Customers Are Sure To Cotton On To These Five Areas Of Employee Neglect

As an employer, you should be doing what you can to care for employees for their sake. The more efforts you put in place, the better work you’re going to see. The more benefits you offer, the longer people are going to stick around. You get the idea; caring is sharing when it comes to company success. As such, any efforts here are sure to be worth your while in their own right.

Sometimes, though, the way we treat employees trickles to other areas of business. If morale is low, for example, both productivity and quality of work will suffer. In extreme cases, employee neglect may also impact your customers. That’s because there are certain neglectful things you may do which are plain even from a distance. And, you can bet that customers who notice these won’t use your services again. If neglect is severe, they may even complain or spread the word.

That’s because every customer has probably worked under a less than ideal boss. Employee rights are something most people are pretty passionate about. If employee happiness itself isn’t enough, then, consider the five most common areas of neglect customers tend to notice.

#1 Extreme workloads

As a boss, it’s natural that you want to get the most work out of your employees. The more they produce, the more profit you stand to see. But, overworking staff is a form of neglect in itself. And, you can bet that it’s one your customers notice. If customers see that your team are overworked, it’ll be a big black mark against your name. it isn’t those shop staff that customers will get angry at for queues. It’s the manager who expected one or two people to manage everything on their own. This is terrible management and plain bad employee treatment. And, customers are never going to put up with it from you. In extreme cases, they may feel so sorry for your staff members that they stop coming to you altogether. Better that than put more work on already overworked shoulders. To make sure this doesn’t happen, ensure staff only ever experience workloads they can manage. That means opening all your tills instead of leaving one person to cope with busy periods. It means asking for one task at a time instead of getting team members to multitask all the time. It also means recognizing when a member of your team is struggling to keep on top. If you don’t, you can bet that your customers soon will.

#2 Lack of training

With a few exceptions, there’s no law which says that you have to offer extensive training courses to every member of your team. But, this is a benefit which you really should consider putting on offer. At the very least, well-trained staff can help to improve your business with the skills they learn. Training also ensures that no one ever feels thrown in at the deep end or unable to cope with demands. Even short training courses can go a considerable way towards providing the skills the most inexperienced employees need. One thing’s sure; it’ll soon be clear to customers if you skip this. It isn’t difficult to spot when employee’s haven’t received adequate training. If they have to ask others for help or struggle to complete basic processes, it’s sure to look terrible. This sends an unprofessional image of your business as a whole, and is sure to turn customers away. Again, though, they won’t take their frustration out on the employee in question. Instead, they’ll want to know why a manager would offer such poor training possibilities. At the very least, you should pair all new employees with existing team members for a minimum of a week to avoid this. If at all possible, it’s also worth looking out for proper training courses you can offer new recruits. This will work in your favor during employment. It’s also sure to look better where customers are concerned.

#3 Sickness

Sickness is always a tricky beast in the workplace. For obvious reasons, you don’t want staff taking sick days. As such, you may not want to offer sick pay in the hope it’ll encourage staff to come in no matter what. But, leaving employees with no choice but to work while ill can open a whole can of worms. For one, sickness can spread like you wouldn’t believe. Working rather than recovering could also see illness taking longer to clear. And, to top all that, customers are sure to see sickness from a mile away. If an employee is pale and coughing, it’s never going to look good for your company. At the very least, customers will avoid you because they don’t want to catch anything. More often than not, though, they’ll probably want strong words with the manager who forced said employee into the office. That’s why it’s well worth putting workable sickness procedures in place. Something as simple as sick pay can ensure that staff recover from most bugs in a matter of days without worry. That can reduce the spread, and see you losing team members for far shorter periods. You may also find that it’s worth putting something like this employee assistance program in place. This provides easy access to medical professionals for every staff member. This perk alone could see employees seeking help as soon as possible. That, in turn, can see them back on their feet in no time. All without risking your customer’s catching wind that they were ill.

#4 Disrespect

Disrespect is never something you want in your working environment. If you talk rudely to staff, there’s no way you can expect them to stick around. They may be your employees, but they deserve the same level of respect you would give to anyone else. More, if anything, because they’re keeping your company afloat. Sadly, disrespect from managers isn’t all that unusual. And, customers usually pick up on this pretty sharpish. This is especially likely if you’re operating in a forward-facing workspace. In a shop, for example, barking orders at your employees will never go down well. If you make this mistake, don’t be surprised if customers start complaining on your team’s behalf. We all hate to see rude managers, after all. Instead, you should always aim to speak to employees on equal footing. Never bark orders, but ask politely. Make sure that words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ don’t slip from your vocabulary. The moment they do, both your staff and customers could soon turn away from you. And, that’s never going to help you realize your business dreams.

#5 Exhaustion

Last, you want to make sure that you never push your team to exhaustion. In some ways, you could tie this in with the extreme workload of point one. But, even if you aren’t overloading your team members, you could still be pushing them too far. Long working hours and a lack of paid holiday, for instance, can often leave employees in burnout. Expecting them to pick up emails during their evenings also counts towards this. If they’re barely able to unwind, they’re sure to hit a wall pretty soon. And, you can bet customers will notice it. If team members are scarcely able to get the sleep they need, they’re going to make mistakes and look exhausted. Don’t let it happen. Offer paid holidays and make sure no one works during their evenings. That way, your employees will always look fresh when they’re dealing with your customers.

Tips for Safeguarding Your Wellbeing in a Computer-Based Career

Technology is the name of the game these days, and as many commentators have observed, some of the greatest opportunities in business – for traditional workers and entrepreneurs alike – seem to be in the digital and tech sectors.

When all is said and done, a computer-based job can be extremely rewarding. It can put you at the cutting-edge of new tech innovations, and lets you play with a lot of cool and interesting new tools, apps, and services.

All that being said, though, spending the majority of your waking hours seated in front of a screen can also have certain detrimental effects on your well-being, if you don’t take steps to introduce balance into your life.

Here are a few tips for safeguarding your well-being in a computer-based career, so that you can enjoy all the benefits of your job, without suffering too many of the potential drawbacks.

Investigate avenues for working (or studying) remotely, for a greater degree of freedom in your time management and lifestyle

No matter how much you love your job, it is likely that if you spend a large chunk of each working day in the same office, at the same desk, in the same chair, you’re going to feel a bit of “cabin fever” sooner or later.

A great antidote to this is to investigate avenues for working remotely.

These days, many employers in the tech sector have quite relaxed ideas about allowing their employees to work remotely from home, at least for one or two days a week. Not only that, but even if you’re still studying, it is now possible to do things such as an online computer science masters degree, too.

A change of atmosphere and environment can help keep things fresh, and “recharge your batteries” for the job ahead.

Be sure to counterbalance your “digital time” with “analogue time”

As mentioned before, the digital world is a pretty wondrous place, with all sorts of amazing avenues to explore.

All the same, though, there are risks inherent in spending too much time plugged into the digital world. Things like Internet and gaming addiction have spiked in recent years, and many people live unnecessarily sedentary lives, due to their careers and choices of entertainment.

To keep feeling your best – physically and emotionally – you should be sure to counterbalance your “digital time” with “analogue time.”

This could be as simple as going for a walk on a regular basis, spending some time in the evening reading old-fashioned books, or engaging in sports or DIY projects.

Make face-to-face human interactions a top priority

If you work in an office, you will inevitably interact with a good few people on a regular basis.

In the case of many freelancers, or entrepreneurial tech workers, on the other hand, social isolation can be a real risk.

It begins with you keeping your nose to the grindstone, in order to be maximally productive. Then, you look up, and realise you haven’t seen another soul all week.

Face-to-face human interaction is essential for well-being. Make sure that you find opportunities to get enough of it during the week.

Avoid Getting Sick on Your Business Travels: Keep Your Immunity Strong

Lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, different time zones; these are all major contributors to lowered immunity levels during a business trip. Pair that with long meetings, unhealthy food, and lack of exercise, and you’ll get a depleted system that can barely function. However, for a business trip to be successful, you need to give your 100%, and the only way to do that is if you feel at the top of your game. So, here are 3 easy yet delicious hacks which can keep you happy and healthy during your next business endeavor.

Sneak in a few drops of propolis

During most business meetings, you’ll be offered coffee, tea, water – some sort of refreshment. The smartest choice would be water or tea, as these won’t make you jittery, and more importantly, these healthier options pair beautifully with propolis drops. Bee propolis is a natural immunomodulator, i.e. a chemical agent that modifies the immune response by aiding the production of antibodies. Simply put, it helps the body create extra antibodies which in turn effectively fend off various bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted intruders that may cause ailments ranging from simple colds to more serious conditions, like pneumonia.

Furthermore, this naturally derived substance can also alleviate allergy symptoms brought on by mold and other external allergens, which may become worse when one’s immunity weakens. So, if you want to say goodbye to a sore throat, runny nose, and headaches during your meetings, make sure you sneak in 5-10 drops at least once a day into your beverages.

Switch from coffee to green tea

The average coffee consumption is 3.2 cups of coffee a day. That may not sound like a lot, but the odds are, you’ll double those numbers when you’re a on business trip. And while there’s no denying that coffee contributes to sharp concentration, speed, and attentiveness – all of which are important during business meetings – too much of a good thing can actually work against you. So, when you’re about to reach for your 4th cup of joe, reach for green tea instead. Green tea contains a considerable amount of caffeine (50 mg per 8-oz), which means you won’t experience caffeine withdrawal, but it also has additional benefits. Namely, it is loaded with antioxidants which can help fend off bacteria and naturally boosts the immune system.

Munch on healthy nuts

Healthy fats are crucial for a strong immune system, as well as proper brain function; and what better way to get them than through healthy nuts. So, instead of going for potato chips or other unhealthy alternatives, opt for almonds, peanuts, cashews, or walnuts. These are all convenient yet healthy snacks that can be consumed in between or during your meetings (if allowed). Unlike unhealthy alternatives, which mostly  contain saturated fat, healthy nuts contain Omega 3 fatty acids which boost the immune system, memory, and help fend off viruses. A handful of these a day will do the trick, and will drastically reduce the chances of you getting sick during your trip.

Favorable results are pretty hard to achieve without optimal health. So, to ensure your company’s success, take care of yourself first, so that you can take care of your business.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Employees Exasperated? 4 Ways to Improve Their Working Conditions

As an employer, you owe it to your employees to give them more than just a paycheck. You need to make sure they have all the necessary provisions to stay safe and happy. It doesn’t take much to provide hospitality to your employees. Here are four ways to improve their working conditions. 

Improve the HVAC 

Your employees can’t be expected to work in peace if the heating or air conditioning is constantly on the fritz. A stuffy or freezing office isn’t one where you can expect much to get accomplished. If employees are complaining about this on a regular basis, it’s time for an upgrade. Look for commercial air conditioners and heating systems that will be able to cover the needs of your employees. A system that is energy-efficient with a long-term warranty is the best way to go. Additionally, make sure your office is well-ventilated; otherwise, you and your employees may experience respiratory problems.

Add Decorations 

A lack of decor can give your workplace a very drab and glum appearance. You can remedy this very easily by adding decorations. You can start by putting up some plants and hanging some attractive paintings. You don’t want to put too much up, as this can turn your office into a bit of an eyesore. Let all of your employees have say in terms of decoration. You should also encourage them to decorate their desks and/or cubicles in any way they see fit. 

Proper Lighting 

The hum and harsh glare of fluorescent lines can be very irritating for employees. Your workplace shouldn’t be dimly lit, but it should be lit in a way that’s more bearable. You can also be more environmentally-friendly by using energy-efficient bulbs. Teach your employees sustainability by having them turn out lights and unplug devices when they’re not in use. 

Clean Up

Some clutter is bound to happen in a work environment. However, if everything is disorganized, people are going to be frustrated. While some of this is the responsibility of your employees, you should be doing your part. Make sure that you clean up after yourself in places like the break room and that your employees are held to the same standard. Additionally, adding bins or storage areas can remedy clutter.

If your employees are losing morale, consider their working conditions. It’s very likely that they feel under-appreciated due to their work environment. You can make your workplace a place of productivity as well as comfort. By following these tips, you can help your employees to have the best possible experience at work.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

5 Ways to Prevent Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is visible in numerous ways in all levels of your workplace hierarchy. It is most commonly associated with fatigued workers who work overtime regularly and who rarely take a day off. However, it can also be expressed in general job dissatisfaction, intense levels of stress, anger, cynicism or other negative emotions. Some workers may struggle with the inability to cope with seemingly minor stressors or inconveniences. As an employer, the impact of burnout can be felt throughout your operations. Burnout can result in decreased productivity and efficiency, a lower customer satisfaction rating, a declining employee retention rate and other consequences that you understandably want to avoid.

Understanding the Causes of Employee Burnout

Before you can determine the best ways to prevent employee burnout in your company, you need to understand its many causes. Long hours and long to-do lists are only some of several common causes. In many cases, multiple causes contribute to a serious issue rather than only one factor. For example, workers may also feel burnt out and overworked when they have too many responsibilities or when they lack the support and resources necessary to complete their tasks efficiently. Managerial oversight, conflicts with coworkers and other sources of stress may also contribute to burnout.

Effective Ways to Prevent Burnout in Your Workplace

Now that you understand what some of the many causes of employee burnout are, you can take smart steps to reduce its impact on your workforce. These are some of the more effective ways to prevent employee burnout in your workplace:

1. Assign a Realistic Workload

Managers are responsible for assigning a reasonable volume of work to each employee. Some managers see hardworking employees as workhorses who can handle more tasks than others. However, these individuals may work so hard or for longer hours than necessary because they feel intense stress and pressure to get their tasks completed. This stress is combined with an ever-expanding to-do list. Regardless of how efficient your employees seem to be, all employees should be assigned a realistic workload and should be able to complete their tasks within a reasonable number of hours each week.

2. Promote an Effective Work-Life Balance

Some employees may feel burnt out when they work too much and seemingly have minimal time to enjoy life on their own terms or to spend with family and friends. All employees should have ample time away from the office to exercise, to relax, to get an adequate amount of sleep at night, to tackle personal responsibilities and to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. To promote an effective work-life balance in your team, consider allowing telecommuting periodically. Allow your team to use their paid time off on their own terms and without guilt. Consider offering additional paid time off beyond what is considered to be standard as a perk.

3. Encourage Employees to Disconnect Regularly

Today’s workers are increasingly connected to work activities wherever they go. They may immediately feel stress related to work activities as soon as they wake up and look at their phone. Emails, text messages and more may require attention throughout most waking hours. Their commute to and from work, their lunch hour and their evenings may also be impacted by their connectedness. Essentially, they are always on-duty even during their time away from the office. While you understandably want to maximize the benefits of technology in the workplace, encourage your team to turn off their devices at reasonable hours and on their days off. Work tasks can usually wait until normal business hours.

4. Invest in Efficiency-Based Technology

Workers may easily feel overwhelmed by their to-do list when each task is a struggle to complete. Numerous technological innovations are available that can bolster efficiency and help your team members to be more effective in their positions. These innovations are related to communication, project management, collaboration and more. Talk to your team about aspects of their positions that they struggle with. Then, explore available technology that may improve their work lives dramatically. Because technology continues to be improved, walk through this important step periodically for ongoing benefits.

5. Incorporate Relevant Perks and Benefits

Adding strategic perks and benefits may also improve your workplace in substantial ways. There is a cost associated with some of these perks, but you may discover that the expense is recouped in meaningful ways. For example, you can bring in a massage therapist to give chair massages to your team one day each month. You may host a potluck lunch to break up the monotony of the workday. Create an employee-of-the-month system that gives one person a prime parking space each month. This provides your team with recognition for their hard work and contributions. Perks and benefits can each have different impacts on your team, so a smart idea is to create a full list of combined benefits. These may transform your workplace culture with incredible results.

If your team is feeling burnt out, there is a good chance that you are as well. It can be challenging to find time in your busy work schedule to focus on improving the lives of your team, but this is an essential step that requires ample attention. After all, everything from productivity to turnover, customer satisfaction and more are at stake. Consider taking small, steady steps toward improving your work environment in these and other effective ways. Your employees and your business will benefit from the effort.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters

The Importance of Staying Hydrated While Working at Home

Working remotely from home is often as mentally consuming as working onsite, but it gives you more control over your working conditions, timing and breaks. For this reason, you have to make sure you manage your food and fluid intake in order to stay productive. Research conducted at the Indian Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences shows that only 2% of dehydration will negatively affect cognitive functions like short-term memory, reasoning and hand-eye coordination, although they also state that a mere 1% is enough to lower your intellectual performance.

How to drink enough water at home

Remote workers have to mind their fluid intake in order to prevent mild dehydration, which can be difficult because it’s easy to become absorbed in the work and forget about everything else. Many use the old trick of placing a bottle or a big cup of water by their computer or on their working desk, in order to remember to drink some every now and then. This is a good idea, just make sure to use a capped bottle or a cup with a lid on if you are working with materials that could be damaged by an accidental spill, such as blueprints or cardboard models.

Some workers opt for tap water, while others stay they prefer mineral water or spring water because it is healthier. In fact, bottled water tends to be safer than tap water, but the main downside is that it is more expensive. Since the suggested daily water intake is 9 glasses for women and 12 glasses for men, buying spring water is an expense you have to consider when planning your monthly finances. Mineral and spring water also have ionized minerals that help improve your cognitive functions.

Best drinks to order when working at a cafe

Many remote workers and freelancers like to step by their favorite cafe – or a new one every day if they are traveling workers – and spend a couple hours working there. Some actually focus better and produce more when working at a cafe, and ordering a large cup of a nice beverage helps them stay hydrated. Now, not all of them know that some drinks are better than others for their hydration. Coffee, tea and sodas have a high percentage of water, but many have caffeine, which acts as a diuretic (a dehydrating agent). So decaf drinks are more recommendable in these cases. Also, juice fruits and milk-based drinks tend to have a lesser percentage of water than infusions, so they are not as good in that regard.

Food that hydrates you

Drinking water is not the only way to stay hydrated. Many foods are very rich in water, so if you eat them at lunch or during your breaks, you can add up to your daily fluid intake. Fruits such as grapes, watermelon and grapefruit are among the most hydrating aliments you can eat. Soup and Jell-O are also big sources of water. Interestingly enough, many types of meat such as beef and chicken, have up to 60% of water, so a hamburger at lunch or a nice hot pot for the winter can be just as great as a glass of water.

Staying hydrated is not as difficult as you may think, but it’s certainly very important to keep you at the top of your game. Make sure to drink enough water and use these hydration hacks to keep yourself productive, awake and making the best out of your remote working hours.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Why health incentives are a work perk you shouldn’t overlook

When it comes to considering a new job, most people think first of benefits such as salary or paid time off. They’ll use those as the only measurement when considering whether to take what’s offered, or whether they should push harder when they bargain.

But here’s the thing: There are other tangibles that make just as much of an impact on your daily life as do salary and vacation or sick time. For example, what about not ever needing that sick time because your employer has helped you do whatever it takes to be as healthy as possible? Have you ever considered the idea of negotiating health benefits in order to achieve that end?

If you haven’t, you should. Health incentives—whatever you have and whatever you can negotiate—can help you not only feel better but reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Here’s what to consider as you review them.