students have been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety. The same survey found that 21.9 percent of students claimed that anxiety had negatively affected their academic performance whether it was through getting a lower grade on an exam or project, receiving an incomplete, or dropping a course. A college student must balance many things all at once including midterms, friendships, relationships, and careers. For many young adults, this is the first time dealing with significant levels of stress and can be extremely overwhelming, bringing on anxiety.

Anxiety can cause sleep problems or make existing sleep problems worse. However, getting a good night’s rest, especially as a college student, needs to be a priority. In order to reduce your anxiety and get the sleep your body needs try meditating. Focus on your breathing and visualize a serene environment.

Busy Mind

Mental over activity is becoming a major issue for people, especially college students. We’ve all had those nights where it’s impossible to get our brains to slow down long enough for us to fall asleep. For busy college students these nights can happen more frequently. When you’re juggling so many different things at once, it can often feel like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. This leads to many students working on schoolwork or participating in extracurricular activities up until bedtime. While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s actually a huge issue because sleep isn’t as simple as turning a switch off/on. Our bodies need time to unwind and dim our minds in order to prepare for sleep.

If you’re having trouble slowing your mind down at night, allow at least one hour before bed to wind down. This will not only help create closure for the day, but it also allows your brain to begin the process of shutting off. Developing a pre-bedtime ritual is a great way to help you and your mind wind down. Try reading, journaling, or even sketching and don’t forget to avoid electronics during your wind-down time.

Discomfort

College dorm rooms come with their own set of sleep destroyers. One of the many reasons that college students have trouble sleeping in their dorm rooms is that their beds often have many other uses besides sleeping — including studying, doing school assignments, watching TV, and even hanging out with friends. Remember that although dorm rooms may be small, your bed is not your living room. You want to associate your bed with sleep so that when you see it your body craves sleep. Try to study at your desk or in the library and hang out with your friends in common areas. Another issue in your dorm room that may be causing problems with your sleep patterns is your university-issued mattress. Most of these mattresses have been used for years and may be too hard or lumpy. A poor quality mattress can cause discomfort and even body pains that can be distracting and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

While you may not be able to go out and buy a new mattress for your dorm room, a mattress pad, comfortable bedding, and good sleepwear may help make it more comfortable. A soft and supportive pillow will also help add some much needed comfort to your bed.

Noise

Living in close quarters can make for a lot of noise. Whether it’s your roommate watching their favorite TV show at a high volume or your neighbors talking loudly in the hallway, noise can be extremely distracting when it comes time for bed. Unfortunately, while most resident halls have designated “quiet hours”, not all residents respect them. If your roommate and neighbors are continuously loud, especially during quiet hours, ask them to quiet down. It may even be helpful to discuss each other’s schedules and set guidelines to make sure everyone can sleep, study, and enjoy their time in the dorms peacefully. If that doesn’t work, try earplugs or white noise to help cover-up noises. Fans and sleep sounds are both great ways to cancel out noise.